Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Review: Matched

"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."


  • Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
  • Date of release: Nov. 30, 2010 
  • Page count: 366
  • Would appeal to: The Giver fans, The Hunger Games trilogy fans, Divergent fans
Favorite Quotes:

"If our Society changes and things are different, who am I to tell the girl who would have enjoyed the safe protected life that now she has to have choice and danger because of me?"

"I'll tell her and everyone else that I know: they are giving us pieces of a real life instead of the whole thing. And I'll tell her that I don't want my life to be samples and scraps. A taste of everything but a meal of nothing. They have perfected the art of giving us just enough freedom; just enough that when we are ready to snap, a little bone is offered and we roll over, belly up, comfortable and placated like a dog I saw once when we visited my grandparents in the Farmlands."

"Did the poet know how lucky he was, to have such beautiful words and a place to put them and keep them?"

 "I think of how perhaps the best way to fly would be with hands full of earth so you always remember where you came from, how hard walking could sometimes be."

I have experienced love the second time around.

I'm not a repeat reader by any means. I reread this book before my first classroom book club discussion (it went so well!) and I finished in two days.

Let me count the ways that this book and I were meant to be reunited:
1. Ally Condie's writing style fits Cassia to a T; an innocent, all-trusting citizen who follows the rules. It's actually refreshing to read a YA book without cussing.
2. The common storyline--girl chooses between two boys--was somehow unique and exciting in its own right.
3. Poetry was valued by the protagonist and morphed into a theme of resistance, especially when Cassia recalled Dylan Thomas's "Do not go gentle into that good night."
4. The physical act of writing is not taught for these characters because the Society knows the type of power it might give its citizens, but Cassia understands the freedom it makes her feel.
5. Running a society on statistics and probability should work out in theory, but logic alone cannot rule a race of humans.

In this new Society, people die at age 80 after their Final Banquet; teens are officially Matched at age 17, normally with a person they've met; messages are delivered via computer port; and meals are dropped off daily with the appropriate amount of nutrients and portions for each individual. Cancer does not exist. But neither does the freedom of choice.

The idea of a Matched banquet is absolutely magical-- fancy foods, gorgeous dresses, teens eagerly anticipating promising outcomes. Sort of like right before prom, only this determination affects the rest of your life. It's kind of like online dating, since the first interaction you get is just a realtime image, then you have conversations over a port, and eventually supervised outings. Okay, I doubt e-Harmony users have chaperoned dates, unless you count a group date for safety purposes.

Unlike our reality, every moment of these people's time is divided: recreation time, work time, school time. Their choices for rec. time include going to a music hall to hear the 100 songs, playing games at the youth center, or watching a viewing. No one complains. Everyone follows the rules for fear of being reclassified as an Aberation or an Anomaly.

I love the relationship between Cassia's parents; one breaks rules to protect the family, but the other keeps rules for the same reason. Bram, Cassia's younger brother, is also a little brother I wouldn't mind claiming. He's late to school nearly every day. He likes to jump in rain puddles. He runs around with messy hair. Everyone has to worry about him. But he's strong when he needs to be, just like Grandfather.

The scene that breaks my heart is when Cassia's dad has to incinerate all the books (reminds me of Fahrenheit 451). She watches as the Officials break the books down their spines and suck up pieces of pages. I shudder at the thought that a group of people would destroy the writings of past peoples.

The concept of every citizen carrying around a pill container intrigued me from the start. If you look at the cover of the first and second books, they tie in with the pills!

Condie might be onto something. In the story, the old world failed because of its dependence on technology and then the Warming happened. That's just about all we find out.
One thing that makes everyone feel special is that they can own one artifact from the past. These things are always special and curious to their owners. It's almost like Ariel discovering the fork--I mean, dinglehopper with Scuttle (I'm heavy on The Little Mermaid references this week). Cassia learns to treasure someone else's artifact even more than her own.

I found myself rooting for one guy over the other, I admit, but I also felt sympatheic toward the other one. I think the big picture was less about the romance and more about right vs. wrong.

I don't want to say much more because I'll give away all the Society's secrets. I will say that I absolutely cannot wait for Crossed to come out. Right now, I'm waiting on a Crossed tour ARC to be mailed to me. The second book is told in alternating points of view between Cassia and Ky. Yay! I'm always a sucker for male POVs.

If you want to be swept away by a dystopian, this is your book (imagine me jumping up and down and waving it in your face, pretty much like I did with my sophomores)!

Final verdict:
Matched grasps each reader by the heart and never lets go; the right combination of plot twists, romance, and defiance.
Read it close to November 1st because you will be itching to grab the sequel!

P.S. There are quite a few reviews that were impacted because the story holds numerous similarities to The Giver. To that I say: all ideas in literature are borrowed from some place or another.

1 comment:

Chrissie (Once Upon a Series) said...

I absolutely loved this book too! I am so excited to read Crossed - I didn't realise it was partly written from Ky's POV so I'm even more excited now :)