Matched, by Ally Condie
From Amazon Best Books of the Month: "For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice."
I really really really enjoyed this book. If you liked The Hunger Games or The Giver, you will like this. It has all the elements of what is trendy in youth fiction right now: love triangles, forbidden romance, and dystopian societies. So there is much in the story that isn't fresh and new. But it's a great read nonetheless. I'm looking forward to the inevitable sequel.
I was prepared to not like Cassia and Ky, largely because I knew she would be choosing "passion" (Ky) over "perfection" (Xander), and I've always had a soft spot for stories where the heroine ends up with her best friend, whom she had never really looked at before. (Hence why I was on Team Jacob with the Twilight saga.) But despite that little bit of predictability (you know, the trends in youth fiction, etc.), I actually really liked them both. There's more to Cassia and Ky's relationship than ridiculous infatuation (sorry, Bella and Edward...can you tell I didn't love Twilight?), and I was actually torn between rooting for them and rooting for poor Xander, who of course will get the raw end of the deal.
But, as Cassia said, what was going on in the Society was bigger than all of them. What is going on in the book is bigger than the love story. As is the case with all the dystopian society stories, CHOICE, or the lack of it, is a major theme. Also, of course, is the question of government, and where that power should stop. Themes like this, when given the chance, offer an interesting opportunity for reflection. And THAT I liked about this book.
Overall, good book, I recommend it and give it 4 stars.