Matched by Ally Condie
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Wow- that was the first thought that went through my mind when I finished this book. This was after a rollercoaster of emotions in a read that took us from quiet, comfortable Cassia to rebellious think-for-yourself Cassia. I found it horrifying to imagine a futuristic world where absolutely everything is controlled, and you have no freedom to determine your life at all. Your hobbies are restricted to a list of a few select choices and only at pre-set hours of the day. All your food intake is controlled, even the music you listen to is restricted to approved songs and certain times of the day. Cassia is pleased to discover at her matching ceremony (where a person's future partner is revealed to them) that her match won't be stranger in another city but one of her existing friends. Then another possible match- Ky- is revealed to her, and as she and Ky get to spend time together, and share the secret words of a long-lost poem, Cassia starts to realise the extent of control the Society has over her and her choices. People may live for longer and live healthier, but at what price? Rebelling in small ways at first Cassia begins to try to push the boundaries of the Society, and comes to the realisation that the only thing that they can't control is her thoughts.
Cassia's relationships, with her parents and with her friends feel like the only real things in Cassia's life at first, but I absolutely loved her growing friendship with Ky, and their connection and ease in being able to confide forbidden secrets to each other. It is also Cassia's closeness with her Grandfather which encourages her newfound questioning- she can understand his wanting to die under his own terms and not under the complete control of the Society. The only life Cassia has ever known and always accepted seems suddenly so suffocating. Punishments for any misdemeanours are often subtle.
There are still so many unanswered questions at the end of this book and I can only assume that the author didn't want to overload us with all the world-building in one book, which I liked because the focus was mostly on the characters and the story. Hopefully these wider questions will be answered in the next book, when Cassia really starts to rebel against the Society, and I eagerly look forward to the continuation of this story.
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