Author: Ally Condie
Published: November, 2010
Length: 400 pages
In Ally Condie’s first novel Matched, we meet Cassia who has always felt her society’s way of life was ideal. Everyone knows their place in the world, and most all citizens marry, have a family and life a comfortable and long life. War, diseases, politics and other major sources of stress are things of the past. Cassia feels safe and secure in her world, knowing that things could be much harder than they are. She feels fortunate to live in a world where she knows her place.
On the night of her seventeenth birthday, Cassia attends her Match banquet. This event not only signifies that Cassia is growing up, but that soon she will meet the boy who without a doubt will be her perfect match in life. Her match banquet may not have been what she expected, but by the end of the night she feels even more confident in her society’s ability to appropriately match potential spouses.
Everything in Cassia’s life should feel perfect. She is one of the best at her job, she does well in school and follows the rules. She has a good group of friends and her match couldn’t be better if she’d picked it herself. One morning, while following in typical traditions, Cassia learns about things she should have never known. When she later sees something she knows must be a mistake, her confusion and fear grows, knowing that the Society doesn’t make mistakes.
Cassia attempts to rationalize the suspected error in her mind, she knows there must be some reasonable explanation for what she has learned. When a high ranking Offical meets with Cassia privately, she feels temporarily relieved, both in knowing her society would remedy the suspected error, and in knowing she could share her secret with someone she could trust. Soon after, Cassia begins to question how right the official was. Cassia feels as if her eyes have been opened to things she’d never seen before. She begins to notice patterns and people she’s never given much thought to before.
As much as Cassia wants to believe her leaders are right, to take refuge in their rules and regulations, there are too many unanswered questions. Unable to ignore what she has learned about her world and those who control it, Cassia knows she has to act on what she’s discovered. She can no longer play along with what is expected of her, yet she must be careful not to draw too much attention to herself, she has to keep those she loves safe.
Matched shows us that while we may think that having the right data, planning, and experience can give us an indestructible security, there are few things in life that are guaranteed. You have to learn to trust your instincts. You have to be true to yourself to ever have a real sense of security. Happiness is born out of begin true to ourselves, not through following what others have told us is right.
The Matched trilogy continues with Crossed and Reached. Ally Condie’s latest novel, Atlantia was released on October 28th, 2014.