November 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Hardcover, 384 pages
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion..........(Goodreads)
Review posted by Tina at http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
On Cassias 17th birthday she is excited and thrilled to be attending her matching ceremony. Opting to marry and have a family she will be matched to an unknown boy and begin the slow process of courting until her 21rst year. Cassia though is shocked when her mate appears on the screen and is revealed as her best friend Xander, a boy who she has grown up with. She's shocked but happy of course to have lucked out with someone she already loves, the two are pretty excited but nervous around each other for the first time, due to the fact that now as best friends they will turn towards something deeper. When Cassia views her match screen later in private a surprising twist arises as the face of another boy is shown, a face she knows as well...a boy who lives a quiet life among them...a boy named Ky.
Matched brings a whole new meaning to the term "Big Brother" in this new thrilling YA dystopian. The people are sucked into this society hook, line and sinker- while everything is taken care of right down to a disease free society, dark things are lurking underneath the surface. Reading Matched was like reading about a bunch of robots, we eat at a certain time, we read only this, we listen to only that, we do only this. It was interesting to see all of these people living what looked like the perfect life in the beginning of the novel, quickly though the reader can see the evil and utter domination this society is under. With each convenience the people had you could see the complete stripping of their freedoms. Each meal is delivered and perfectly rationed...your thinking great no cooking, but the government decides what they ate. Exercise was mandatory- you think great never getting fat.....but the government decided what exercises they would do and how fast and how long. They were giving the option to get married or stay single...great, freedom to choose a family.....BUT the government decides their mates for perfect genetics and DNA. This is what they called Matching and this is the society Cassia lives in, completely brainwashed and accepting of the way of life, its the only thing she knows and the only way she has ever lived. When the Ky wrench gets thrown at her, life literally turns upside down. She cant help but be curious about the match with Ky and curiosity leads to encounter and encounter leads to things she never had any intention of. Once the clock starts ticking though, Cassia cant stop events from unfolding and as she struggles to make sense of friendship and true love, the officials have other plans for all of them.
Ohhhhhhhh this was awesome, a very well paced thrilling ride of waiting to see what happens. I loved all the characters and the use of poetry, the simple desire of being able to write, something the society's people couldn't do I thought anchored the relationship between Cassia and Ky. He knew these simple things, something that highly attracted Cassia to him and also scared the officials. Imagine a poem being illegal, or a simple song being outlawed. I think Condie has got herself a winner here, one that will leave you excited at the end to read more and ask the question: How much control should the government have and how far are we willing to go in order for a perfect society?
Matched is a great dystopian story that can be enjoyed by teens and adults alike. I would suggest this for 8th grade and up. Contains: Violence, very mild sensuality (kissing, holding hands) and brainwashing.
3.5/4- YA- Dystopian