MATCHED (out today) by Ally Condie is a book about a dystopian society that thinks it is utopian. In the same vein as The Giver and The Hunger Games, there is a main character who has bought into the way society has been made better, but through the course of events in the story, begins to learn that her society isn't all it's cracked up to be. I loved the characters, the plot, the society/world created, the conflict, the writing - I LOVED this book! This has definitely become one of my favorite books I've read this year, and the trilogy will be on my must-read list for my students!
In Cassia's society, everything is highly controlled by the government: where people live, what they can do, when they can marry and have children, where they can go, information available to them, and who they can be with. On their 17th birthday, the people go to a Matching Banquet where they receive the person that the computer system and technology have found to be their perfect match for their future. At that point, they get to start dating and when they are older, they can choose to marry that person or be single. This is a society in which the government doesn't make mistakes because they have systems that they have found to be better than information that was available in the past. However, on Cassia's matching day, her disc reveals her best friend as her match, but also shows the face of another boy that Cassia wasn't meant to see. What she chooses to do with this information, how the two boys involved react to it, her family's secret knowledge revelations, her interactions with the officials at the matching department, and the way her world is shown to her once the haze of perfection has worn off become the push for moving this intriguing story forward.
The plot of this book was fast-moving with many events happening that made me want to know what would happen next. It also had great thoughtful and thought-provoking moments. One of the most interesting aspects of this book was the idea of this society that felt that the world had gotten too complicated and busy which affected people in a bad way, so they took the 100 best of everything: poetry, books, songs, etc. and that is all the information/learning people had access to anymore. Ally Condie created a world in this book that I want to keep reading about. The way that Cassia's journey of discovery happens throughout the story made me want to root for her to rebel against what the society has told them. I wanted to root for her to find her own path and to find ways to work against the society as she discovered more about Ky and Xander and what role they both play in her overall view of her society. I also felt they were both represented true feelings and choices for Cassia.
This book is the first in a planned trilogy, and I for one, am anxious to find out where this story will go. Just as anxious as I was to find out what would happen to Katniss, Peeta, and Gale in Catching Fire, I can't wait to see where Ally Condie takes Cassia, Ky, and Xander in the next book in the series. One of the best things about this book though, is that there is a clear resolution at the end for the first part of the story for these characters, and as much as I'm looking forward to what will happen next, I still felt fulfilled by what I was given. It's not a cliffhanger of an ending and it's very satisfying.
5 STARS for MATCHED
I'll definitely be first in line to buy the next one in the series!
Disclaimer: I received an Advanced Reader's Copy of this book from a giveaway on whatchyareading.net which they received from the publisher. I was not compensated or persuaded in any way for this review.