Annalisa's Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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Oct 04, 10

bookshelves: young-adult, dystopia, romance, speculative
Read on October 01, 2010

When I heard Condie's trilogy was being pushed as the next big thing, I instantly expected this to be cheap, tantalizing but empty, and poorly written. Is my faith in the publishing industry that low? Sadly, sometimes yes. Then I met Ally. She's adorable, down-to-earth, and not at all tainted by the buzz. Ever since, I've been anxiously trying to get my hands on an ARC of Matched. I really wanted it to be as good as her publisher thinks it is.

I sat down Friday afternoon with my friend's ARC (and more than a little anxiety) and didn't close the book until I finished. I don't know how Condie managed to make a perfect society where nothing ever happens so intriguing, but she does. From the beginning she pulls you into this world and keeps you interested. You never know when an Official is going to pop up in Cassie's seemingly perfect life to call her out for insubordination to the society's propaganda.

Condie ties a clean writing style into this sterile dystopia which builds on the naivete of its citizens. It's not simplistic in a poorly written sense--there are moments when Condie shines with beauty--it's simplistic in a stylistic sense. And it works too in capturing Cassie's teenage mind.

Condie's weak point is her characterization. I never fully grasped Cassie or Xander or Ky beyond a general characterization, but my fear for the characters and curiosity about the love triangle was strong enough to make me keep turning pages. And I doubt the depth I wanted and my other issues with plot and character will faze the intended audience. This isn't crossover fiction; it's purely YA. I can see why her publisher wanted this. It has that "it" quality in YA commercial fiction that I can't quite explain but that will grip its teenage audience the way other reads may not.

I won't go into my usual in-depth review since most people haven't read it, but if you read YA commercial fiction, you don't want to miss this one. The scoop from someone I know who's read a draft of the sequel is that it's amazing, but we'll all have to wait a year for that one. Matched comes on November 30. Go, preorder it now.

(About the cover: Am I the only one who doesn't like it? I never would have picked this book off the shelf. The glimmery background is cool, but the gray doesn't stand out. The dress, which is supposed to be the gorgeous dress Cassie wears to her Matching, is meh, and her hands don't line up with the bubble, which irritates me. I'm glad Dutton is pushing a book with writing talent, but I think they could have done better on the cover.)
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Comments (showing 1-8)




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Tatiana Out of the people I know who had a chance to read this book, you are the 1st to give it such a glowing review. I don't know what to make of it. I guess I'll have to read it and see for myself...


message 7: by Lisa (new) - added it

Lisa Vegan Added it! Thanks, Annalisa. I'd never heard of this one before reading your review.


message 6: by Annalisa (last edited Oct 05, 2010 08:14AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa I hope everyone likes it!

Tatiana,
I'm surprised at how poor the reviews have been myself. I mean, it's commercial fiction. It should be critiqued as such. It's well written, it reads quickly, you feel compelled to continue reading, and you get sucked into the dystopia. In my opinion, that makes great commercial fiction. And while I wish the characters were more defined, teenagers will define the characters just fine.

I think maybe reviews have been harsh because of the hype. I personally wasn't expecting much but, having been underwhelmed by a lot of YA fiction lately, was surprised by it. Maybe for others the hype set their expectations high, or they set out to dislike it because of it. I don't know. I think it's one of those books that will receive mixed reviews but be loved by the masses. I personally think it's worthy of at least some of the hype, as opposed to say Beautiful Creatures that was hyped up and was a total mess.


Lucy I really liked this. Your review captures it perfectly too. Sterile - yet interesting. I am hoping for more fleshed our characters in the next book. Cassia started to become more "real" to me but Ky and Xander are mere prototypes of teenage boys that I've seen in a lot of books.

And I loved the cover. I think the grey is perfect. Plainclothes. I kept folding the book to look at her green dress, which is why I will always be a fan of the book and not reading ebooks:)


Annalisa I'm glad someone else liked it. All my friends seem to have hated this book. I've decided it's because the crossover appeal isn't as great as it was for books like Twilight. It has a truly juvenile feel.
And hooray for real books! I will always prefer them to ebooks.


Lucy I don't think it's too juvenile. I think the themes in it are incredibly mature. Sure, it doesn't have the sex, but I appreciate that she created the tension without anybody wishing to rip anyone's clothes off.

I get that people think it's like The Giver. It does have that feel to it. But, it's much....less stark. I kept thinking the greatest thing about this book was the almost happiness of most of its characters. No one was quite sure what made them anxious, but you could feel that almost all of them were, from the officials just doing their jobs, to the inconsequential characters worried about their match or job or boredom. I really do have so many thoughts going through my head and I am not even a YA literature fan. Still, I'm glad you liked it too. I didn't think it was trite at all but I should probably read the giver again. I loved that book.


message 2: by Annalisa (last edited Sep 13, 2011 10:19AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Annalisa I love The Giver too. And I enjoyed too how it feels, that almost happiness. I originally gave this 4 stars bur over time and with so many negative reviews overtime that 4 faded to a 3. But when I first closed the book I loved it.
I don't mean the book is trite. I just mean it's intended for a young adult audience, unlike a lot of edgy young adult that is intended for adults who read young adult. I think it's a good thing that she kept her audience in mind and wrote about things that would interest them even if some people wouldn't like it. I'm actually surprised did because you don't like young adult. I'm glad you did. I thought it was good and I want to read the rest of the series. As you said, I hope the characters are more fleshed out.


Micheline Great review Annalisa! I just finished Matched and I think you are dead-on with your review. Like you said, so little happens, but it's interesting nonetheless. I found it almost started Utopian, with Cassia being so ready to believe everything about 'The Society'. You really get a feel for how she is affected by her environment. I too am surprised by how negative the reviews have been...I think they must have been expecting the adrenaline rush of 'Hunger Games'...


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