Some people might say, if you’ve read one dystopian novel you’ve read them all. Those people (or even people who only think it) should probably not read the Matched series by Ally Condie. If you are only going to read one, or even two, young adult, dystopian series you should probably read The Giver or maybe Hunger Games. If you, like me, love dystopia and plan on reading a lot of them, then I can suggest you get your hands on these books.
The first book Matched, introduces us to a clean, happy, ordered world where all personal decisions are made by the formulas and sorting of the Society and everyone is assigned their ideal mate at age 17. We learn about this world, through the eyes of Cassia, who has always believed the Society made the right choices for her. The night of her Matching ceremony, she see’s her best friend Xander’s face on the screen, but for a second she see’s another boy, Ky, flash across the screen. She’s told it is a mistake, but she has to figure out (1) who she wants to be with and (2) if she still trusts the society. The novel continues with the basic tropes of the teenage love triangle and dystopia.
With each book in the series a new voice and new perspective is added into the mix. The second book Crossed, switches between Cassia and Ky’s narration. The third book “Reach” also contains narration from Xander. It is this, along with the characters growing awareness of the political landscape around them, that makes each book sequentially more interesting. I wish the high level of character development of all three characters were present from the beginning.
In my life right now, I sometimes wish someone else could make all my decisions for me or that there was some perfect algorithm that would let me know who I should spend my life with and what I should spend it doing. But getting those answers, in exchange for no control over what I read, or where I go … I don’t know if I’m just excited HBO’s Girls is back on or if I’ve been spending too many nights alone with my moleskin diary, but it seems like it could be a metaphor for emerging adulthood. Sorry if this las paragraph is too tangential.