Skip to main content

Matched by Ally Condie

picture of book cover

What if your husband or wife was chosen for you via a matching process in which you had no choice?

Or, put a bit more pragmatically, what if you had an arranged marriage and career?

Of course, in Ally Condie's world of [amazon 9780525423645 inline, life is bit more dire. In this world, food and portion size are regulated, there are set hours for free time, and you die when you turn 80 years old.

But the central thesis is that the Society picks who you will spend your life with and what your career will be. Future data sorter Cassia is fine with her match in the world of work, but accidentally sees her personal match may have/could be a boy named Ky, versus official partner (and longtime friend) Xander. She must struggle to find where she belongs.

It's entirely possible that I've just burned through too many futuristic "dystopian" society books with young female heroines. But the problem with [amazon 9780525423645 inline is that, unlike Delirium, the danger for Cassia and Ky never seems all that serious. Even the book's climax fell short for me.

However, Condie has said that Matched is supposed to be more "introspective" than the thrill-oriented Hunger Games, and there are worse things than a young adult story intertwined with a Dylan Thomas poem. There's also elements related to game-playing versus real-life that harken back to the classic Ender's Game (Ender, Book 1) . If you put aside all the "which boy should I choose?" drama, there are interesting themes about choice. Toward the end Cassia makes a series of decisions that sets her on a path toward freedom. There will be plenty of readers eager to pick up Condie's sequel, Crossed , this fall.

I'd put this below Delirium in your TBR Young Adult pile. But for parents, this is a safe bet to give to your teenager. Easy to read, no drugs, no sex, a good message about history and family, and, of course, choices.