Matched

Matched by Allie Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

I finally got around to reading this book.

Why the hell did I wait so long?!

This was on my spring break TBR list.

It’s now October.

*sigh*

Anyway.

Matched was fantastic. It’s been awhile since I’ve been so taken with a YA book. Some people hate that the Hunger Games have made dystopia novels an “in” thing. But I love it. I love dystopias. I’m glad there are now so many for me to read. I remember when all I really had was 1984 and Brave New World. Somehow, I’ve still never gotten around to reading Utopia by Thomas More. But now, I have so many books to read!

Condie’s novel is the true successor to 1984 and Brave New World. This is a straight dystopia, born of a society that dictates every instance of its citizens lives. As in Orwell’s novel, the trappings of culture (art, music, poetry) are virtually outlawed, except for One Hundred of each that were selected to be saved. In an effort to promote equality, the citizens routinely find that the rules shift and new things become outlawed. The heroine, Cassia, seems to find these things arbitrary. In the least spoiler detail, the Society one day decides to cut down all the Cottonwood trees.

One theme of the novel that comes up in different ways, explicitly and not so explicitly is this: “You don’t mess with other people’s lives”. Which is exactly what the Society does. To everyone, but especially to Ky and Cassia. This theme, while very evident in this society, is as pertinent in their world as in ours. People aren’t just things for you to play with. You can’t just mess with their lives because you feel like it.

Matched is the first in a series. While I’m interested in seeing where it goes, I hope that Condie remains true to an idea that really shaped Matched for me. That the love between people can be strong enough to bring down a society. Or at least, I think that’s where she’s going. I loved that the relationship between Ky and Cassia, while a small thing in the grand scheme of their world, is everything. This isn’t Katniss, the leader of a rebellion. These are just two kid who were never supposed to fall in love.

It’s beautiful.

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