Imperfect Match, by Jordan Castillo Price
Publisher: JCP Books LLC
Release Date: March 20, 2017
Lee Kennedy’s destiny is controlled by the Algorithm. It’s the reason he’s still in college, regardless of his good academic performance. He’s switched his major repeatedly and stalled on his Master’s thesis, but there’s only so much longer he can hold out. Because once he graduates, the Algorithm must be triggered.
Everyone in Lee’s family has allowed the Algorithm to match them with a spouse. As has everyone on his block. His neighborhood. In fact, everyone he’s ever known. Pairing with his own chosen match seems inevitable…until, at his sister’s wedding, he meets Roman.
The waiter lives in the Taxable District, a run-down neighborhood that’s only a brief train ride away, but feels like another world. The seedy District is governed by different standards—different expectations—so it’s not exactly a surprise that Roman isn’t married. But it’s definitely a shock to taste his lips.
One forbidden encounter has Lee reeling. He questions everything. His past. His future. And especially the Algorithm. He longs for the freedom to choose not only his own partner, but his own destiny.
When defying the Algorithm will cost everything—family, home, and even livelihood—is Lee strong enough to take another path?
Algorithm: a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer.
Dystopian stories aren’t usually found on my tbr, but when I was given the opportunity to read this book, I couldn’t resist. Thank goodness I didn’t because this was terrific.
Set in a far off future where events from the 23rd century are considered history, Imperfect Match is a slightly dark (dystopian-lite I call it) but ultimately hopeful story about a young man who is determined to find a way to shake familial and societal expectations and forge his own way.
In this future, computers determine everything from your career to your spouse. A complex set of algorithms have been developed to ensure that no one ventures from their chosen path. Those who follow the straight and narrow live in the thriving Benefit Sector.
Lee is the black sheep of his family and a complete anomaly among young men his age. While most young people in the Benefit Sector have not only triggered the marriage algorithm that sets them up with their chosen spouse, they’ve already gotten married and started families. Lee, on the other hand, is still in school and definitely in no hurry to enter into a marriage for which he is entirely unsuited.
When Lee meets Logan, a jack-of-all-trades who lives on the wrong side of the tracks (The District), he suddenly realizes why he’s been resisting a future that has been plotted and planned within an inch of it’s life. Life in The District, crumbling and crime-ridden though it may be, seems a lot more interesting and colourful than anything the Benefit Sector has to offer. But a possible future with Logan is far more enticing than he could have imagined.
I think fans of JCP will enjoy this novella, especially if they’ve enjoyed her other forays into dystopian-like worlds (see Meatworks or The Starving Years). I think this story is a little lighter than those, though, so if you’re new to JCP or you found those stories just a little too dark for your liking, you definitely don’t want to pass this one up.
Author and artist Jordan Castillo Price writes paranormal sci-fi thrillers colored by her time in the Midwest, from inner city Chicago, to various cities across southern Wisconsin. She’s recently settled in a 1910 Cape Cod near Lake Michigan with tons of character and a plethora of bizarre spiders. Her influences include Ouija boards, Return of the Living Dead, “light as a feather, stiff as a board,” girls with tattoos and boys in eyeliner.
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I received an advanced copy of this novel in exchange for a fair and honest review.