Matched by Ally Condie
Published by Dutton Children’s, an imprint of Penguin
I received an unsolicited copy of this book for review from the publicist.

It’s the day of Cassia’s Matching ceremony – the night she will find out who she will marry – and she is excited and nervous.  She needn’t worry, however, because when her Match is revealed, it’s Xander’s face she sees, her best friend and a boy she’s known all her life.  She’s extremely lucky to be Matched with someone she already knows so well – this is incredibly rare.  But when another boy from her town, Ky, mistakenly pops up on her Match screen the next day, everything changes.  Cassia, for the first time in her life, gets to think about what might happen if she were allowed the freedom of choice, an entirely new idea in her Society.

There’s a lot happening in Matched, and I didn’t want to give too detailed a summary for fear of spoiling important elements of the plot.  I personally had avoided most reviews of the book before reading it because I wanted to go in with little to no expectations.  Of course, I knew that Matched had been getting lots of love from bloggers, but that’s about all I knew.  Well, add my voice to the chorus because I really enjoyed this book.  It’s a creative and interesting concept and the trilogy has great potential.

I liked so many things about this novel that I’m not sure where to start.  I definitely appreciated the character of Cassia – she was smart, driven, and remarkably independent given the world she grew up in.  She was afraid of the new thoughts she was having, but still tried to examine them carefully and figure out what she should do and what it all meant.  I liked several of the other characters, especially Ky and Cassia’s grandfather.  Her grandfather wasn’t a huge part of the story, but he does have one incredibly poignant scene and really shaped a lot of her personality.  Ky interested me because he was so very different from everyone else in Cassia’s life – he craved independent thought and freedom of choice, and he encouraged Cassia to do the same.  While he made her life extremely difficult, he was the impetus for the change in her thinking, and I think Condie did an excellent job writing his character.

I loved the way the elements of this society were gradually revealed to the reader over time.  And everything about this world was SO well thought out, clearly Condie spent a lot of time making sure every aspect of the world made sense and fit together.  I would have moments where I would think to myself, “I wonder how such-and-such works”, and the next chapter the characters would run into that exact situation and I would understand.  Hard to explain, but if you read the book you’ll get what I mean.  Just, everything fit perfectly.  There were no plot elements or aspects of the society that made me cringe or have disbelief, it all just worked.

The ending of Matched made me extremely excited for the next book in the series.  This is a trilogy I’m really excited about, and I’m thrilled that I gave this book a chance.  It held up to my every expectation.  I would absolutely recommend it.