Ok, I confess. I don’t like romance novels. I don’t like girlie books where the girls worry about silly choices between boys or clothes or whatever. Vapid, empty and promoting the ignorance and/or sexuality of girls is not my genre and I was afraid this book was going to be that. It has some romance and mooning over boys and ooey gooey love but there is an underlying theme of the importance of strength, curiosity and choices.
Matched is set in the future in a society that has removed all major choices from the people so they can live happy, uncomplicated lives. A girl, Cassia, comes of age in this society and we meet her on the eve of the ceremony of her match. Surprise ripples through the crowd at the announcement of her match, as it is abnormal because her match is someone she knows and usually it is someone from another area all together. However, when she gets home and looks on her computer to see what information the Officials give her about her good friend and match, Xander, a different face pops up on the screen, Ky. She questioned, was Ky meant to be her match? Mistakes don’t happen and Cassia’s brain and heart are thrown into confusion. In addition, her grandfather reaches the end of his life and subtly encourages her “do not go gentle into that good night” and eventually she ends up realizing the importance of choice and the highs and lows you can’t experience if your choices are removed. It reminded me a lot of The Giver, as it is a person who is successful in this artificial society, but as they learn more, they both struggled with the constraints the society has placed on people for their own good. It’s an interesting idea and, despite my apprehension about romance, I did enjoy the book for the most part. Ages 11-14