Series: Matched #1
Published by Razorbill
Genres: Dystopian YA, Young Adult
Source: Received for review from publishers
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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.
Thoughts: Matched is one of those books suffering from so-much-hype-I-don’t-want-to-read-it syndrome. Every blogger out there has raved about the book, and as a result it took me a year to pick it up. Call it reverse psychology or whatever. But with the release of the sequel Crossed coming up, I knew I had to give Matched a shot. And – surprisingly – it lived up to the hype!
At its core, Matched is a romance novel. But like all good romantic stories, it is about so much more than just the romance. Its main message is an age-old one: Do not go gentle into that good night. The protagonist, Cassia, goes from being a girl who embraces the status quo to being a girl who refuses to give in. It is quite a dramatic change and the cause of the change is not just her newfound romance. There is a loss in her family, she has the things most precious to her taken away, and there are threats made against her two lovely parents. And, above all, there is the poetry. The beautiful, illegal poetry that tell her to not go gentle. It’s a message that resounded with me, and I think will certainly speak to teens.
Moving on to the characters – I can wholeheartedly say that I enjoyed them all. Both love interests were fantastic (a real coup for a teen novel). They were gentle, kind, and smart – they didn’t necessarily make you swoon, but they did fill me with the overwhelming urge to keep them safe. Safe, you ask? Well, while Matched is a very sedate dystopian novel (there aren’t people running about with guns and cattle prods), there is a danger present in the book that was just a scary as actual violence. The Society expressed their power subtly, by reducing your food portions or cutting down your trees. It wasn’t overt but it was constant. The effect was extremely unnerving.
I also enjoyed the integral role Cassia’s family played in the novel. Her parents were wonderful, supportive people, and her relationship with them was one of the healthiest I have ever seen in a YA novel. It was refreshing to read – especially since most teenagers actually do have good relationships with their parents!
My only complaint would be Cassia. While I didn’t dislike her, I found her to be rather bland. Every other character I felt something for, but Cassia felt like a blank slate for the reader to place themselves into the novel. Not necessarily a bad thing, but it kept me from truly connecting with the novel. Shame.
Bottom line? Matched was an extremely enjoyable dystopian novel. It’s the perfect book for people who wanted more romance in their Hunger Games!