Monday, 22 August 2011

Matched - Ally Condie

GENRE: Young Adult
PAGES: 384
PUBLISHER: Puffin Books
FORMAT: Paperback
BUY IT: Waterstones

On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her Match. Society dictates 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...

Matched is an intense story about the power of freedoms. It boils down what we take for granted, like the use of words, or little mementos we keep. It asks us who we become when we have no history and no real memories - or even control over who we fall in love with. There are no personal freedoms in Cassia's society.

The story plays out between Xander, a boy that Cassia is official 'Match' with at her Matching ceremony, and Ky - the boy who's picture accidentally appears on the screen instead of Xander. What makes all of these characters so brilliant is their resilience; they are strong and push the narrative along by the slightest of actions, and the smallest of words. Cassia herself is a brilliant heroine and you really do see her develop from a youngster who follows everything the society says to a budding adult, questioning both her emotions and actions.

Dystopian fiction at its best, Matched is both thrilling and worrying. It shows what happens when we allow our freedoms to be taken away for the sake of an easy life, and how difficult it can be to regain that. Condie masters the art of language in this book. It is perfectly crafted and will make you think.

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