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Just Another YA Dystopian Novel?

Matched by Ally Condie

Dystopian novels are popular in the YA genre -- and some of my favorites fall into this category.  Delirium, which I read last year, was my favorite book of the year, and probably ranks pretty high in my list of all-time favorites, too.  The Giver, of course, is a memorable classic of this genre.  Others come to mind: The House of the Scorpion, for instance, and the more recent Hunger Games.

Matched falls into this category, and is in fact much like Delirium.  There are some significant differences, though.<--break->

Like most dystopian novels, the world Cassia lives in restricts individuals' choices -- the government chooses your job, where you live, whom you marry.  But unlike Delirium, where the focus was on eliminating emotions, especially love, and unlike The Hunger Games, where bloody gladiator-style battles were used to control the less fortunate, the dystopian society in Matched uses statistics and logic to make the optimal choices for everyone, even to predict what color of dress a 17-year-old girl might choose to wear to the biggest event of her life.

Like all of these novels, the seemingly-perfect world Cassia lives in shows its flaws as you (and she) learn more about it.  And like all of these novels, it turns out that not all of the people are content with the supposed perfection, after all.  But unlike these novels, there is a new, creepy element to the government: In addition to controlling the people, supposedly in their best interests, they are also conducting experiments on them, deliberately toying with their lives to see if they respond the way the statistics indicate they most likely will.

Like any good dystopian novel, Matched focuses on the ability to make choices for oneself, even if those choices aren't necessarily in your best interests.  I'm looking forward to reading the next book in the trilogy, and seeing where Cassia's choices take her!