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Book Review: Young Adult Novel `Matched'

CAROLYN LESSARD   12/20/10 04:04 PM ET   AP

Matched

"Matched" (Dutton/Penguin, $17.99), by Ally Condie: Imagine a futuristic world where your perfect mate is selected by the government when you're 17, according to DNA compatibility.

At a special matching ceremony, Cassia Reyes learns she is to be paired with her childhood friend Xander Carrow. She is given a microcard with data about Xander, but a technical malfunction shows her matched with another boy – Ky Markham.

Ky is from the unruly outer provinces. He was adopted by his uncle after his parents were killed. Ky has been classified as an "aberration," a person who is not meant to be matched. Cassia questions her match to Xander, and her blossoming relationship with Ky soon jeopardizes her future – and his.

Citizens are monitored by "Officials" who report infractions to a ruling government known as the "Society." There are strict rules and restrictions in place that maintain harmony in both life and death (citizens are euthanized when they turn 80).

There is a curfew. All residents must wear regulation clothing. Citizens are assigned to jobs that best match their skill set. Food is prepared and delivered daily to each person according to specific nutritional needs.

The Society has limited works of art and literature to 100 preapproved poems, songs and paintings. All other works, especially those that promote free thinking and rebellion, have been destroyed.

"Matched" offers a dose of teen angst and a love triangle. The plot is typical, yet mild compared with other popular young adult novels.

Author Ally Condie slowly sets the stage for her young adult series about a dystopian society where, in exchange for a long, disease-free and peaceful life, citizens follow rigid guidelines that keep them in a state of ignorance. Unfortunately, Condie also keeps the reader in this state as well, withholding significant details until the story's end.

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Online:

http://www.allysoncondie.com/

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Filed by Sammy Perlmutter  |