“Matched” Book Review

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Book: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Release date: 11/30/10

In Cassia Reyes’s world, everything is designed for living an optimum life. People eat specially prepared healthy food full of vitamins and minerals. Their physical and mental status is monitored to make sure they are functioning at their finest. They die on their 80th birthday, the best possible age that allows a fulfilling life without deterioration from being too old. And, if they want to get married at twenty-one and have children before the most favorable cut off age, they’ll need to be Matched to their best genetic option at seventeen.

The story starts out with Cassia heading to her Matching ceremony, excited to see the man she is destined to be Matched with. But imagine her surprise when she gets paired to her longtime childhood friend, Xander, which is almost unheard of. She’s given a disk of information about him to view, like all the Matched, and even though she knows pretty much everything about Xander, she decides to watch it. Xander’s face appears on the screen, but after a few seconds it disappears, to be replaced with another boy’s face. A boy she also knows, named Ky Markham. What does it mean? Who can she talk to about this? And why, even though Xander is her true match, does she find her thoughts continuously drifting back to Ky?

The Advance Reader’s Copy (ARC) I received for this book has a black cover that is plastered with recommendation blurbs all over the front and back. I had absolutely no idea what it was about, but after doing a little research I thought it sounded intriguing. I wasn’t sure about the dystopian subject matter, especially one that is reminiscent of The Hunger Games in some ways. But, even though there were some familiar themes I’d seen done before, the development of the characters, and the way the true details of this seemingly perfect society are revealed, made it a page turner.

One of the major themes that I loved was about freedom of choice. In this world, everything is decided for you, eliminating most of the dangers that caused humans stress and early death prior to this shift in society. And throughout the book, the author writes this life in such a way that you can definitely see the perks to some of them. I mean, who wouldn’t want the option of being able to have your ideal mate, both emotionally and genetically, chosen for you? It’s definitely an intriguing thought. But even in that sentence, I state that which is never actually available to Cassie: option. If she wants to get married and have kids, then being Matched is her only choice. And as the story progresses we learn that maybe she doesn’t want to go gentle into that good night after all.

This book was well-written, complex, and interesting. The love triangle aspect was handled beautifully, and the development of Cassia’s desire for personal freedom was wonderful to watch. It will definitely have you thinking about choice and ultimately what is right for all of us.

Reviewed by: Lauren Z.

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