Condie, Ally. Matched. New York, NY: Dutton, 2010.
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
Like Delirium, this is another dystopian YA novel, and another first in a trilogy. This one started slow, due to the world building that must take place. Oliver does a much better job of setting up her society without dragging the plot down. But by the middle of this book, Cassia’s story had me hooked. Cassia knows when she sees Ky’s face on the screen that it doesn’t matter. Xander is her match, and she is very happy with that. But then an Official pulls her out of class to tell her that Ky was a mistake because he’s not even supposed to be in the matching pool. He is an Aberration. Cassia is intrigued and wants to know more about this boy she has known since she was a child but never paid much attention to. As time goes on and Cassia learns more and more about the society in which she lives, she realizes that perfection is not all that it promises to be.
The story weaves around several different storylines. Many were not resolved by the end, which is necessary in a trilogy but maddening to me before I went online and found that this was the case. It certainly doesn’t hold its own as a stand-alone, and I’m eager to see where the author takes Cassia’s story in the next book. One little sticking point for me was that it seemed like everyone was a mind reader. When Cassia puts her dress swatch, now in a clear frame, in the window next to her mother’s, it makes sense that her mother can tell she’s imagining what a stained glass window might have looked like, as they were just talking about them. But there are so many other times that characters make such a far leap, with no evidence to support it, that I found myself rolling my eyes. If only it were that easy to tell what people are thinking!
Nitpicking aside, I did enjoy this book. I’m looking forward to the release date of Crossed, the sequel, when it comes out in November 2011. (The untitled third book will be released in November 2012.)