matchedMatched by Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarblank_starblank_star
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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.

It was kinda really super obvious that Cassia and Xander were going to be Matched. I was expecting that, and I was okay with that, because I knew it wouldn’t end that way. It got me thinking about Hal from The Notebook. Whatever happened to that guy? I knew not to invest myself in Xander because of the cliches of YA fiction. That’s not even an insult. So Xander-as-Hal sort of happens, but I’m getting ahead of myself. (But really, you had to know Xander wasn’t going to make it further than that ceremony.)

One night, Cassia decides to look at the chip holding Xander’s data. For a moment, another face flickers on the screen. It’s Ky Markham, who is the ostensible bad boy in the book (without actually being a bad boy).

Okay, it’s tangent time. I’m a picky shipper usually. I know Lauren has admitting to reading fan fic, so I will too. I tend to ship those who really want to be together. Edward and Bella. Rose Tyler and the Tenth Doctor. Peter Bishop and Olivia Dunham. Lena Duchannes and Ethan Wate. I like reading about people working their way toward each other, even if those people are working within problematic narratives. I almost never ship outside of canon, and to relieve this stuffiness of fandom character, I also like dark ships. Not abusive or anything, but people who have been through things together that no other person will ever be able to understand. And if they try to have relationships with other people, it doesn’t work. These ships fight and they claw and they resist, but they’re meant for each other, due solely to their life circumstances. Examples of this? Logan and Veronica on Veronica Mars, Katniss and Peeta in The Hunger Games, Rose Tyler and Ten’s clone on Doctor Who, Deuce and Fade from Enclave. Tris and Four from Divergent (squeeeeeeeeee!).

I sort of see Cassia and Ky in the first category. They aren’t really trying to overcome insurmountable odds (I don’t think the story has really shown us dystopia quite yet) even with whoever it was dragging Ky’s family away at the end. I like to know why my dystopia is a dystopia right from the beginning (hello, THG), but I didn’t mind this so much.

Okay, enough about my shipping habits. Next: Cassia’s job. I had no idea what her job was, what sorting was, unless she was doing it to people. What patterns is she sorting? What are they patterns of? Numbers? Numbers for what? What are their relevance? I imagined a Eureka-esque touch-screen laptop with Zoe Carter as Cassia.

Anyway, Ky and Cassia start falling in love via some summer hiking program, even though Ky is an Aberration. He knows how to write with a pen, something most people no longer know how to do. He teaches Cassia and eventually she learns to write “I love you.” That was a good scene.

I’ll be honest with you though, I’m sitting here now, somewhat unable to bring back any memory of the plot. All I remember is “Cassia and Ky fall in love, the end.” So it’s strong on romance, less on plot and dystopian details. This book was all about the ship to me, and I paid no attention to the tenuous bits of plot. Will I be reading Crossed? Probably not, but I wouldn’t count it out.