Matched

Paperback | September 20, 2011

byAlly Condie

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"The hottest YA title to hit bookstores since The Hunger Games."--Entertainment Weekly

A New York Times bestseller

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

Look for the sequel, CROSSED, and the epic series finale, REACHED!

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From the Publisher

"The hottest YA title to hit bookstores since The Hunger Games."--Entertainment WeeklyA New York Times bestsellerCassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . ....

Ally Condie is a former high school English teacher who lives with her husband and three sons outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, running, eating, and listening to her husband play guitar.

other books by Ally Condie

Matched Trilogy Box Set
Matched Trilogy Box Set

Hardcover|Nov 13 2012

$47.31 online$67.50list price(save 29%)
Crossed
Crossed

Paperback|Mar 12 2013

$9.69 online$10.99list price(save 11%)
Reached
Reached

Paperback|Nov 19 2013

$10.80 online$10.99list price
see all books by Ally Condie
Format:PaperbackDimensions:416 pages, 8.25 × 5.44 × 1.03 inPublished:September 20, 2011Publisher:Penguin Young Readers GroupLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:014241977X

ISBN - 13:9780142419779

Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Matched OMG great book and such a page turner tis book is a "realistic" version of what the future could end up being like. I couldn't stop reading
Date published: 2015-10-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good but not fantastic This book was s little slow, definitely in the beginning. However I enjoyed the concept of the society they live in. Cassia is one of the few main female characters that doesn't annoy me to death. I thought that the end was slightly disappointing but I will still read the second book.
Date published: 2015-10-18
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Great idea, but flat characters In a world where everything is controlled for you by the sorting of numbers. From who you’ll marry, the job you’ll have, they even promise you a fulfilling life all the way up to age eighty, where you pass away peacefully never feeling useless or unwanted. Your life is controlled by three tablets: green, blue and red. No one knows what the red tablet does, people believe it is a death tablet, but the Society fends off those rumors. The blue tablet is given at age 10; it is filled with enough nutrients to keep you alive for several days. The green tablet is given at age 13; it will make you calm, but you can only use it once a week. The red tablet is given at age 16, and is only to be used when instructed. Where the world is finally at a state of content, the Society seems perfect on the outside. But inside at Mapletree Borough, one girl finds the flaw that runs deep into the bones of the way of life. Cassia follows the rules. She always had, and thought she always would. Her family consists of her mother, father and little brother Bram, who have lived in Mapletree Borough all their life. Everything was peaceful, or so they thought. The day of the Match Banquet was a series of preparation for the girls of Mapletree. As at age seventeen the girls will find out which boy they have been destined to marry, and a chance to show off their beauty by wearing colorful dresses, instead of their regular brown, black or gray clothes. Cassia was especially excited as this was the day she’s been dreaming of, showing up as the only girl in a bright green dress. Her match, well it was an unusual one as she was matched with her best friend since childhood Xander. It seems like a fairy tale as both families were excited, Cassia’s peers were jealous as Xander was a good cached, and with their memories of playing in the sandbox together, they were a perfect match.Cassia was happy, at least until she put her card in to find out all about Xander’s life and saw a face that wasn’t Xander’s staring back at her, instead it was a different boy, one she knew, but never got to know well. His name was Ky. Ky Markham was Cassia’s second matched. This has to be a mistake as you cannot be with two people, yet the Society doesn’t make mistakes. It hurt Cassia even more as she knew Ky, they went to school together, and have hung out a few times. Where Cassia was perfectly happy to be with Xander, she couldn’t help wonder why she and Ky were matched up, even if it was a mistake. For her summer activity she picked hiking, and was shocked when Ky was there too, and the Offical had paired them up. For many trips with Ky up The Hill, Cassia starts to learn about his story, about the story of the Society, and how even though they told her to be with Xander, she wanted to be with Xander, she couldn’t help but fall in love with Ky. With a love triangle forming it is up to the Society to cut this tree down, before it can start causing real trouble. Ally Condie had a good story line going, yet the characters fell flat. The Society (similar to the one in The Giver) had a good backbone, with a little mention of how our society fell; they had rules, normal and weird (no running outside of the track), and a general order to keep the people controlled. Yet I felt nothing for Cassia. Maybe it was the fact that the story was a love triangle, but the love Cassia has supposedly fallen for Ky and Xander never felt strong, let alone reality. It was a good start, but to keep this story going there needs to be a strong character development event coming. Check out more of my book reviews at TeenageReads.com
Date published: 2015-10-08
