Matched by Ally Condie, pub. 2010, 369 pg.
Rating: 2/5 stars
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. –From Cover
This was another book I found on a list of things to read after The Hunger Games. It sounded really interesting to me – on their sixteenth birthday, children in the Society get to attend a big banquet and discover who their Match is. It’s pretty much the most elaborate arranged marriage system ever, only no one has any clue who their Match is until their Matching ceremony. You can be matched to anyone, anywhere. So it’s a huge surprise when Cassia is matched with her best friend, Xander.
But, of course, the system is flawed (as are most systems in dystopian fiction). When she plugs the card that is supposed to tell her more information about her match into her family’s communication center, a different boy’s face shows up on the screen. And that boy is Ky. And Ky just happens to be her other best friend and one of Xander’s best friends.
From that point, the book is extremely predictable. Cassia is conflicted over which boy is the right one for her, and she has many internal battles over her feelings about them. She starts to doubt the community, and rebel Ky just encourages her doubt.
Mostly, I was just fed up with Cassia the entire book. She spent the whole novel letting other people push her around and influence her decisions. She didn’t really take any action until the end of the book. After her Matching ceremony, most of the book consists of her climbing hills. That’s not even a joke.
The Society was an interesting idea. They only kept 100 of everything from the past – 100 songs, 100 paintings, 100 poems. The members of the Society only learn a very limited amount about history and other things. They are assigned to jobs based on what they are best at (very similar to The Giver) and they just go along with what the Society tells them.
Much like The Maze Runner, I thought this book was really great in theory, but fell apart in execution. It had such a lackluster ending and such flat characters that I couldn’t even be persuaded to attempt the next book. I really liked the idea of a strong female character who lives in a controlling society, but she sees the flaws in it and rebells (like Katniss! I love Katniss!). But this book failed to give me that character. Instead of Katniss, it gave me Bella Swan in dystopian society.
If you enjoy dystopian fiction, you might enjoy this book, but if you’re looking for interesting, multifaceted characters, be prepared for some disappointment.