Matched by Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Released: November 2010
Matched seems heavily influenced by books like The Giver, but it distinguishes itself by really delving into the teen perspective. Cassia’s narration is in the present tense, which makes you feel like you’re right there with her, and it perfectly reflects how a teen today might feel in her situation. She has little bouts of rebellion in her, but she feels too restricted to take any action.
Ally Condie built a beautiful world in Matched. Attention was given to every little detail, and the Officials were wonderful representations of totalitarian leaders. I loved learning about the Society’s history and all the technology it possessed. The part of the Society that I found most interesting was the little case of pills that everyone was required to carry at all times. Each pill spoke volumes about the instability of the structure of the Society in its own way, which was really neat.
I felt that in terms of overall tone, Matched was very similar to The Hunger Games series. Cassia was not the peppiest of teens, and like Katniss, she often got down in the dumps (and occasionally poetic) about the unfortunate world she lives in. This mindset was realistic, but I really wished that Cassia would stop being so morose and try to think more optimistically!
In terms of romance, at first I had a difficult time making myself love either of the two love interests, Xander or Ky. Xander seemed to be very caring, but overall he was a pretty flat character. Ky had more substance, but it wasn’t until he came out of his shell that I actually thought much of him. The way his relationship developed with Cassia was adorable, but the initial attraction between the two seemed too much like the “soul mate” concept that YA authors love so much. Nevertheless, I slowly grew to believe the love between Cassia and Ky.
One last thing I’d like to mention is Ally Condie’s writing. It is wonderful! The way she writes just flows so well. I also liked her incorporation of poems, and how she kept referring to them not only by quoting, but also through the characters’ actions and feelings.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed Matched. The setting was spectacularly written, the teen perspective was realistic, and the writing was lovely. The story will make you question your beliefs, and encourage you to follow your heart, rather than the rules.