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Book I thought this was a really well written book, with great details. I loved every minute of reading it. Looking forward to the next one.
Date published: 2015-08-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from AMAZING! one of the best post apocalyptic books I have read!!! would definitely recommend for other teenagers.
Date published: 2015-07-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from As Good As it Gets I'll tell you right now, this is the best book of the series, and that's not saying much. Firstly, our heroin is so lacking depth it's like a 16 year old girl wrote her...and frankly, a 16 year old girl that can't write that well. I could never click with her, and at times she was just plain nausiating. "I really love Ky. Ky is my dreamboat. Wait! But what about whatshisname? He's my Match!" Barf. Honestly, it goes on and on and ON and ON AND ON like this for 3/4 of the book. Like she can't decide but we never really figure out why. It's a love triangle with no tension. Which is pretty much the entire book. Lacking completely of tension beyond her own silly school-girl thoughts and dreams. Gag.
Date published: 2015-05-24
Rated 3 out of 5 by from This is As Good As it Gets I'll tell you right now, this is the best book of the series, and that's not saying much. Firstly, our heroin is so lacking depth it's like a 16 year old girl wrote her...and frankly, a 16 year old girl that can't write that well. I could never click with her, and at times she was just plain nausiating. "I really love Ky. Ky is my dreamboat. Wait! But what about whatshisname? He's my Match!" Barf. Honestly, it goes on and on and ON and ON AND ON like this for 3/4 of the book. Like she can't decide but we never really figure out why. It's a love triangle with no tension. Which is pretty much the entire book. Lacking completely of tension beyond her own silly school-girl thoughts and dreams. Gag.
Date published: 2015-05-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great book! A perfect mesh of dystopian society and romance, while still taking the world's details seriously. Can't wait to read the rest!
Date published: 2015-03-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Society's Future A fresh take on the future that is reminiscent of breeding fine racehorses. Only human. Chilling to see the pressures of the main character as she navigates through what she knows and what she has come to discover.
Date published: 2015-02-03
Rated 3 out of 5 by from I enjoyed this story to a point. A Dystopian plotline that follows the life of Cassia Reyes, a sorter who has reached the age where she will be matched with her mate. The book opens with Cassia being matched with her best friend, Xander. But as she opens the file that outlines her match's attributes a different face flashes onto the screen: Ky Markham. As Cassia tries to make sense of what happened an official tells her that Ky's face showing up was an error. And furthermore, she reveals that Ky can never be matched because he is an Aberration. The rest of the book revolves around Cassia's growing discontentment with her society's rules and regulations (of which there are many). As more and more corruption in the system is revealed, Cassia also finds herself having to choose between her best friend, Xander, and Ky, the boy she is developing strong feelings for. I enjoyed this story to a point. I really liked the character development and how Cassia grew from an obedient citizen to a rebel as the story progressed. I didn't enjoy the love triangle theme of the book - as this was a significant theme in the novel. I find love triangles that dominate the main female character's motives tend to weaken the story's plotline for me as a reader. I would rather see the character develop on her own without romantic conflict.
Date published: 2015-01-06
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Matched Very intreging and had a good story line. Filled romance, choices and mystery. Will leave you begging for more.
Date published: 2014-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Matched It took a while for the book to hook me, but when it did I fell hard. This series is my new literary addiction :)
Date published: 2014-11-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Brain candy Good for a quick read, but not interesting enough to read the rest of the series.
Date published: 2014-08-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Matched was amazing Loved every minute I read this book, hard to put down.. I can't wait to start crossed now.. All I keep thinking about is Ky and Cassia and Xander and the stupid society, it's just fantastic! I hope they turn into movies
Date published: 2014-07-26
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Too bad Not very happy with it. It seems good at first but then just gets very predicable and boring. I didn't even read the last couple chapters because it didn't hold my attention. Waste of time.
Date published: 2014-06-29
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not great this book is kind of boring because I thought that i would be more like the series ulglies and im kind of disappointed in it. But I do like the whole theme of them trying to be together
Date published: 2014-05-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not great this book is kind of boring because I thought that i would be more like the series ulglies and im kind of disappointed in it. But I do like the whole theme of them trying to be together
Date published: 2014-05-23
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Exactly what I expected This book is a fun, light read. It keeps your interest, even though it's very predictable. I look forward to reading the next book in the triology, though I'm not sure I would recommend this book to others.
