From the BLURB:
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates he is her perfect partner for life.
Except he's not.
In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love.
How many children they have.
Where they work.
When they die.
But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.
And that's when her whole world begins to unravel .
Ally Condie’s stand-alone YA novel is amazing. Flat-out, hands-down incredible! And it will most certainly be featuring on my ‘2010 favourites’ list!
Cassia trusts the Society. The Society chooses everything – what people eat, where they work, who they marry, when they have children and when they die. Everything is orchestrated by the Society. Cassia, like everyone else, trusts the Society. She trusts them to choose her life-partner and is excited for her Matching Banquet where mathematical calculations will show Cassia who her optimal partner will be. Cassia is especially trusting of the Society when they choose her best friend, Xander, as her match. She and Xander have been friends since they were children, and now that they are matched she can start seeing him as more than just a friend...
But then, for one split second, Cassia sees another possibility – a boy called Ky Markham. Ky is an Aberration – an orphan from the Outer Provinces who must remain single.
Cassia is matched to Xander, and Ky is an Aberration. Society has calculated the possibilities and probabilities and Cassia knows her match... but what if the Society is wrong?
This novel is simply stunning. ‘Matched’ is a book about paradise lost and discovering Dystopia. Cassia is a 17-year-old girl on the cusp of womanhood. She has just started her matching courtship that in two year’s time will see her ‘bound’ to Xander. She is almost finished with school and will become a sorter for the Society. It is at this critical time in her life, on the brink of it all, that Cassia starts questioning everything. Not long after she is matched with her best friend Xander, a glitch in the computer system has her noticing another boy, Ky. Cassia has known Ky her whole life, but after her matching she starts seeing him in a different light.
‘Matched’ is ultimately a love story – albeit one set in Dystopia. Cassia is torn between order and chaos as her heart lies with two very different boys. Her best friend and official ‘match’ is Xander. But she is in love with the forbidden; an Aberration boy called Ky. ‘Matched’ is all about the heart-breaking love triangle that Cassia must endure.
Ally Condie’s world is bleak – and the root of the misery lies in the characters being none the wiser to their desolation. In this world the Society has eliminated creativity and curbed free-will. The Society have limited art and creation, allowing only a Hundred songs, Hundred poems, Hundred Paintings and Hundred stories to exist – everything else from ‘before’ was destroyed. The Society gives people three pills – blue, green and red – to be taken at moments of extreme anxiety. Handwriting is no longer required; all written forms of communication are typed. There are strict curfews, and trees that don’t grow uniformly are cut down.
The turning point for Cassia comes with a forbidden poem passed down from her Grandparents, one that is not on the authorized list of Hundred poems. Cassia reads the chilling words of Dylan Thomas; ‘Do not go gentle into that good night. Rage, rage against the dying of the light.’ With those lines, Cassia’s world is forever changed, her thinking altered. She starts questioning the Society, and her matching with Xander. She allows herself illicit moments with Ky, and forbidden feelings.
“Cassia,” she says kindly. “Teenagers are hot-blooded. Rebellious. It’s part of growing up. In fact, when I checked your data, you were predicted to have some of these feelings.”A good portion of ‘Matched’ is devoted to Condie’s world-building. It makes for a sometimes slow pace, but honestly I revelled in every detail. Condie’s world is terrifying and precise, an Orwellian existence dependent on people’s complacency and the Society never being questioned. Visually, Condie’s book reminded me of the cinematic world of Gattaca and Equilibrium – for all those gleaming edges, chrome surfaces and inhuman perfection. It is terrifying!
“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
“Of course you do, Cassia. But it’s nothing to worry about. You might have certain feelings for Ky Markham now, but by the time you are twenty-one, there is a ninety-five percent chance that it will all be over.”
‘Matched’ is an exquisite novel. You will feel elated, devastated and a burning need to admire some Dylan Thomas poetry after reading this book. Condie sucked me in with her vision of a perfect prison, and she kept me hooked with an unfolding love triangle. This is one of the best YA books I have ever read and it is most definitely going on my ‘2010 favourites’ list.
November 30th 2010
November 30th 2010