Review by Lisa T. Bergren

The Goodreads.com Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.

The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My Two Cents: Although I felt the first half of the book was slow, I thought it was needed to establish the basis of the characterization- and plot-arcs which make this book so powerful. After all, to show an “awakening,” we really need to enter into the world of sleep with the characters, and we do. Cassia’s world is well ordered, perfect in a superficial way, but the calling within her is to go deeper, to enter the messy and muddled. I loved this about the novel and know these strong characters and their moving stories will stay with me for a long time. While MATCHED may remind older readers of an updated 1984, I’m looking forward to CROSSED, book 2, this fall.

Why? Because I’m hoping Cassia breaks free and claims love and individuality and passion—things I honestly worry we’re missing in today’s society, not just in the future. In our world of chain restaurants, big box stores all selling the same thing, and our desire to be similar to everyone else, vs. embracing the unique within ourselves, Condie’s Society doesn’t seem like too far of a stretch.

Mama Bear Warnings: Genre: YA (young adult). Fine for kids 12 and up; no swearing; clean romance (kissing), although the deeper complexities of social/mind control might be lost on younger readers.