Date published: 2014-05-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Matched Slow at first but by the end I couldn't put it down
Date published: 2014-02-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVIN IT!!! Honestly why wouldn't I?:-)
Date published: 2014-02-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVIN IT!!! I thoroughly enjoyed this book. These futuristic book are absolutely fantastic! It's a pretty easy read but very well written. I don't want to give anything away but if you like trilogies like The Hunger games or Divergent this is a good one to read.
Date published: 2014-01-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from LOVIN IT!!! I couldn't put it down. Condie has created a Society so rich that you just get lost in it.
Date published: 2014-01-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from So good Just started and it is so good
Date published: 2014-01-16
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Great Idea, Horrible Story The story had an amazing plot and idea to it but, it was HORRIBLY written! In my option, the summary was much more interesting than any part of the actually story. Matched was excruciatingly boring and is my least favorite book I have ever read in my whole life. In fact, it was so tedious that, and I kid you not, I literally chucked at the wall!
Date published: 2013-12-12
Rated 2 out of 5 by from The whole idea was amazing but... From Chapter 15 more or less it became boring, especially when Cassia started to questioned the Society and with keeping some "illegal" poems. Maybe later I will read the other books but for some reason, I wanted that Cassia didn't focused so much on the decision between Xander and Ky.
Date published: 2013-11-28
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Matched Good read slow at times I will defiantly read the other two
Date published: 2013-11-18
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Dull The summary makes the book sound action-packed and exciting with a twist of romance. However, it is not. I started reading the book and kept waiting for something exciting to happen that would make me not want to put the book down. It never did. It was such a drag to finish the book, and when I did, I regretted buying and reading it because it was not worth it at all. However I did like the idea of the story, I just did not like how it was written.
Date published: 2013-11-08
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Boring and Misleading When I read the summary it looked amazing, so I started reading it. After the first few pages it just started rolling down hill. It is not nearly as good as the summary leads you to believe.
Date published: 2013-07-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A more intellectual dystopia This was an interesting counterpoint to the usual dystopia tales I've been reading in the Teen section lately. For one, the story itself is far more intellectual and less action-based - the heroine is faced with a lot of decision-based struggles, ethical quandaries, and the harsh reality that she is not living in a world that she thought she loved. The Society has come to a point where choice has mostly been removed, and as a result, people live to eighty (but no longer, having a 'final banquet' and passing thereafter), they are 'matched' with someone who is good for them mentally, emotionally, and genetically. Your job is decided upon your aptitude. Food is delivered perfectly tailored to your needs. Life is as it is predicted to be, and The Society is very good at prediction. So when the heroine is matched with a childhood friend, she is delighted. Until she reviews her portable record of the match, and sees a different face. A face she knows. And she begins to realize that everything about her perfect Society might not be right after all...
Date published: 2013-01-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A little Boring, could use some inprovement I found Matched a little boring. I liked the idea and the characters, but the events and plot could use some inprovement to make it less boring. I liked the way the author presented each character but she could tell you more about the character throughout the book. The plot was boring and could use something to spice it up.
Date published: 2012-12-14
Rated 2 out of 5 by from I wish it was more exciting. The idea of being Matched seems really cool to me… Uhh… anyway, Cassia and Xander, who are best friends, go out to the Match Banquet on the same day. Unexpectedly [and probably expectedly for the readers], they’re Matched with each other. Yay! They’re both happy. Best friends becoming a couple. If they weren’t together, it probably would’ve made for a very different story, as in one involving jealousy and etc. but I’m straying away from this book haha. This story seemed really interesting the beginning. Cool futuristic ceremony which sets the background for the book and what happens when people get Matched. A seemingly very exciting process. So I enjoyed the first part. However, the story then began to slow down a lot. We would read about Cassia going back and forth between a limited number of places and it starts to become boring to read through. One would think that after being introduced to Ky, the boy whose face flashed in front of Cassia for an extremely quick moment, something more interesting would occur right? … Not really. Instead, all we get is Cassia doubting her Match every few pages and obsessing over him. “Is it Xander? So then why did Ky show up? … I’m going to forget about Ky because Xander is definitely my Match… oh, I wonder what Ky is doing…” Every time I wanted to pick up and finish it, I would stop after a chapter or less. I can’t connect with Cassia and how she’s feeling about the “mistake”. Maybe it’s just me .__. Or maybe because she can’t make up her mind about how to deal with everything. If you’re going to say you’re going to forget about someone, just do it! Otherwise, save your breath because I don’t think people enjoy going through such finicky and repetitive decisions. I guess it's okay for anyone interested in reading. If you want to read about a fictional future, there are better choices.
