I borrowed a copy of this book from my mom.
Concerning Character: At first, Cassia is a character who lives life very much on the surface—just like every other good citizen, she doesn't question anything the Society tells her is right. As such, it was a bit of a challenge to identify with her enough to lose myself in the story, at least in the beginning. However, the author imbues her with relatable feelings of excitement, of attraction, of caring for her family and friends, and that gives the reader something to hold onto. As the book progresses, of course, Cassia begins to question what she's always been told, and her character deepens in a very satisfying way. Though we don't get to know her family very deeply, they are important foils for Cassia's character development, and the two love interests, Xander and Ky, are both appealing enough to give the Peeta-vs.-Gale conundrum a run for its money.
Recommended for Fans Of...: Dystopian fiction about breaking out of an all-seeing, all-controlling system, like Birthmarked by Caragh O'Brien, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, the Shadow Children series by Margaret Peterson Haddix, and 1984 by George Orwell.
Themes & Things: Besides the obvious dystopian-connected themes like learning to think for oneself in a society that is constantly telling you what to think, what to eat, how to live, who to marry, and when to die, this book is also a romance that highlights the differences between family love, friendly love and romantic love.
Authorial Asides: This is the first book I've read by Ally Condie, and I was very glad to see that the sequel will be out this November. Besides the MATCHED trilogy, she's written a handful of books for an LDS imprint (including the Yearbook trilogy). Check out the FAQ on her website for the story behind the story, or the author Q&A on the book's Amazon page.
You can find Matched at an independent bookstore near you!