If you get anything from this review, I hope it is that. Allie Condie’s Matched is in my top five books of all time, OF ALL TIME! (In the words of Ming Ming from Wonder Pets, “This. Is. Serious.”) This is the most beautifully written, poetic, passionate YA novel I have ever read. I was drawn in from the first sentence, not just the first page. I’m literally bubbling with excitement just thinking about it.
Matched is a dystopian novel where everyone lives in the “society,” a place where everything is controlled including who you marry. The book begins with Cassia attending her matching ceremony and given her match, a rare but amazing revelation; it is her best friend, Xander. However, there has been a mistake and it is not Xander’s face she sees in her matching ceremony info card, it’s Ky Markham’s. The society says it is just a glitch. Cassia undergoes a journey to find the truth to the burning question, what if?
This is a delicious tale of a young girl fighting for her right to choose who to love in a society that controls everything. The romance is believable; the characters are realistic about living and loving within the confines of the society, but still hope against hope they can be together. (I generally hate when dialogue is too gushy when characters have only known each other one day.) Both Xander and Ky are loveable, a reason why it’s so hard for Cassia to choose. This is a case of nice guy finishes last, but is what is safest the best thing for Cassia?
Allie Condie wrote such a convincing and moving masterpiece; I believed every word she wrote. In the dystopian genre, it’s easy to be distracted by the chaotic environment that the character is trapped in, especially when we are so used to our freedom here in the present. Condie is utterly convincing in her portrayal of the society and she writes so beautifully, too.
There is a poetic element to Condie’s writing as well as poetry within the society, not just any poetry, forbidden poetry. Anyone who appreciates the written word will be eating out of Condie’s literary hand. The poetry really adds credibility to Condie’s writing. She knows what she is doing, and I like it.
The sense of danger and secrecy adds desperation to Cassia’s predicament. I was rooting for her from the beginning. Cassia, as a character, grows in maturity throughout the novel. This maturity is from finding a sense of self and having the courage to go against the grain. It’s magical. If only every girl could transform herself in the most desperate of situations to overcome. It sets a wonderful example.
By the end, I was panting in breathless anticipation of the outcome. This novel is amazing. I will never ever forget it. This is a timeless masterpiece. I hope years from now, children will be reading it in the classroom as a testament to 21st century American Literature. The next book in the series, Crossed, comes out on November 1, 2011. You can bet I will be at the bookstore, bright and early, to devour the next installment of Condie’s masterpiece.