I first heard about Matched by Ally Condie through Melissa Marr who posted on facebook a couple of months ago that she had read it and highly recommended it. I immediately loved the cover art and when I read the synopsis, I KNEW I was going to love this book. I KNEW that this was right up my street and I needed to read it. I tried desperately hard to get an ARC – entering every contest I could find and even requesting one from Penguin but alas to no avail. I was also extremely disappointed that I couldn’t go to BEA since I live in the UK.
I tweeted my frustrations and how I would just “drop my life” to read this book. Out of the blue I got a DM from an extremely kind fellow book blogger who offered to let me borrow her ARC of Matched. I was dumbfounded. I’ve done some nice things for bloggers before but it was so nice to be on the receiving end. I can’t tell you how grateful I was to get this book and I’m not going to name the person (just in case they don’t want to be named) but I will always be grateful and I sure do owe them one.
Matched was everything I expected it to be and so much more. I think my very words were “I want to marry this book and have its offspring”. If THAT doesn’t tell you how good it is, then nothing will. I will admit that this is the first dystopian novel I’ve ever read (yes I’m ashamed to say that I have not tackled The Hunger Games or The Mortal Instruments books yet although they’re sitting on my shelves, giving me the eye). I got lost in the dystopian world of Matched and more than that, I WANTED to get lost in that world. I find myself even now; days later wanting to dive back into the book just so I can visit Cassia and her world again.
Let me tell you a bit about the world of Matched and what the story is about. Matched is set in a futuristic, dystopian world where everything is controlled by “The Society”. Choice is taken away as everything is decided for you in order to live a healthy, extended life. The main protagonist is Cassia, who is approaching her 17th birthday and on that date she is to be matched. The Society will choose a match for her, one that fits her physical and psychological profile. Obviously nervous, Cassia is reassured when her best friend Xander is chosen as her match but what happens when another face flashes on the matching screen then vanishes just as quickly? Faced with impossible questions and impossible choices, just who is her match? And does she dare to find out?
I think this book has huge potential to become a classic. Because it is set in the future, not one part of the text dates it in any way – no texting, no teen speak and no stereotypes. The characters were very well fleshed out and I felt like I bonded with them easily. I loved seeing the world from Cassia’s eyes although it might have been interesting to see things from alternative points of view. I was certainly curious to know what Xander and Ky were thinking at times!
As for relationships, there were some extremely sweet and touching moments between the main characters which made me pull funny faces and say “awwww” out loud. Luckily, I didn’t have an audience so no explanation was necessary!
There’s so much more I would love to say about this book but I don’t want to give any spoilers away so I’ll reserve those thoughts for Ally herself. I have to say that this is definitely in my top three favourite books of all time and believe me when I tell you that the ending will leave you breathless for more! I’m so glad to hear that there is a sequel in the works as I am now DYING to read it and would definitely drop my life to read that too!
Matched is officially released in November, 2010. I am pre-ordering it RIGHT NOW and I urge you with every fibre in my being to do the same as I guarantee you will not be disappointed.
Allyson Condie is the author of several YA novels such as Being Sixteen, Freshman for President, Reunion, First Day and Yearbook. Visit her website and blog by clicking here . Ally is also active on Facebook and Twitter.