Date published: 2012-09-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good enough to make me check for next release It's a little slower than something like the hunger games, but more relatable. The characters don't disappoint as the series continues.
Date published: 2012-08-20
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Entertaining This book is recommended for readers who enjoyed "The Hunger Games" or "The Divergent". The similarity of the novel is the controlled society. I enjoyed the book but didn't love it. I liked the characters and their personalities. The book is an easy read and for the most part a fast read. The book interested me enough to read the sequal "Crossed" I am almost finished reading it.
Date published: 2012-07-10
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One Of My Favourites!!!!!!!!!!!! AMAZING!!!!!!!!! Matched was an amazing book!!!!!!!! If you liked The Hunger Games or Divergent, this book is totally for you!!!! When I got it, I wasn't so sure, but trust me everyone will love it!!!!!
Date published: 2012-07-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Loved it! I really enjoyed this book. Sure, the concept isn't the most original in the world with the government controlling everything from marriages to death to what they eat, and there is a love triangle like so many other YA novels these days, but little things like that don't matter to me. It's about the story and the characters, and this book had plenty of both to keep me turning the pages. Cassia isn't rebelling just to rebel, she's not ignoring that there will be consequences to both her and her family, she cares about people's feelings. I found her to be extremely relatable even though our lives couldn't be more different. More than once it felt like her thoughts were my own and she was doing what I hoped I'd be brave enough to do if I was in her situation.
Date published: 2012-03-15
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Quick Enjoyable Read I was drawn to this book by the gorgeous cover. The sheen of the dress and being trapped in a bubble creates a simple image, but because it’s placed in such a sparse background it really makes it pop. I read the synopsis and it was toted as a romance in a dystopian world and since I was still on my dystopian binge reading phase I decided to pick it up. The story really draws you in with the first few chapters that describes the Matching ceremony- which really acts like a rite of passage prom for these Society controlled teenagers. You get the extravagant dress, meal, and your date will be provided courtesy of match makers that will pair you with your perfect - for the purposes of breeding and lifetime pairing - match. That is unless you’re Cassia whose perfect match happens to be at the same Matching ceremony and happens to be her best friend Xander - so their courtship isn’t what would be considered normal from hereon. In the Society everything and everyone is carefully controlled and regulated. Honestly, they don’t eat, sleep or void their bowels, without the Society having a hand in it. They even require everyone to carry this nifty box of pills that are reminiscent of The Matrix’s red and blue pill, with an added green pill, which if you’ve seen The Matrix, you know these can’t be a good sign of what’s to come. The setting is pretty limited, and most of Cassia’s non working time is spent in a theatre or games hall in polite structured interactions with Xander. But it’s the forbidden moments in the forest with love interest number two: Ky, that really picks up the pace of the story. However, this supposed love triangle seemed to be pointed in a very specific direction. The romance is tepid at most, there’s nothing too intense or particularly passionate about it. It’s primarily about Cassia and Ky discovering each other’s interests (since Cassia and Xander know the other so well) which happens to involve a lot of forbidden poetry- so on the bright side it’s not insta-love. Cassia’s character is torn between doing what she’s been taught to do by society, and what she wants to do. She’s rigid in her performance in front of officials, but I really like her when she has a spark of rebellion in her eye. Xander is ultimately the good boy, the boy your parents would be proud to have you Matched to. He’ll care for you and provide for you, he’s polite in every which way but what I really love about him is that he’s fiercely loyal and will do anything to protect Cassia. Ky on the other hand is of course the bad boy, the seducer, the Society lets him live a marginal life, but he has a secret and this secret is what keeps him in line. He’s probably the most intriguing character because he’s shrouded in so much mystery and you keep reading because you want to know his story! The reveals involving Ky toward the end were perfect at bringing some closure to the big questions in the story but then it just fuels the question of, where do they go from here? As the story progresses the cracks in the Society are revealed until at the tip of the ice berg critical decisions are made that causes the Societies Officials to step in, which creates the most heart stopping parts of the story when Cassia’s entire world crumbles. Really for me what was worth the read was all the reveals and what was going on outside of the Society’s control that was far more interesting than the romances that we were supposed to be focusing on. All in all it was a quick read, and had some enjoyable moments if you don’t delve too deeply into thinking about it; there’s certain elements to how the society is run that really irks me for instance the whole they’re allowed to read but not write thing. It’s sequel Crossed is sitting on my to-be read pile, the ending of Matched really left the door wide open so I am curious as to how this will play out.
