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.
I have been looking forward to Matched for several months - I'd seen some fabulous reviews and couldn't wait to get my hands on it. I bought and started reading it the day it was released:
As the story opens, Cassia is on her way to her Matching ceremony. She's nervous but excited and her childhood friend Xander is also being Matched tonight, so together they've been going over what they think will happen for the last few weeks. As the ceremony progresses and other teens are seeing their Matches, Cassia's turn finally comes - and they announce her Match is from within their city - Xander! They're both excited, as they've been friends for so long and like each other very much. When Cassia gets home, out of curiosity she views the chip they were given at the ceremony and Xander's face comes up, then disappears, to be replaced by another face - someone else from their town that she also knows - Ky Markham.
No one else knows what Cassia saw, and she's not going to tell anyone, especially not Xander. An official meets with her and tells her it's a glitch, she's not meant for Ky as he's an aberration - he'll never be matched. She knew Ky was adopted, which is almost unheard of, but not that he'd be an aberration - a classification put upon him to atone for the actions of his father. The official allows Cassia to talk to her grandfather about it, as he is turning 80 the next day and will therefore die tomorrow. Her grandfather has secrets too, one of which he reveals to Cassia, and she doesn't know what to do about it.
As the days go by, Cassia and Ky are thrown together more and more during their hiking activities, she grows more intrigued and impassioned about Ky. She shares her grandfather's secret, and he shares forbidden secrets with her. She's falling for Ky, but she can't disappoint her family and Xander, can she?
As a general rule I'm not a fan of dystopian stories, but the love story aspect of this book appealed to me. MATCHED is a well-written and engaging book; the world building was interesting and I want to know more - how did society come to this? Who are the people in charge? What goes on in the other areas that are not urban? But I also liked the romance aspect of the story; reading Cassia fall for Ky when she knows it's forbidden, Ky sharing his forbidden history and knowledge, and Cassia's gradual understanding that perhaps she's not living in a Utopia as she originally thought.
The cliffhanger ending definitely left me wanting more - I've already added the next book, Crossed (November 1, 2011), to my wishlist.
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 369 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release date: November 30, 2010