Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Review: Matched by Ally Condie

MatchedFrom the Back Cover:

In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one . . . until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

I'm sure this will draw a lot of comparisons to The Hunger Games, but aside from the themes of dystopia and rebellion, Matched is different enough and good enough to stand on its own merit.

Matched is more subtle in its horrors, drawing the reader into a static world where every aspect of life has been compartmentalized, evaluated and ordered in the best interests of individuals for the good of Society as a whole. Everything is controlled. What you do for a living. What you do for fun. What you eat and how much. What you wear. What you read. Who you love. When you die. The Society believes it has discovered the key to living the perfect life, but really it's got some pretty scary parallels to Communism. And what's even scarier is that the reader may wonder if some of their ideas might not actually be such bad things if they could be implemented in our own society.

Cassia Reyes has never questioned the Society. Until now her life has been perfect. And her big night has finally arrived, the night she'll discover who the society has selected as her perfect Match. The mate she is most likely to live a successful and productive life with. Imagine her relief and delight when her match is revealed to be none other than her best friend Xander. But when she opens the file she's been given on her future husband, for one brief moment another boy's face appears on her screen--just for a moment and then it is gone. But Cassia recognized that face. It's Ky Markham, a quiet boy from the Outer Provinces. And now she can't stop thinking about him and whether he's really supposed to be her Match.

The goal of Matching is twofold: to provide the healthiest possible future citizens for our Society and to provide the best chances for interested citizens to experience successful Family Life. It is of the utmost importance to the Society that the Matches be as optimal as possible.

Studies have shown that the fertility of both men and women peaks at the age of twenty-four. The Matching System has been constructed to allow those who Match to have their children near this age--providing for the highest likelihood of healthy offspring.

But it's a mistake, a glitch in the system...Not only is it impossible for one person to have two Matches, but it is impossible for anyone to be matched with Ky Markham. Ky has been identified by the system as an Aberration, and the system couldn't possibly have Matched her with an Aberration. The Society says it was a malfunction, a rare mistake--but was it?

Cassia is drawn to Ky now, and he to her, and they forge a friendship, communicating in secret, speaking to each other of forbidden subjects they dare not discuss with anyone else. Ky tells Cassia about his childhood in the Outer Provinces, where life is not as controlled as the Society wants it to be. Cassia shares with Ky an outlawed poem her grandfather gave her before he died at the time appointed to him by the Society: Dylan Thomas's Do not go gentle into that good night. These words resonate with Cassia and she wonders what her grandfather intended her to do with them. As she grows more certain that the life the Society has chosen for her is not the life she wants to live, these words become her mantra. And when the Society notices the bond developing between Cassia and Ky and intervenes, Cassia puts those words into action.

I was very impressed with Matched. The language is stunning--I marked about a dozen beautiful passages as I was reading. The content is thought-provoking, the plot is character-driven and refreshingly simple, yet surprisingly powerful. The story builds slowly and suspensefully toward a disturbing ending that sets up nicely for the sequel, which I will definitely read. Matched is a stand-out among this fall's young adult new releases.

Rating:  4.5 Stars out of 5

*Please note: This review references an advance copy received from the publisher, and therefore the final published copy may differ. Though I received this book from the publisher, these are my honest and unbiased thoughts, and I was not compensated in any other way for reviewing this book.


  1. I wasn't big on dystopian novels but this year I have read a few that have been rather good. This one sounds great too. I'll be adding it to my WL :)

  2. Great review. I really do look forward to trying this one. I'm glad to hear it's different from Hunger Games. I hate when I'm reading something and get a sense of deja vu :)


I love comments! Getting feedback on my posts makes my day! Thanks for being here!