|Matched – Ally Condie|
Goodreads synopsis: 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 with complete certainty that 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.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to live in a world with no worries? Where there are no bills, disease, dating, divorce, crime, no reason to struggle for anything at all? Its tempting isn't it? I thought so, which is what intrigued me so much about Matched. In this world, even the smallest details are handled by the Society and the Officials in charge. Everything from the type of food you eat to the person you marry is determined by the scientific data gathered about you throughout your life. People are healthy and content in their controlled sterile world, where nothing is created, there is no art, no passion, no pain. And all they give up to gain this "utopia" is the right to choose, question, or complain. There are some harsh consequences in this Society for even the smallest infractions, all to keep the Society running smoothly for the benefit of the citizens of course. There are some places outside of the Society's controlled rule, the Outer Provinces, which are mentioned a few times but only enough to pique your interest.
What made the world building so wonderful was that it was presented in such a matter of fact way that made it so believable coming from Cassia. This is all she has known so these these things were all normal to her, there was no reason to feel oppressed when she had no concept of freedom. In the beginning, she felt like a robotic, naive, and passionless character because that's what she was. And it made sense. When things happen that shows the Society in a bad light, she made the excuses, believed the reasons she was given, and tried to go on fitting in and following the rules she had always followed.
I even understand her falling so hard for Ky, it was almost as if this is the first time she had actually felt some real emotion, and as with any teenager, it was an all or nothing kind of thing. Even then though, she had a hard time going against what was expected of her. This wasn't one of those typical YA "My life can't go on without you" obsessive things though, Cassia wanted Ky, and it was a powerful thing for her because she had never really wanted anyone or anything before. She just always accepted what she was given without question. And we see the relationship between them build gradually into something meaningful. Cassia finds out, like her Grandfather told her, that she has words and a voice of her own. She uses those forbidden words of the poet Dylan Thomas that was her Grandfather's final gift to her as a sort of mantra to motivate her to persevere. I can't wait to see the continued growth of Cassia's character in the rest of this series.
I loved the slow, tension building plot. The way the story was slowly presented, kind of like the world itself, giving just enough to keep you involved. There were a few unexpected surprises, but no major plot twists.
I think the only aspect of Matched I didn’t enjoy as much is that Xander seems a little “too good to be true” But it could just be that his character was written that way for a reason and his lack of personality just a reflection of the bland world he is a part of.
I read this book in just 2 days, which is really quickly for me. All day while I was working, I kept thinking how eager I was to get back it, to find out what happens next. I completely understand all the hype surrounding this book. This is one of my favorite reads of the year, which truly surprises me as it has no magic, elves, fairies, witches, or any other supernatural elements! I think this absolutely deserves a 5 star rating. More soon please Ally Condie!
Rating 5 – Absolutely Wonderful! Recommended for any and everyone.