Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Matched - Ally Condie

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 with complete certainty that 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.

I had to give myself a little time to let this book settle for me before I gave it a review. Because I absolutely loved it, but I really struggled with the pacing. It just felt like it moved slowly, even though all of it was fairly important to the story and the characters. It did pick up quite a bit at the end, so I'm hoping that now that most of the setup has been covered the next books will be as gripping as the end of this first book. But the story itself was extremely excellent. It reminds me a lot of The Giver, which is one of my favorite books. It's subtle in the same way, and a very emotionally moving book. 

I loved Cassia. Sometimes she made me crazy because she was trying so hard to make everyone happy when it was clear that it was impossible. But I can't say I would have done differently, especially considering the way the Society works. The flow of her evolution was absolutely beautiful as her eyes were opened to just exactly what the Society was like, and what that meant for her. She has such a strong inner spirit, and her internal fight to figure out what she wants and what she can even do it about it is encouraging as well as heartbreaking.

As for the love triangle, this is one of the most heartbreaking ones I've read. They are both such great guys, and they offer so much to her in different ways. Xander is sweet and caring and offers her the safe route. The path that is expected of her, the boy that she knows and feels safe and comfortable with is with Xander. But Ky is unknown and mysterious and dares her to be more than what's just expected of her. He pushes her to want more, and while it's dangerous, it's very alluring. I honestly love both of these boys, even though I'm rooting for Ky. But I definitely hope that everyone gets some kind of happy ending at the end of the trilogy.

I highly suggest this book. It's an excellent story and I'm dying to find out what happens next to everyone - even though I have to wait until the fall for Crossed to come out. This is the start of a great trilogy.


Ally Condie
Penguin Young Readers Group
384 pages
$17.99 (hardcover)

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