I’ll admit that there are times when I have thought that it would be nice to let someone else make my decisions for me.

Book: “Matched” by Ally Condie
Young Adult Novel – Teen Creek Book Club

I’ll admit that there are times when I have thought that it would be nice to let someone else make my decisions for me.

If somebody else would just pick out my clothes, cook all my meals and tell me what I should do tonight, I could just sit back and enjoy the results. No thinking or worrying… just doing.

I imagine it would be fun for awhile, letting someone else take responsibility for me. Having known what it’s like to make my own choices though, I think at some point I would like to have my power of decision returned to me.

But what if you had never had the choice in the first place? What if, your whole life, society controlled the way you dress, what you eat, what kind of job you get, who you marry, and even when you die?

This is what life is like in the society in “Matched” by Ally Condie.

Meet Cassia Maria Reyes, a 17-year-old girl about to embark on one of the most important milestones of her life – she is about to be “matched” with the person she will love (as she is told) for the rest of her life.

This will begin a courtship that will eventually lead to the marriage “contract” – until a glitch in the system confuses Cassia and makes her begin to question everything around her.

It’s like a small crack in a glass that’s ignorable at first, but it continues to grow until Cassia can no longer disregard what is really happening. She is no longer content to be told how to live, no matter how many empty promises are made by the Officials in charge.

“Matched” presents a humble perspective on the modern “dystopia.” Everything seems to be perfect so that everyone can enjoy a higher quality of life through the duration of their existence – according to Society. The people in this society are given exactly what they need when they need it to survive.

Many are also rewarded with social activities and free time. However, they are all denied many of the everyday choices and freedoms with which we are all accustomed.

There is a moment where Cassia realizes that people are given just enough choice to make them complacent with the choices that are taken away. She is a wonderfully developed character who becomes more and more aware throughout the book.

The story begins quickly and throws you into the trenches of Cassia’s dilemma. I found it hard to put the book down throughout the first half, and I devoured the details of how the Society works.

I was fascinated by the decisions of the Society to put limits on things like songs, films, and poetry. There are only 100 of each of these available; everything else has been destroyed because of lack of value.

The second half of the book slows in pace, and I found myself wondering where it could go next. I couldn’t see an acceptable resolution coming. I felt the ending fizzled and then died, and deserved a bigger bang, but I guess that’s being saved for the next book in this trilogy.  

The Teen Creek Book Club meets the last Friday of every month reviewing Young Adult and teen literature. For more information, call 816-701-3489.