I just finished reading/listening to Matched by Ally Condie. It’s set in the future, where everything, including what you eat and who you fall in love with, is determined by probabilities and statistics. And for Cassia, her world is falling apart.
She’s 17, and has been Matched to her best friend Xander, an uncommon occurrence. When she goes to view the information the Matching comittee has given her, it first shows her Xander, and then the screen blanks out, and shows her a different boy for her Match. It’s also a boy she knows, in her neighbourhood (called a borough) named Ky.
She meets up with an Official, who explains the second match to Ky is a mistake, or a mean trick, and that Ky could never be her match because he’d an aberration. Aberrations aren’t allowed to have matches. Cassia accepts her words and a new microchip to view the facts she already knows on Xander, but can’t stop thinking about Ky. Then things start falling apart in her perfect world as she begins to fall for Ky.
I ended up reading a lot of this by audio, which is really listening to it. I got it for my nook, and then I’d get partway in, get interested, and have to drive. Thankfully, I have a subscription to Audible.com and had a book credit, so I was able to download it directly to my phone and listen that way. Between listening and reading, I managed to enjoy the whole book. I think listening helps me, otherwise I read too fast and miss large parts.
Anyway, to Matched itself. It’s an interesting enough read, kind of a Twilight set in a dystopia, but with more characterization. Cassia is a likable character, and while a lot of the book happens to be what she’s feeling, with bits of doing interspersed, it’s not just a few hundred pages of navel grazing. Cassia actually shows growth, which was one of my biggest gripes with Twilight (Bella does not). Both the guys she’s in love with have personalities, and aren’t just there to be background noise. It becomes pretty apparent which one she’s going to choose, but at least leftover boy doesn’t become a cardboard cutout.
Overall, I didn’t LOVE Matched, but I didn’t mind it. I found it more enjoyable than Twilight because the protagonist is more interesting, and I likes that both boys she falls for are characterized better than cardboard cutouts. I had some problems with it, but since I like dystopias in general, I found I enjoyed the book. I’m hoping the second one, due out next year, has more action.