Mary Anne's Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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really liked it
bookshelves: fiction, book-club
Recommended to Mary Anne by: Kandi

I am honestly really surprised at how much I liked this book. I've had it for at least a year and meant to get to it at some point. I'm glad I finally did, though the reviews for the next installment, Crossed, do not look so good. These things happen.

At a time when Hunger Games is so big in our world today (not only because the entire trilogy is out, but also due to the fact that the film of the first book has just come out [and, in my opinion, is amazing]), there is a lot of fiction of quasi-dystopian slant. And surprisingly, many of these books focus on female protagonists and narrators. I think that's pretty cool. Unfortunately, sometimes these female protagonists and narrators suck. For many people who are over the age of these narrators (often late in their teenage years, these protagonists), we don't want to hear the whining or the dramaz of being at that age. (I'm looking at you, Bella Swan, even if you don't fit this genre.) But I think this book did a good job. I liked Cassia as a narrator and protagonist. She had just the right level of "Society is perfect" and brainwashing without seeming completely brainless. She has real friends, and if there is a lack of explanation about them (don't friends hang out?), it's neatly covered by the idea that, once you're a teenager, you have school and work and don't have time for them. So she's a typical girl in that society and is happy enough about it. And yet, when she changes, there seems to be a good reason for it. Yes, there's this "I love someone with whom I'm not Matched but in a way I kind of was because they messed up the program," but it's through Ky as well as though other people, notably her parents, that she sees that Society is maybe slightly too controlling and powerful, and that they do terrible things without much of a conscience. At present, Cassia is more upset that Society forced Ky into this terrible situation.

As a side, what is it with the love triangle plot? Hunger Games, Twilight. Goodness.

The reason it wasn't five stars for me is the lack of explanation about what happened to leave us in this situation. That's often what happens when you have a narrator who is so young, and it's doubly hard when the Major Changes seem to have happened at least forty years before she was born, but this atmosphere does sort of explain that omission. For one thing, it seems like no one really knows the Truth. It's all stories. I hate to make comparisons, but I was hoping for something vaguely like Hunger Games by way of an explanation, because that's what it sounds like. Capitol, Society, same basic concept. Though, no question, Society is more severe on a daily basis. (Whereas The Capitol takes the cake overall.) Yet the Officials and Officers are people too; Cassia's father is an Official, and some of them seem genuinely sorry for having to do their jobs. Others are cold, calculating, and just plain mean. Society is different, though: not only do we make people work in places we want, but we'll put them in harm's way when we can. We tell them when to eat, give them as much as we want them to eat (and only the nutrients we want them to eat; and when we say they're ready to die, we feed them poison), we watch all communication between them, tell them who they will be Matched with, tell them when to have kids, how many kids, and when to stop. It's just crazy. I think this was set up in a phenomenal way.

I also like the small touches. I like that everyone is literate, but they don't know how to write. Indeed, writing is forbidden, probably because they can't monitor that communication.

Normally when a story like this turns terrible, it's because of the protagonist. It makes sense, then, that I like it because I like her well enough. She's smart, clever, careful, caring for people around her, unique but ordinary (as opposed to *sparkly* ordinary), and angry but not so angry that she'll lose her cool over every little thing. Seventeen years old is a mark of maturity for the world of this book, and it shows in this main character. I'm a little wary of picking up the next book, because my sense is that my appreciation will go far, far away. But for now, good book.
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Reading Progress

April 2, 2011 – Shelved
April 2, 2011 – Shelved as: fiction
April 2, 2011 – Shelved as: book-club
March 22, 2012 – Started Reading
March 23, 2012 –
page 208
56.37% "So far, better than I'd been expecting."
March 24, 2012 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-2 of 2 (2 new)

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Amanda J We have a thread for this one in group. I hope you like it!

Mary Anne Dear Goodreads, a notification of this message would have been nice! Thanks for the note, Amanda! I'll go check that out.

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