Wednesday, June 08, 2011


A few weeks ago, Entertainment Weekly had a list of young adult books that are being adapted into movies. I pulled the page out of the magazine, thinking it'd make a good start to a "to-be-read list" (although they'd all be books I'd have to read in the future; my to-be-read pile still has two to three dozen books in it). I left the list on my desk and kind of forgot about it.

Then my wife brought Matched by Ally Condie home from the library. She said it looked like an interesting young adult book. She knew I'm on a dystopian kind of kick right now and thought I might like to read it. The cover looked familiar. Wouldn't you know it, Matched was indeed on that list. So even though I hadn't intended to find any of these books just yet, I bit the bullet and started reading.

Cassia is a young girl who lives in the Society, a regime that basically controls every aspect of her life. They decide her daily schedule, they provide strictly controlled meals, and they are the ones who select who she will someday marry. On the day she turns seventeen, Cassia goes to her Matching banquet and learns that the Society has chosen her best friend Xander to be her mate. It's a bizarre happenstance; normally most people are Matched with total strangers. This delights Cassia to no end. At least, it does at first.

But then, as she's reading up on her intended, she sees the face of another friend, that of Ky. And she is intrigued. Why would she see two faces where she should have only seen one? What is the deal with Ky, a brooding young man who seems to harbor deep secrets? Soon Cassia is caught between Ky and Xander, but more than that. She finds herself squarely in the crosshairs of the Society and it's not a good thing.

This was an interesting read. I enjoyed it just fine, but I felt like it was missing something, a little bit of "oomph," so to speak. Things seemed almost too sedate, but I suppose that was the point. The Society is a manacle wrapped in velvet, one that guarantees safety and health by taking away choices. It would take a bit to wake someone up from such a life. Cassia, Ky, and Xander are all likeable characters, which helps. Maybe the problem I had was that the story was a bit too predictable. There were some "twists" here and there, but they weren't all that surprising. Or it could be that Condie was obviously leaving herself room for a sequel and left a few too many dangling threads.

In the end, I enjoyed this book and I'd probably read a sequel. But then, I've got a lot of books to read between now and November, when the next one is supposed to come out. I'll get there eventually, I guess.

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