Matched (2010) by Ally Condie
Reviewed by Sara Vilkomerson
Ally Condie’s Matched is set in a futuristic dystopian world where the Society dictates its citizens’ lives: where they work, whom they love, even when they die. There are some upsides. Because the Society pairs up DNA-compatible mates, disease has been eradicated (and no one ever has to Internet-date). But there are downsides too. Our heroine, 17-year-old Cassia, is ''matched'' with her best friend, Xander. Then a glitch in the Society’s usually seamless system convinces her that her true match is a quiet orphan with a mysterious past named Ky. Naturally she falls for the guy she can’t have, and begins to question everything about their way of life. By the time Cassia discovers why everyone must always carry a red, green, and blue pill — and just how the Society goes about making sure people die at the appropriate age — Matched has ventured into surprisingly grown-up sci-fi. Not quiteSoylent Green territory, but still kinda grim.
Matched is a brisk and intriguing book, and arrives with enormous advance buzz. It raises interesting questions about the role of government and free will while happily tapping into CW-friendly teen angst. But although the novel shares some tropes with YA favorites like The Hunger Games and the Twilight series — especially when it comes to love triangles — this first book in a planned trilogy feels just like that: a setup to a larger story rather than a stand-alone read. Having said that, we’ll still be in line for book 2.