Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Published by Dutton Juvenile on November 30, 2010
Source: Barnes and Noble
Rating: 3.5 stars
Synopsis: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
The best word to describe my experience reading this book was a v e r a g e.
It’s basically your average YA dystopian romance novel. It was average length, with an average main character, average do-I-choose-the-blonde-or-the-brunette love triangle, average totalitarian government, average first sparks of a rebellion.
I hope this review doesn’t come across as too negative, because I did enjoy reading Matched. It did what an easy reading, young adult book is supposed to do. You can just curl up with a cup of tea and neglect your responsibilities for an hour or two, worrying about the character’s problems instead of your own. It was a perfectly good distraction.
Matched just wasn’t anything special. The main protagonist, Cassia, lives in a futuristic city where people are divided into different ranks. They have a mysterious, over-controlling government with an ominous-sounding name (The Society. Oooh, scary.) She’s matched with the boy she liked for most of her childhood (that would be the blonde), but another name face comes up at the last moment, the enigmatic Ky who shouldn’t have been in the matching pool in the first place (who is… wait for it… brunette).
It’s fairly obvious from the beginning who she ends up falling for. You probably can guess just from reading this review.
“But,” you ask, befuddled, “if this book was so run-of-the-mill, why does it have 3.5 stars, instead of just 3?”
Weeelllllllllllll, I have a soft spot for pretty writing, particularly symbolism, imagery, poetry-esque stuff. And Ally Condie is pretty darn good at writing those in. I’m just going to add a few of those passages because I’m a nerd.
“As I walk to the air-train stop the next morning, things feel crisp, less weighted. The cool of the night accomplished what the rain yesterday did not; the air feels fresh. New. The sun blinking through the last of the clouds dares the birds to sing, and they do. It dares me to let the light in, and I do. Who wouldn’t rage against the death of something so beautiful?”
“At first when the rain fell from the sky so wide and deep, it smelled like sage, my favorite smell. I went up on the plateau to watch it come, to see the gifts it always brought, but this rain changed from blue to black and left nothing.”
**could be considered a spoiler**
“So I fight. I fight the only way I know how, with thinking of Ky, even though the pain of missing him is so strong I can hardly stand it. I put the seeds into the ground and cover them with soil. Will they grow toward the sun? Will something go wrong so they never push, never turn into anything, just stay here rotting in the ground? I think of him, I think of him, I think of him.”
Matched by Ally Condie is a cookie-cutter dystopian romance. It might be enjoyed better by one who hasn’t read a lot of dystopian before. I would recommend it for someone who’s just starting to read that genre, because if you’ve already read a lot of it, it’s thoroughly ruined for you. It’s best redeeming factor is the pretty little pieces of writing scattered throughout. So if it’s raining hard, you have no where to be all day, and a 20 page paper you don’t want to write, go ahead and read it, but don’t bother if you don’t.