Matched by Ally Condie
REVIEW BY NICKYMatched was read by many of our high school students this year, and I figured it would be a good, light summer read. I think, however, that after this one, I may be ready for a break from dystopian fiction. I think that Matched follows a lot of the same formula as the past few dystopian novels I have read. The Society limits personal freedoms to maintain peace; the main character (a young girl) realizes how much she wants the ability to choose her own direction, control her own fate; and, of course, you have to have the love triange between the young protagonist and two seemingly equally appealing young men: one, the "safe" choice, and the other, the mysterious, hardened one. Yes, I do know this is a broad generalization, but I think, to my own discredit, that I have finally gotten myself into a dystopian rut.
Matched starts out by introducing us to Cassia Reyes, who is on her way to her matching ceremony, where The Society will tell her with whom they have "matched" her. She will spend the rest of her life with this young man, and chances are that she has never met or even seen this person before. Of course, Cassia, like all young girls in The Society is nervous yet very excited for this momentous occasion. She is shocked, then, when her match is revealed to be her best childhood friend, Xander. When she goes home and reviews here match program on her home "port," she is shocked to see another's face on the screen as well: Ky Markham. Cassia begins to see Ky in a different light, and to realize that the matching system, as well as other things in The Society, seem faulty at least, if not corrupt and cruel. When it comes time to make her final decision, will Cassia "go gently"?
I have to admit, I was annoyed by Cassia and Xander from the very beginning. To be seventeen and not ever question this whole concept of being "matched" seems fairly far-fetched to me. With Ky, I was a more sympathetic, however, and his story is why I did read this one fairly quickly. Though I do feel, as I mentioned earlier, that I am in a dystopian rut, I also think that having just finished and loved Where Things Come Back, my standards have been set high, and I am a harsher critic that usual. Though, my reaction to this book is a bit lack-luster, I do think it is credit to Ally Condie that I found the story intriguing enough to go out and start its sequel, Crossed, right away.