Imagine living in a world where you have no decision over what you eat, what your profession is, or who you love. Cassie, a 16-year-old girl, has to live in a place as restrictive as what is said above. She is forced to meet a certain amount of exercise hours, and when she turns sixteen, the officials pick her mate. The society succeeds to perfection, meaning they never make mistakes, except for when Cassie is paired up with her lifelong friend, Xander. After she hears the big news, she watches the video of Xander introducing himself, but as his face fades away, she sees another face flash before the screen. Cassie knows this face. He's a guy named Ky Markham. Will Cassie follow the society's decision of being with Xander or will she pick her own fate and find true love?
After reading Matched by Allie Condie, the ultimate thematic concept is fate. The main character, Cassie is torn between the life she has ever known and what she personally wants. All her life she has waited for her moment, at the Match Banquet, to be given her mate, whom she would love and spend the rest of her life with. But when an error occurs and another boy is shown, who is not her mate, she begins to wonder if this was destiny or if it was simply an error in the system. “I smile as Xander's face appears on the portscreen...I reach up to touch the words Courtship Guidelines on the screen but before I do Xander’s face darkens and then disappears...My heart stops, and I can't believe what I see. A face comes back into view on the port in front of me. It is not Xander”(Condie 35). Cassia is astonished when she realizes the perfect officials had made a mistake during the process, because it rarely ever happens. This leaves Cassia relieved, but also curious about the face that flashed for an instant. She knew Ky, but they never really were too close. When she is paired up with Ky in a hiking camp, she starts to talk with him. Cassia and Ky start to develop a secret relationship, even though they both know they are at risk if anybody finds out. Cassia has to choose between Xander, her lifelong best friend and her original match, or Ky, her true love. Will she choose the life the officials make, or fate? Will she follow her heart? Ky or Xander?
Matched has a very significant book cover, because it symbolizes Cassia’s shell of her being protected by the society. Cassia has been sheltered from everything the world has to offer. The society has overlooked and made every decision in her life, that she has no room to experiment things herself. The title is also significant because it shows the reader that the plot evolves mostly around her being matched with a boy.
As I was reading Matched I also felt love was another thematic concept. At the beginning of the story, Cassia is chosen to love Xander, her best friend. “He is handsome. I'd never dared think the he might be my match, of course, but now that it has happened I am interested”(Condie 34). Cassia never felt this way towards Xander; they only had a friendly relationship, but she knew it would take some time getting used to. I found that Cassia’s love for Xander was equivalent to a brother loving his sister. Their relationship was based off of friendship, and when the night when Cassie saw Ky’s face flash, she knew something would change. Cassia’s love for Ky was affectionate and different to her relationship with Xander. “When I put the last rock on top of the pile, Ky puts his hand over mine. I do not pull it away”(Condie 240). Ky and Cassia found each other, instead of the society forcing their relationship. Ky and Cassia’s love for one another was different than any other citizen in the society, because it was real and was a relationship based off of a burning passion equivalent to sacrificing their own lives for one another. This love never existed in the society. Therefore knowing the difference between friendly love and true love, was very important to Cassia.
Fate and love come together, in the text, to influence one another. The love Cassia is feeling for Ky is her destiny, because it is what she wants. All her life, the society has chosen when she dies, what her job is, and who she is to love, but when she meets Ky everything changes. Her feelings for Ky creates a rebellious personality, and takes over her common sense. Cassia’s parents have always taught her to follow what the society says, because they know best, but her love for Ky takes over and her fate is questioned.
I'm a huge fan of Matched and how Ally Condie did a great job of comparing and contrasting fate and destiny. She brought a “dystopian society” book to life by creating a character, who was brave enough to look beyond what the officials were ordering. The author created suspenseful moments, which kept the reader yearning for more. For example, Cassia is talking to Ky about if he got chosen to be selected for a match and she asked “‘But if you were Matched,’ I say softly, ‘what do you think she'd be like?’ ‘You,’ he says”(Condie 241). Situations like these keep the readers engaged. I know I've found a good book, when I keep on reading and am on the edge of my seat. Allie Condie also ends many chapters with rhetorical questions to help the reader stay engaged and to help you think in an infinite amount of ways. “Is falling in love with someone's story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?”(Condie 196). Questions like these are asked by Cassia herself to internalize the love she's gaining for Ky. Matched, being a dystopian type of book, gave me an opportunity to read a different genre and experiment if this is what keeps me entertained. I would give this book four stars, because it was very entertaining and different than what I'm used to reading, but was also a little repetitive at times. The plot consisted of Cassia going to the Match Banquet, but after that, every day went by as the same, her meeting up with Ky at then going to hiking camp or meeting with friends. A change in plot could've added more interest at certain points during the book. Besides having a repetitive plot, the book kept me reading and engaged. This book made me question what would you do if you were torn between choosing two guys? What would happen to you if you went against the society where you had lived your entire life? Is it worth it just to be in love?