Date published: 2012-03-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing Story! I read this in a matter of days. Could not put it down. Once I finished I ran out to our local Chapters and bought Crossed. Can't wait for the 3rd book to come out in the fall!
Date published: 2012-03-07
Rated 5 out of 5 by from www.addictedtonovels.blogpsot.com Three words: SO.FREAKING.AMAZING.! I have never read anything like this! At the start of the book it was hard to read after I got into it a bit, just because everyone is controlled by the Society and Officials and nobody really has an actual choice. Life is pretty much the same day to day, not a hair out of place. If it is, there is usually trouble to follow. When Cassia and Xander are Matched at the Match Banquet, I was so 'Team Xander', but by the time I finished the last page of the novel, HELLO, 'Team Ky' here! I love Xander but he's more like the child hood best friend, practically your brother, I think there's more sparks between Cassia and Ky than with Xander. I love how as the novel goes on, Cassia starts to come out of her shell more and more and starts to see things the way they really are. I got so emotionally into this book, especially in certain parts like when her grandpa dies and gives her that poem out of her compact that's not one of the 'hundred poems', or when Ky was being taken away from the neighborhood, omg, so heartbreaking! I HAVE to read Crossed book #2 ASAP! This novel does not disappoint...so go read it! :)
Date published: 2012-01-15
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Perfect Match for Distopian Fans Dystopian romance fans will not be disappointed by "Crossed", the second book in Ally Condie's Matched trilogy. After Ky is sent to a certain death in the Outer Provinces, Cassia embarks on a dangerous journey to find him, but as she uncovers truths about the Society, her quest turns into something bigger. She also learns more about Xander, the boy she is supposed to be matched with, making her less certain about her future with Ky. Although the futuristic society Ally Condie created is reminiscent of the one in Ray Bradbury's "Farenheit 451", it both plausible and contains many original elements. The love triangle is also believable, and it is refreshing that the heroine has other things on her mind than just boy troubles. I give this book four out of five red tablets.
Date published: 2011-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from dystopian society rebellion Matched is about a young girl who has just turned old enough to become matched. She goes to the ceremony and finds out shes been matched with her best friend, xander, despite all odds. However he wasnt the only one she was matched, ky, is another face that pops up. Initially she struggles with forgetting ky and focusing on xander, part way through she begings to fall for ky, however he is completely off limits if she wants to maintainin good graces with the government. but like any novel she goes against the grain of society to make her unforbbiden love work. This book was both interesting to read and fully engrossed you into the story line. you really understand the main character and the secondary characters aswell. i am much anticipating the sequel novel, since this book leaves you with a cliffhanger ending. Overall a very well written and interesting boook. i would highly reccomend it
Date published: 2011-11-01
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good dystopian fiction Summary Cassia is pretty happy with her life. She has a good family, good friends, and she's finally on her way to her matching ceremony where her real future will begin! She's confident that the Society knows what's best. Her parent's long and happy marriage is proof of the success of the matching system, so when the Society gives Cassia her match, she knows that she's been paired with the right person. But when a tiny flaw in system makes Cassia aware of other options, her belief in the Society and everything they stand for slowly starts to crumble. Now Cassia is faced with a difficult decision between the easy life she's always known, or risking everything to follow her heart. Review Matched is set in a well-crafted and intriguing dystopian society, that strips away the pleasures and privileges we have become so accustomed to in today's high-tech, possession-driven world. The three main characters in the story are unique and well developed, though I found the secondary characters lacked depth. The intricate differences between Xander and Ky made for an enjoyable love triangle (and I'm often not fond of the love triangle). There is very little in the way of action in Matched, but the trials and tribulations of the people under the Society's control will keep readers engaged. I'm a relatively new reader to dystopian fiction, but I couldn't help comparing Matched to The Hunger Games as I was reading. And while I thoroughly enjoyed Matched, in this comparison it falls a little short. Verdict If you're able to let go of comparisons and enjoy it for what it is, Matched is a fascinating story and a thoroughly enjoyable read.
Date published: 2011-09-28

