Review: Matched by Ally Condie

4

January 11, 2012 by Heidi

book cover of Matched by Ally Condie
Title: Matched [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Ally Condie [Website|Twitter|Facebook] 
Standing: Book 1 in the Matched trilogy.
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Published: November 30th, 2010 by Dutton Juvenile
Format: Hardcover; 366 pages.  

Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Full disclosure: I read this book quite some time ago, but as I recently finished Crossed and wanted to review it, I figured I should start with dredging up my memories of Matched.  The truth I’m dancing around here is I’m too OCD to start reviews mid-series, so I hope you’ll bear with me.  

Cassia is both giddy and nervous to be attending her Match Banquet.  She’s grown up in the Society where all of her choices and personality traits are tracked, they even monitor her dreams.  They know her so well, she is confident that they will choose the perfect Match for her, the man she will spend her life with.  So it comes as a huge surprise when the moment arrives, to learn that her Match is a boy from her own City–this is rare–and to Cassia’s greater delight, the boy Society has Matched her with is her best friend, Xander.  Cassia is in for a bigger shock though, when she goes to privately view the microcard with information about her Match.  It’s not Xander’s face that appears on the screen, but some other boy’s.  And she knows him too, it’s Ky Markham.  Let the power of suggestion take hold.  Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and if he’s really her best Match.  The Society is trying to pass it off as a glitch, but Cassia can’t help but wonder, and has to find some way to know Ky better.Personally, I found this book to be beautiful, and felt Cassia’s narrative to be simultaneously strong, naive, hopeful, and afraid.  Matched is written from the first-person narrative, in such a way that it is almost poetic, and settling into the style can take some effort, but is worth it.  I’ve seen this book compared to The Hunger Games quite a few times, but I have to disagree with this assessment.  I realize they’re both YA dystopians with strong female protagonists and love triangles, but I would say that Matched is closer in voice to Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale.  Both Matched and Hunger Games are incredibly appealing and have an urgent sense of danger, but where Hunger Games is loud and full of action, Matched is quiet and secretive.  Katniss has always questioned their society, and can fend for herself.  Prior to her Match, Cassia didn’t know the Society could make mistakes, and she certainly wouldn’t know what to do without them.

Matched has the feeling of an epic love poem.  As Cassia discovers her love for Ky, she discovers her ability to question and think for herself.  In a Society where there are only 100 poems, 100 paintings, 100 songs, Cassia opens her heart and mind to the possibility of creation.  I loved this book, and am honestly torn about its existence as a series.  Like the conclusion of The Handmaid’s Tale, it’s almost better not to know what happens next.  That’s not going to stop me though, as I am already waiting quite patiently for the final chapter of Cassia’s story.  


Likelihood that I’ll be back for more: Been there, done that.  My review for Crossed, book 2 in the series and a Notable Read of 2011, will be up on Friday!

Recommended for: People who like poetry, romance, dystopian societies, and don’t pop pills.

Real life repercussions of reading this book:  You may want to start waxing poetic all over the place.  Resist.

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4 comments »

  1. This is on my list of TBR because it was one of the top YA reads of 2011 but I have been wary to pick it up because it didn't seem interesting to me. Your review changed that, I will be picking it up asap!

  2. Yay! Glad to hear that Alyssa. It isn't the most original story these days, but it is beautifully written which makes it stand out.

  3. I actually wish this series was compressed into maybe two books instead of three; I liked it, but felt like it could have used a bit more beefing up. I still haven't read Crossed yet, so look forward to reading your review!

  4. I agree! I really feel like there aren't enough duologies out there, and that authors/publishers really try to stretch things out sometimes when they don't need to be. Crossed has quite a bit more action than Matched.

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While the source for each book I review is posted within its review, please assume unless otherwise stated that books reviewed on Bunbury in the Stacks were received free from the author or publisher in exchange for an honest review.
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