Matched by Ally Condie
Published: 2 Jun 2011 (Puffin)
Plot Summary: (from Amazon)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 . . .
Matched tells the story of Cassia who lives in a society where who she spends the rest of her life with is chosen for her, and each aspect of her life is controlled by "officials". It's a great dystopian story and sticks to the teen dystopian template, but that doesn't mean it's a predictable read, oh no.
The concept and plot are both brilliant and gripping and we're thrown into the action straight away, as we join Cassia on her journey to her matching ceremony. This is familiar territory in teenage dystopian fiction (the Reaping in The Hunger Games, Evaluation in Delirium etc.) but Condie really builds up the spectacle. When everything doesn't go quite as plan I couldn't wait to know more, and the twists and turns kept on coming.
Cassia is a fascinating main character who really makes the story what it is as she develops and becomes more aware of the world she lives in and fights her feelings, the feelings that could change everything around her. It's pretty cliche to say she goes on a journey but you become utterly gripped by her internal monologue as she questions her society, makes startling discoveries and begins to fight against what she has been raised to be.
As the book is based around the pairing of boys and girls you can bet there's going to be some romance, and it doesn't disappoint! Cassia's discovery of the guys around her, and one boy in particular, leaves you really rooting for her, and when a couple has to fight to be together it makes you invest in them even more. I found myself left wanting to know more about Cassia and her love interest in the story, as there's obviously a reason the two of them are brought together, but as this is the first book in a trilogy I have high hopes for more to come out in the remaining books. As well as seeing her romantic feelings develop, we also see her relationship with her younger brother, parents and her grandfather which make for some really touching moments in the book (grab the tissues).
In conclusion, a highly recommended book for any lovers of dystopian fiction. I can't wait to read the next instalment of the series!
What to read next: Crossed by Ally Condie, the 2nd instalment in the Matched Trilogy. Available now.
Books like this: Divergent by Veronica Roth, Delirium by Lauren Oliver, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.