Extra Content

Read from the Book

CHAPTER 1 Now that I’ve found the way to fly, which direction should I go into the night? My wings aren’t white or feathered; they’re green, made of green silk, which shudders in the wind and bends when I move—first in a circle, then in a line, finally in a shape of my own invention. The black behind me doesn’t worry me; neither do the stars ahead.I smile at myself, at the foolishness of my imagination. People cannot fly, though before the Society, there were myths about those who could. I saw a painting of them once. White wings, blue sky, gold circles above their heads, eyes turned up in surprise as though they couldn’t believe what the artist had painted them doing, couldn’t believe that their feet didn’t touch the ground.Those stories weren’t true. I know that. But tonight, it’s easy to forget. The air train glides through the starry night so smoothly and my heart pounds so quickly that it feels as though I could soar into the sky at any moment.“What are you smiling about?” Xander wonders as I smooth the folds of my green silk dress down neat.“Everything,” I tell him, and it’s true. I’ve waited so long for this: for my Match Banquet. Where I’ll see, for the first  time, the face of the boy who will be my Match. It will be the first time I hear his name.I can’t wait. As quickly as the air train moves, it still isn’t fast enough. It hushes through the night, its sound a background for the low rain of our parents’ voices, the lightning-quick beats of my heart.Perhaps Xander can hear my heart pounding, too, because he asks, “Are you nervous?” In the seat next to him, Xander’s older brother begins to tell my mother the story of his Match Banquet. It won’t be long now until Xander and I have our own stories to tell.“No,” I say. But Xander’s my best friend. He knows me too well.“You lie,” he teases. “You are nervous.”“Aren’t you?”“Not me. I’m ready.” He says it without hesitation, and I believe him. Xander is the kind of person who is sure about what he wants.“It doesn’t matter if you’re nervous, Cassia,” he says, gentle now. “Almost ninety-three percent of those attending their Match Banquet exhibit some signs of nervousness.”“Did you memorize all of the official Matching material?”“Almost,” Xander says, grinning. He holds his hands out as if to say, What did you expect?The gesture makes me laugh, and besides, I memorized  all of the material, too. It’s easy to do when you read it so many times, when the decision is so important. “So you’re in the minority,” I say. “The seven percent who don’t show any nerves at all.”“Of course,” he agrees.“How could you tell I was nervous?”“Because you keep opening and closing that.” Xander points to the golden object in my hands. “I didn’t know you had an artifact.” A few treasures from the past float around among us. Though citizens of the Society are allowed one artifact each, they are hard to come by. Unless you had ancestors who took care to pass things along through the years.“I didn’t, until a few hours ago,” I tell him. “Grandfather gave it to me for my birthday. It belonged to his mother.”“What’s it called?” Xander asks.“A compact,” I say. I like the name very much. Compact means small. I am small. I also like the way it sounds when you say it: com-pact. Saying the word makes a sound like the one the artifact itself makes when it snaps shut.“What do the initials and numbers mean?”“I’m not sure.” I run my finger across the letters ACM and the numbers 1940 carved across the golden surface. “But look,” I tell him, popping the compact open to show him the inside: a little mirror, made of real glass, and a small hollow where the original owner once stored powder for her face, according to Grandfather. Now, I use it to hold the three  emergency tablets that everyone carries—one green, one blue, one red.“That’s convenient,” Xander says. He stretches out his arms in front of him and I notice that he has an artifact, too—a pair of shiny platinum cuff links. “My father lent me these, but you can’t put anything in them. They’re completely useless.”“They look nice, though.” My gaze travels up to Xander’s face, to his bright blue eyes and blond hair above his dark suit and white shirt. He’s always been handsome, even when we were little, but I’ve never seen him dressed up like this. Boys don’t have as much leeway in choosing clothes as girls do. One suit looks much like another. Still, they get to select the color of their shirts and cravats, and the quality of the material is much finer than the material used for plainclothes. “You look nice.” The girl who finds out that he’s her Match will be thrilled.“Nice?” Xander says, lifting his eyebrows. “That’s all?”“Xander,” his mother says next to him, amusement mingled with reproach in her voice.