Matched is Allie Condie's début novel. It's the first instalment of a dystopian trilogy aimed at young adults. As such, it's going to draw obvious comparisons with The Hunger Games. There are similarities, but there are also marked differences. I actually found the book more reminiscent of The Giver by Lois Lowry (worth looking up if you like dystopian fiction).
I'm finding it really difficult to write about this book without giving too much away. I'll start by saying I loved it. It was recommended to me by Stupidgirl who knew I'd loved The Hunger Games and thought this was even better. It certainly is a great read. Matched grabbed me from the first scene. I read it in two days and felt bereft when I reached the end. The cover, however is pretty awful - don't let it put you off!
The central character is 17 year old Cassia. As the book opens she's heading to her Matching ceremony where she'll learn who she'll marry. In this society, all your decisions are made for you - what you wear, where you live, what your job will be, what and how much you eat and who you will marry. Cassia soon discovers that the Officials are capable of making mistakes, this leads her to question what other mistakes may have been made and whether her society is as perfect as it seems. The story develops as a pretty classic love triangle, but it's different enough to hold your interest throughout. There are some really moving scenes - I was in tears for parts of this book (although that could have been the new baby hormones).
The second book in the trilogy, Crossed, is due out in November. I can't wait :)