Between the Covers's Reviews > Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
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's review
Mar 19, 2012

really liked it
bookshelves: ya-dystopian, ya-science-fiction, young-adult, retro-reviews
Read in March, 2012


REVIEWED by Louise for Between the Covers blog:

Okay... full disclosure. I have really wanted to read this book since it came out. The blurb drew me in and never let go. But life kept interfering, and I didn't manage to read it until now. And I am so glad I didn’t give up on it.

Cassia Reyes lives in a world where the Society makes all the decisions for her... What she will wear, what she will eat, what she will learn, what her job will be, where she will live and who she will marry. She has never questioned these rules, recognizing that the Society knows what is best for her, that they have learned from the mistakes of previous Societies. She has been happy and content with her life, secure in the knowledge that the Society’s methods ensure the citizens live a full, healthy and useful life. Until the events following her Matching ceremony.

Surprised yet pleased to find herself matched with her best friend, Xander, Cassia sees their pairing as further proof that the Society knows what is best. After all, she and Xander already know each other so well, and they may not have to move away from their families. Counting herself the fortunate to benefit from the Society’s planning, Cassia looks at the microcard she received at the ceremony and sees something that turns her perfectly ordered life upside down... a face other than Xander’s reflected as her match.

Dudes! *shakes head and throws hands up in air* Unlike Cassia, who is content to believe what she is told, I had so many questions while reading this book. My inner rebel was WTSnot-ing every five minutes! Why did the Society destroy all but 100 each of the songs, paintings, poems and books? What kind of world is it that such commonplace things as someone having a scrape and seeing an unfamiliar face is shocking? What are the different pills for? Why can't they share food? Why are they allowed to learn only what they need to know for their specific trade? Why does no one know how to write? *pulls hair and waits for answers*

These questions and more are presented as Condie takes us through this first book of Cassia’s story. With each turn of the page we see Cassia transform. We see her interact with her family, that unit so solid and perfect at first glance, that proves to be truly strong but with much more depth than we were initially led to believe. We see Cassia’s relationship with Xander begin to change, the shift to a couple begin to develop. Condie paints a picture that is a little too platonic for me to fully believe, but she had my mind so entangled with all the questions she raised, the lack of raging teenage hormones between Cassia and Xander almost went unnoticed by me. We see Cassia begin to notice Ky Markham, her second match, and the relationship that grows almost unintentionally between them. (I will say that I felt there was more heat between Ky and Cassia than between her and Xander.)

Matched is the first of three books planned in this series, and ends with a cliffhanger that will have you wanting to call the author up at home... or maybe hit her up on twitter so she doesn’t get a restraining order against you... and ask her what’s happening next. Condie’s clear, concise style worked very well for this story, as there was so much information given. Maybe I am reading too much into it, but it was as if Condie channeled the Society and wrote the book in the clinical method which would have been appropriate to the world she created.

As I said, it took me forever to do it, but I am very glad I finally read Matched. I enjoyed the characters, am incredibly intrigued by the world Condie has made, and am bounce in my seat curious to know what happens next. I love reading books that make me think, love it when I am presented with an idea that challenges what I think. It is a special kind of high when a book takes me that far outside myself. #MyDrugOfChoice Matched is one of those books, for me.

Rating: 4 stars


REVIEWED by Christin for Between the Covers blog on 12/20/10:

Do not go gentle into that good night.
Rage, rage against the dying of the light.

These are the words that haunt Cassia, that start to turn her world upside down. She has always been content with the Society, content to follow their plans and rules, grateful for the benefits and security the Society offers. But when she sees a second Match on her microcard, and her grandfather gives her powerful, forbidden words of long-lost poems, all of that begins to change.

Cassia is a sorter by nature (and perhaps by choice of the Society) - she is quick to recognize patterns and/or inconsistencies in data and draw conclusions. Once she gives herself permission to wonder, she starts to question the beliefs that she's held all her life. She begins to wonder what it would be like to have a choice.

Condie's writing style is clear and simple, and that definitely works with this story. The reader is quickly drawn into Cassia's world, learning, questioning, and growing along with her. Cassia's emotions definitely transferred from the page, making me want to rage, run, cry, and savor with her. In addition, I enjoyed learning about all of the characters, who all had their own unique traits and talents despite the Society's attempts to equalize everyone and everything.

And then there's the love triangle between Cassia, Xander, and Ky. I have to say that the development of these relationships seemed a little unbelievable, though I'm not sure whether that was because the descriptions were so very chaste or because of the context in which these relationships had to develop. Nevertheless, I'll be very curious to see how this plays out in the next books - for Cassia, it will definitely be a choice between more than just two people she loves.

The ending of Matched definitely left me wanting more. I will be impatiently waiting for Crossed, the sequel!

Rating: 4 stars

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