By Allie Condie
Published on September 20, 2011 by Speak
Genre: YA, Dystopian, Romance
5 out of 5 chickadees singing. Wow, I’m impressed by just how good this book was. The romance aspect was decent, but the Society that Condie created is really amazing. The main character, Cassia, lives in a dystopian world where everything is planned out and regulated for its citizens. For example, the Society delivers citizens’ meals each day and each meal is perfectly fortified and portioned for each individual. Sharing food is prohibited and dessert-type foods are only available for special occasions. Every person dies at age eighty and has a final ceremony. They are also told where to work, what to read, where to live, etc. Cassia is seventeen, which means it is time for her matching ceremony, which will tell her who she is supposed to marry.
Cassia is excited to see that she has been matched with her best guy friend, Xander. When she goes to check his data on the card later, however, another face pops up of another boy, Ky, that she knows. She is told it is a mistake, but the idea of Ky is now in her head and she cannot remove it. She slowly starts falling for the wrong boy and it makes her wonder- if she was really meant to be with Ky and the Society said Xander, what else is Society wrong about? She begins to see that the Society is not the benevolent master she thought it was.
I read this book in 24 hours; it was that captivating. I was immediately drawn to Cassia because she was different than some other dystopian heroines- she began the book not bitter toward her government with thoughts of rebellion, but appreciating the order and stability it provided. I was curious to see how Cassia’s feelings would change throughout the book. Even when her eyes begin to open, she still understands, in part, why the Society does what it does. Her love story with Ky was sweet, mostly, to me, because it was built upon something deep. Cassia was an intelligent heroine, for she questioned if she would still love Ky were it not for him popping up on her matching screen.
Both Cassia and Ky are put in difficult, nearly impossible situations. A common theme in dystopian stories is whether or not the hero should go against the rules to take a stand, knowing it could hurt her/his family and friends. This is how many a totalitarian government stays alive- because people want to protect themselves and those around them rather than standing for what is right. This book is no different and at times, as a reader, you aren’t even sure what choice they should make.
Even though the Matched sequel is not on my Shelf Sweepathon Challenge, I’m wondering how I’m going to keep myself away from it! I am desperate to know what finds out next. Yeah, it was that good. Check it out!
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