“You look beautiful,” Xander tells me, and I flush a little even though I’ve known Xander all my life. I feel beautiful, in this dress: ice green, floating, full-skirted. The unaccustomed smoothness of silk against my skin makes me feel lithe and graceful.Next to me, my mother and father each draw a breath as City Hall comes into view, lit up white and blue and sparkling with the special occasion lights that indicate a celebration is  taking place. I can’t see the marble stairs in front of the Hall yet, but I know that they will be polished and shining. All my life I have waited to walk up those clean marble steps and through the doors of the Hall, a building I have seen from a distance but never entered.I want to open the compact and check in the mirror to make sure I look my best. But I don’t want to seem vain, so I sneak a glance at my face in its surface instead.The rounded lid of the compact distorts my features a little, but it’s still me. My green eyes. My coppery-brown hair, which looks more golden in the compact than it does in real life. My straight small nose. My chin with a trace of a dimple like my grandfather’s. All the outward characteristics that make me Cassia Maria Reyes, seventeen years old exactly.I turn the compact over in my hands, looking at how perfectly the two sides fit together. My Match is already coming together just as neatly, beginning with the fact that I am here tonight. Since my birthday falls on the fifteenth, the day the Banquet is held each month, I’d always hoped that I might be Matched on my actual birthday—but I knew it might not happen. You can be called up for your Banquet anytime during the year after you turn seventeen. When the notification came across the port two weeks ago that I would, indeed, be Matched on the day of my birthday, I could almost hear the clean snap of the pieces fitting into place, exactly as I’ve dreamed for so long.Because although I haven’t even had to wait a full day for my Match, in some ways I have waited all my life.“Cassia,” my mother says, smiling at me. I blink and look up, startled. My parents stand up, ready to disembark. Xander stands, too, and straightens his sleeves. I hear him take a deep breath, and I smile to myself. Maybe he is a little nervous after all.“Here we go,” he says to me. His smile is so kind and good; I’m glad we were called up the same month. We’ve shared so much of childhood, it seems we should share the end of it, too.I smile back at him and give him the best greeting we have in the Society. “I wish you optimal results,” I tell Xander.“You too, Cassia,” he says.As we step off the air train and walk toward City Hall, my parents each link an arm through mine. I am surrounded, as I always have been, by their love.It is only the three of us tonight. My brother, Bram, can’t come to the Match Banquet because he is under seventeen, too young to attend. The first one you attend is always your own. I, however, will be able to attend Bram’s banquet because I am the older sibling. I smile to myself, wondering what Bram’s Match will be like. In seven years I will find out.But tonight is my night.It is easy to identify those of us being Matched; not only are we younger than all of the others, but we also float along  in beautiful dresses and tailored suits while our parents and older siblings walk around in plainclothes, a background against which we bloom. The City Officials smile proudly at us, and my heart swells as we enter the Rotunda.In addition to Xander, who waves good-bye to me as he crosses the room to his seating area, I see another girl I know named Lea. She picked the bright red dress. It is a good choice for her, because she is beautiful enough that standing out works in her favor. She looks worried, however, and she keeps twisting her artifact, a jeweled red bracelet. I am a little surprised to see Lea there. I would have picked her for a Single.“Look at this china,” my father says as we find our place at the Banquet tables. “It reminds me of the Wedgwood pieces we found last year . . .”My mother looks at me and rolls her eyes in amusement. Even at the Match Banquet, my father can’t stop himself from noticing these things. My father spends months working in old neighborhoods that are being restored and turned into new Boroughs for public use. He sifts through the relics of a society that is not as far in the past as it seems. Right now, for example, he is working on a particularly interesting Restoration project: an old library. He sorts out the things the Society has marked as valuable from the things that are not.But then I have to laugh because my mother can’t help but comment on the flowers, since they fall in her area of expertise as an Arboretum worker. “Oh, Cassia! Look at the centerpieces. Lilies.” She squeezes my hand.“Please be seated,” an Official tells us from the podium. “Dinner is about to be served.”It’s almost comical how quickly we all take our seats. Because we might admire the china and the flowers, and we might be here for our Matches, but we also can’t wait to taste the food.