Cassia Maria Reyes lives in a society where free choice is non-existent. The “Officials” in charge instruct citizens on what food to eat, what clothes to wear, they assign occupations, choose mates and they even select the date of death for each citizen. Nothing is left to chance and Cassia has always believed that choice is a small price to pay for having an ideal life, until her seventeenth birthday when she is matched with her best friend Xander Thomas Carrow.
At first she feels lucky to be matched with Xander—he is honest, trustworthy, her childhood best friend, plus he is strikingly good-looking—but when Cassia plugs in her Match microcard to look at Xander’s information, another boy’s face flashes on the screen for an instant causing her to question the choices that are being made for her.
While one should never judge a book by its cover, this one could not be more perfect. Book browsers will be struck by the simplicity, as well as the image of a long-haired girl, wearing a party dress, trapped in a green-tinted bubble. Matched definitely has the marketing campaign to push it to best-seller status, but more importantly, its engrossing, fast pace will make it hard for readers to put it down; though the unfinished ending—thus meaning a sequel is in the works—may leave some with a sour taste in their mouths.
While the title is reminiscent of Lois Lowry’s The Giver, Ally Condie gives it a teen edge by creating a love triangle; though this dystopian fantasy is about much more. She also, flawlessly, uses Cassia, and the book’s supporting cast, to draw readers into the internal struggle between doing what society assigns and thinking outside the box.