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Matched by Ally Condie

3.5 out of 5 stars

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.

My Review
This is a different twist on the young adult dystopian adventure. In Ally Condie’s futuristic tale, the world isn’t as dark and bleak, at least not for those born to the proper families who uphold Society’s expectations. While it starts off slow, the first third of the book easily is devoted to world building, it picks up steam in the middle and builds to a decent climax.

Cassia’s world has everything predetermined, from whom she will marry to what her career will be. She doesn’t even get to decide how to spend her time or what she’ll eat, but she doesn’t seem to mind, especially when she discovers she’s been matched to her best friend, Xander, the boy all the girls want. Her neat and orderly life is thrown into chaos when she’s temporarily shown that her match as someone else, a strange boy she barely knows, named Ky.

Plot
The plot moved a little slow for me, especially in the beginning, although it did pick up. It’s not particularly heavy on action for dystopian and even the romance was sort of understated. What worked well was the world building, and there’s a lot of it. Seeing how Ally Condie’s perceived future unfolds was both fascinating and frightening. When Cassia uncovers a horrible truth, it’s not entirely shocking because of the way Condie has laid the Society out before us.

Characters
Xander is the character I ended up liking the most. I don’t trust Ky, and Cassia is weaker than I usually prefer my female protagonists, but she does grow and I like her more by the time I got to the end. The most fascinating character isn’t really a person, it’s the Society. Ally Condie creates a world that is almost a personality all its own and it drives the story more than the characters or the plot. While the morals of the Society are in question, it’s definitely well crafted and intriguing.

Bottom Line
Matched is pretty mild by futuristic dystopian standards, but it has incredible world building and an interesting twist on the future that is worth a read.

About the Book
Title: Matched (Matched #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Pages: 400
Genre: Young Adult
Rating: 3 out of 5 Stars
Release Date: September 20, 2011
Links: Goodreads | Amazon | Barnes & Noble