Molly's Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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's review
Nov 01, 2011

liked it
bookshelves: dystopia, fantasy, guilty-pleasure, on-the-classroom-shelf, speculative-fiction, ya-lit, borrowed, good-concept-poor-execution, 3-stars, i-want-to-like-you
Read from December 07 to 12, 2011

It occurs to me that I give lots of books 3 stars -- it's sort of a wide-ranging rating in my eyes. I use it for books that I enjoyed, but that I thought had some issues. This is certainly one of those books.

I've been wanting to read this (one of my awesome students actually lent it to me when I made the comment on her book report!) because I do love a good dystopia, and I wanted to see how closely it resembled Delirium, which I read earlier in the year. After reading about 20 pages, it reminded definitely reminded me of Delirium (which I had major issues with), but also The Giver, which is one of my absolute favorite books. The whole concept of The Society, and making everything equal, so no citizen is better than any other? Straight out of Lois Lowry. It botherd me how much of The Society here resembled the society in The Giver. Taking a concept and running with it is one thing, but I never felt like Condie ran that far. As others have said, Matched feels like it should be the first 50ish pagse of a much more intersting story.

I will give Condie credit here -- I enjoyed her writing style. I liked the characters she created, and their emotions and reactions felt authentic to me, as someone who has spent a LOT of time around teenagers. All that being said, I personally am not a fan of the "emotions as plot" trope. I like my plot to have plot in it. I get that the story here is about Cassia's journey from someone who is content with the Society to someone who actively wants to fight back ("Don't go gentle," as she puts it, quoting Dylan Thomas). However, that doesn't mean I thought it made for a particularly exciting 300+ page story. I also get that this is book 1 of a trilogy, and from the ending, I sense that the second installment will have more action (I'm hoping the same student lets me borrow her copy of Crossed!). However, I'm getting frustrated with the current trend, not just in YA, that everything needs a sequel. Some books are fantastic just as they are and don't need to be part of a trilogy or a "saga" or an "epic tale." I think the reason I loved Before I Fall so much is because the story played out perfectly in ONE single volume. I didn't need to read three more sequels to know what happened to Sam. I suppose I should reserve judgment until I read the rest of this particular series, but it seems to me that this book could have been greatly condensed (perhaps combined with whatever's set to happen in Crossed) and not lost much of its story.

All in all, I didn't dislike this book, and it certainly didn't fill me with rage the same way Delirium did. It just felt...empty. Like it was well written and I liked the characters, but there was just nothing really satisfying about it (I read a review somewhere that described it as a "really nice creampuff that someone forgot to put cream in"). It's not "fluffy," per se, but it's not the sort of fat, satsifying novel I wanted it to be.

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Reading Progress

12/08/2011 page 60
16.0% "This is so much like The Giver...wonder if that's deliberate or not."
12/09/2011 page 142
39.0% "Thoughts: why do all of the names sound like nicknames? Xander, Ky, Bram....what's the deal with that? Also, something needs to happen soon. Our protagonist is far too content for a dystopia, and the only person to express discontent is already gone."
12/10/2011 page 203
55.0% "It's bothering me that there are just over 100 pages left (and I'm 200 pages in) and still nothing is happening. Starting to agree with the reviews that have said this should be the first 50 pages of a much better book."
12/11/2011 page 316
86.0% "Things are happening at last! I have to say, while I enjoy the writing style, Cassia bugs me."

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