By Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
The first of the Penguin Five, Matched by Ally Condie is a definite hit. This is a clever dystopic novel where the “Society” matches it’s members with their mates at 17, determines when people die (80), chooses people’s food, limits art, history, poetry & songs to a selected 100 (the others were destroyed), and controls the population with the very real threat of marking rebels with the term Aberration and denying them basic human rights. Reading this novel brought to mind Aldous Huxley’s Brave New World and Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The quietly functioning Society, which at first glance seems like a well-ordered Utopia, slowly unravels as Cassia; its narrator discovers and peels away its web-like layers. It’s easy as a reader to become lost within the toxic manipulations of the Society’s Officials, individuals who dress in blinding white and slink themselves into situations much like the serpent with Eve. I loved the emotions I felt while following Cassia on her journey, elation, fear, love, rebellion, hope, decimation, and alone. For Condie to bring her readers to the edge repeatedly, using these emotions as a guidepost is a truly notable fete for a young adult author. High marks for this wonderfully written, truly dystopic novel.
Stay tuned for a review of the next member of The Penguin Five: The Replacement.