Tuesday, January 4, 2011

MATCHED by Ally Condie

 Matched by Ally Condie
Young Adult Dystopian Sci-Fi
Dutton Books, 2010

I just finished reading this book earlier today, and it still has me spinning. So forgive me if this review comes off a little fangirl-ish.

The Society that controls Cassia's world (appropriately termed, the Society), is kind of freaky when you look at it from our modern point of view. But the people living in it, at some undetermined point in the future, feel it is... well, perfect.

All of the things that were shown in early studies to be good for longevity--happy marriages, healthy bodies--are ours to have. We live long, good lives. We die on our eightieth birthdays, surrounded by our families, before dementia sets in. Cancer, heart disease, and most debilitating illnesses are almost entirely eradicated. This is as close to perfect as any society has ever managed to get.

Which is all well and good. If you're a ROBOT.

But Cassia never questioned anything that was her "normal" until something "abnormal" happened. On your seventeenth birthday you are introduced to your perfect match. Your future significant other whom you will have children with and share the rest of your life with whether you want to or not.

The story begins at Cassia's Match Banquet. And I don't even want to tell you what happens, even at this early part of the story, which is just the tip of the iceburg of awesomeness. I honestly want you to discover all these things for yourself along the way, as I did.

Things happen quickly for Cassia from that day forward that make her wonder. You're not supposed to wonder about things. When you wonder it leads to questioning. When you question it leads to desire. When you desire it leads to impulsive actions...

I knew nothing about this story when I started reading it, other than that it had received a lot of praise from online reviewers, and that it had something to do with a so-called perfect society where people are genetically matched for optimum health in their offspring. That's it.

So it was a pleasant surprise to read this story and be amazed with each turn of the page, full of intensity and emotion and unexpected twists. I couldn't devour it fast enough.

Cover Art: 5 stars (beautiful and clean; relevant)
Title: 5 stars (snappy; relevant)
Writing: 5 stars (refreshingly crisp and easy to read; no fluff or overwriting)
Story: 5 stars (romantic tension at its finest. and the rest is simply amazing)
Characters: 5 stars (realistic and relateable. wouldn't want any of them done any differently)
Ending: 5 stars (even though you are left hanging a bit because this is the first of a series, the ending is still superb, in my opinion)

Overall Rating: 5 stars (obviously. but I wish I could give it more)



Katie Grace said...

I wish I loved Matched the way the other reviewers seem to love it. I work with teens, and wouldn't hesitate recommending it to them, but I couldn't connect personally with the story. The set-up of the world was a bit too much like The Giver (I read The Giver recently - some distance might have eliminated the overlap). And I thought the writing style was only okay. It is nice to see prose that's not overly flowery, but Condie's writing seemed very choppy to me. I felt like I was constantly being told how Cassia felt, but I never felt those emotions myself. Matched was easy for me to put down. But I seem to be the only person who can't get into it. Despite not enjoying the novel, I thought this review was so well written. I love to see a new post on The Book Book. Keep up the great work.

Lydia Sharp said...

Thanks for your honesty, Kate. :) I browsed through some of the reviews on GoodReads after posting this and noticed more than a few people felt the same way as you do. Which is fine. Not every story will (or should) connect with every reader.

I can't really pinpoint a specific reason why it resonated with me so much. It just did. But that doesn't mean that it will for everyone.

Regarding THE GIVER, I haven't read that one, but the first thing I thought of when the pills were mentioned in this book was BRAVE NEW WORLD. I agree the basic concepts of the Society in MATCHED are nothing new. It was the story that kept me reading.

JenniferWriter said...

I hadn't heard of this book yet. Sounds interesting! I just read The Giver about a year ago so I'll have to see if any overlap annoys me or not. May just depend on my mood.

Jane Steen said...

I have, as it happens, read The Giver (on the recommendation of my youngest) and found it very memorable. And I love dystopias. Thanks for the review, and I will now go add Matched to my TBR list.

Alison's Book Marks said...

Matched grabbed my #1 spot on my Top 10 YA of 2010. I too gushed over this book. So glad you enjoyed it as well!

Steve Finnell said...

you are invited to follow my blog

Lydia Sharp said...


And to those of you who made *real* comments...

Much appreciated. :)

Jane Steen said...

Ooo Lydia, burn... that's an object lesson on how NOT to market your blog.

Elliot said...

now i'm going to follow him just to annoy you.