Where to start with this absolute beauty of a book?
The prose? The characters? The romance?
Condie's writing skills moved me to feel things I didn't think were possible to feel. I can't be sure what it is exactly about 'Matched' that has touched me so deeply but I urge any YA Fiction fan to get a hold of this little gem as quickly as possible because in my personal opinion, this novel is without flaws.
Cassia is nervously waiting to attend the ceremony that all teenagers approaching adulthood will go through when being officially 'matched' to their life partners. The matches are chosen especially by the society based on what they consider to be the best matches for the perfect future reproduction of children.
All teenagers with the exception of aberrations & anomalies that is.
Anomalies are outcasted, to live beyond the borders of the neighbourhoods that are properly governed by the Officials. Under certain circumstances some aberrations live amongst normal folk, but are not treated the same. They are not entitled to the same 'luxuries' as everybody else. Although in this world, luxuries are not what they are today. Luxuries include being able to 'match', having your DNA saved after you die to preserve it until they find a way to bring you back from the dead & being allowed to keep an artifact (usually an heirloom such as a pendent or a watch etc.)
“They are giving us pieces of a real life instead of the whole thing. They have perfected the art of giving us just enought freedom; just enough that when we are ready to snap, a little bone is offered and we roll over, belly up, comfortable and placated like a dog... - Cassia”
Cassia has it all ready waiting for her. She's bright and does well in her after school job. She is a talented 'sorter' which is a good sign she will have a good career in the future.
And her match is perfect! What could be better than being matched to your very best friend? Well, being matched to someone else entirely different, it seems. Because through-out this book, Cassia is falling beautifully in-love with a world that is against the rules and a boy she could never have.
With every page turn, I re-read over and over again certain sentences and paragraphs because they flowed so perfectly. Cassia is such a beautiful character. Not superficially, but deep within her heart.
The romance that unfolds is painful and desperate but completely breath-taking. It isn't the sort that is shoved down your throat. Instead it is steady & graceful and progresses in such a wonderful way you can't help but feel your own heart being ripped out at certain points of the story.
I think it is obvious why I gave this book all 5 stars. I'd give it more but then i'd have to change my rating's graphics ;]
Go and read this book now! I'm about to start 'Crossed' the second instalment of Condie's trilogy and will be back to report on that as soon as possible.
Hardcover, 366 pages
Published November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile