Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Imagine a society where there is no cancer, everyone is healthy and all appears to be bright and beautiful. Ally Condie has created the perfect dystopian YA novel in MATCHED. All appears to be perfect on the surface but what cost do we pay for the perfection?
In MATCHED we meet 17 year old Cassia who has just been “matched’ as she begins to embark on a journey of self-discovery . The “society” decides everything for you including who you will marry. They make these decisions based on the best possible DNA match for perfect genes to combat disease and create longevity of life. Your occupation, your leisure time and your food intake are all controlled by the “society”. Imagine your meals showing up at a designated meal time without you having any input in what you would like to eat. Imagine a world where you rarely get to eat chocolate cake!
All appears to be perfect but as Cassia is faced with a glitch in her card showing her the information of her perfect match and the “society” forced death of her grandfather, which must happen at the age of 80 . The perfection of her society begins to unravel and we begin the journey with Cassia as she learns her own strength and begins to taste what freedom feels like. Why must citizens carry a blue, green and red pill at all times and what do they do? Cassia begins to discover the answers to these questions and they reveal to us what lengths the “society” must go to in order to keep citizens content and happy.
One thing I don’t like about the book is the love triangle. I’m honestly wore out on love triangles and the dynamics between Ky, Cassia and Xander can be frustrating yet they do add to the story by showing a crack in the perfection of the “society”. There is frustration as Cassia questions her feelings and questions her loyalty but the book thankfully focuses more on the lessons Cassia is learning and the deep concepts she is pondering. The love triangle does have an important role and is the protagonist resulting in Cassia beginning to question her life.
Condie has written an intriguing story that delves into many deep questions surrounding our freedom. What lengths must a society go to for perfection? What must her citizens give up to attain it? Is there a balance that can be obtained? I thoroughly enjoyed Cassia’s discovery of herself and look forward to delving into the next book to see where she goes from here. I am shocked that I had not heard of this book before now and I devoured every second of it. Prepare to have food for thought that will keep you pondering the dynamics of freedom and safety long after you have turned the last page.