“They say this dinner is always wasted on the Matchees,” a jovial-looking man sitting across from us says, smiling around our table. “So excited they can’t eat a bite.” And it’s true; one of the girls sitting farther down the table, wearing a pink dress, stares at her plate, touching nothing.I don’t seem to have this problem, however. Though I don’t gorge myself, I can eat some of everything—the roasted vegetables, the savory meat, the crisp greens, and creamy cheese. The warm light bread. The meal seems like a dance, as though this is a ball as well as a banquet. The waiters slide the plates in front of us with graceful hands; the food, wearing herbs and garnishes, is as dressed up as we are. We lift the white napkins, the silver forks, the shining crystal goblets as if in time to music.My father smiles happily as a server sets a piece of chocolate cake with fresh cream before him at the end of the meal. “Wonderful,” he whispers, so softly that only my mother and I can hear him.My mother laughs a little at him, teasing him, and he reaches for her hand.I understand his enthusiasm when I take a bite of the  cake, which is rich but not overwhelming, deep and dark and flavorful. It is the best thing I have eaten since the traditional dinner at Winter Holiday, months ago. I wish Bram could have some cake, and for a minute I think about saving some of mine for him. But there is no way to take it back to him. It wouldn’t fit in my compact. It would be bad form to hide it away in my mother’s purse even if she would agree, and she won’t. My mother doesn’t break the rules.I can’t save it for later. It is now, or never.I have just popped the last bite in my mouth when the announcer says, “We are ready to announce the Matches.”I swallow in surprise, and for a second, I feel an unexpected surge of anger: I didn’t get to savor my last bite of cake.“Lea Abbey.”Lea twists her bracelet furiously as she stands, waiting to see the face flash on the screen. She is careful to hold her hands low, though, so that the boy seeing her in another City Hall somewhere will only see the beautiful blond girl and not her worried hands, twisting and turning that bracelet.It is strange how we hold on to the pieces of the past while we wait for our futures.There is a system, of course, to the Matching. In City Halls across the country, all filled with people, the Matches are announced in alphabetical order according to the girls’ last names. I feel slightly sorry for the boys, who have no idea when their names will be called, when they must stand for  girls in other City Halls to receive them as Matches. Since my last name is Reyes, I will be somewhere at the end of the middle. The beginning of the end.The screen flashes with the face of a boy, blond and handsome. He smiles as he sees Lea’s face on the screen where he is, and she smiles, too. “Joseph Peterson,” the announcer says. “Lea Abbey, you have been matched with Joseph Peterson.”The hostess presiding over the Banquet brings Lea a small silver box; the same thing happens to Joseph Peterson on the screen. When Lea sits down, she looks at the silver box longingly, as though she wishes she could open it right away. I don’t blame her. Inside the box is a microcard with background information about her Match. We all receive them. Later, the boxes will be used to hold the rings for the Marriage Contract.The screen flashes back to the default picture: a boy and a girl, smiling at each other, with glimmering lights and a white-coated Official in the background. Although the Society times the Matching to be as efficient as possible, there are still moments when the screen goes back to this picture, which means that we all wait while something happens somewhere else. It’s so complicated—the Matching—and I am again reminded of the intricate steps of the dances they used to do long ago. This dance, however, is one that the Society alone can choreograph now.The picture shimmers away.The announcer calls another name; another girl stands up.Soon, more and more people at the Banquet have little silver boxes. Some people set them on the white tablecloths in front of them, but most hold the boxes carefully, unwilling to let their futures out of their hands so soon after receiving them.I don’t see any other girls wearing the green dress. I don’t mind. I like the idea that, for one night, I don’t look like everyone else.I wait, holding my compact in one hand and my mother’s hand in the other. Her palm feels sweaty. For the first time, I realize that she and my father are nervous, too.“Cassia Maria Reyes.”It is my turn.I stand up, letting go of my mother’s hand, and turn toward the screen. I feel my heart pounding and I am tempted to twist my hands the way Lea did, but I hold perfectly still with my chin up and my eyes on the screen. I watch and wait, determined that the girl my Match will see on the screen in his City Hall somewhere out there in Society will be poised and calm and lovely, the very best image of Cassia Maria Reyes that I can present.But nothing happens.I stand and look at the screen, and, as the seconds go by, it is all I can do to stay still, all I can do to keep smiling.  Whispers start around me. Out of the corner of my eye, I see my mother move her hand as if to take mine again, but then she pulls it back.A girl in a green dress stands waiting, her heart pounding. Me.The screen is dark, and it stays dark.That can only mean one thing.