Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

PhotobucketMatched (Matched #1)
by Ally Condie
Publication Date: 30 November 2010
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback
Rating: 4/5
Buy the Book: Amazon US/UK|B&N|Book Depo
On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her match. The Society dictates that 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...|Goodreads|
The dystopian genre is one of my favorites that is expanding into the Young Adult category but not all of them are explored as well as they could have been. This certainly is not the case with Matched. Ally Condie's array of well developed, flawed and relatable characters makes the world of Matched very believable as well as rather frightening. 

Matched follows the story of Cassia, a young girl who has grown up in the structured world built and maintained by the intimidating law enforcers simply known as, The Society. They control everything, from where you live, to whom you are married, where you work and when you will die. What makes this world even more depressing is that all creative outlets are strictly monitored and controlled to the point where they have narrowed the amount of songs, artwork, books and poems to a measly one hundred of each. Stripped of virtually all creativity, the people of the society are dull, boring and completely lacking in all ability to be free thinking and opinionated people. And that is exactly how The Society wants them to be.

When we first meet Cassia she is exactly who The Society wants her to be. She is obedient, complaisant and is the perfect product of the twisted society that she was born into. That is until a series of events sets a ball in motion and Cassia begins to question the seemingly 'perfect' environment in which she lives. After coming across poems that aren't in the one hundred selected by The Society and falling in love with someone to whom she isn't matched and who is an outcast, Cassia develops into a strong willed and determined young adult, and she starts to stand up for what she believes in. 

Cassia's development as a character was something I really enjoyed reading about and seeing her change was very empowering and exciting. At the end of the story I was proud of the person Cassia had become. Xander and Ky, the two male characters that form the love triangle in the story, were both very different but both were likable for their different qualities as well. The plot development was fast paced and exciting, and it was very engaging. The writing style was also very good and I applaud Ally Condie on her creativity in building such a terrifying world for her characters. Living in a world where music, art and words are all restricted would be my worst nightmare and watching the characters discover exactly what they've been missing was intriguing to say the least.

Matched was an exciting read and I found myself, at times, fully immersed in Cassia's world. I enjoyed Ally Condie's take on the dystopian genre and it can sit proudly next to some of the other great dystopian books on the Young Adult shelf!

Look out for my review of Crossed soon!

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