Matched takes place in the fictional town of Mapletree Borough. To be a resident, one must accept that every minute of every day is planned in advance. School, work, and recreational activities are all that the citizens know. Their lives are devoid of color, taste, creative outlets and most importantly the freedom to make choices. Even death is something that must be planned in advance and scheduled. Cassia, like many of the other residents, is just another cog in a well oiled machine. She is at an age where important decisions need to be made, such as what occupation she should be placed in and who she should be matched with. Cassia never could have imagined that she would be given two matches, or that one of her matches, Ky, would be an aberration who is forbidden to marry and should never have been entered into the sorting. How his name ended up in the data pool is just one of the many mysteries that arise throughout this compelling tale.
What drives this story is the evolution of Cassia’s character and her constant internal struggle between doing what Society expects of her and living a life free from oppression. After the death of her grandfather—the one person in Cassia’s life who encouraged her to be more than just another drone—the readers begin to see a gradual change in her behavior. She is no longer content to just simply follow the rules. She wants to create, experience love and speak the words that rage deep within her. Cassia does not outright make a stand, but rather she rebels against the system discreetly. Hiding precious artifacts, learning to write, or sharing an intimate moment with a boy she is forbidden to love are just some of the ways in which she asserts some semblance of control over a life that up until now was never entirely her own.
I was very pleased with how this novel turned out. There were many twists in the story that I was not expecting, as well as some shocking revelations that should have readers anxious to get their hands on the next book in the series. The romance between Cassia and Ky may have started out sweet and innocent, but over time the love and trust that develops between them becomes something worth breaking all of the rules for. This is not simply a story about a girl who is torn between the man she should love and the man that she is forbidden to love. Rather, it is a story about making choices and having to deal with the consequences of those choices.
Rating: 4/5 Stars