Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Category: Young Adult
Page Count: 369
Release Date: November 2010
Challenge: 2011 A-Z Challenge & Breathless Reads Tour Mini Challenge
Quick Rating: 4/5
In the Society, Officials decide.
Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly 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 know and a path no one else has ever dared follow - between perfection and passion.
Matched is a story for right now and story-telling with the resonance of a classic.
Dystopian fiction is taking over the world, and really, I think I’m okay with that. However, my only problem is that a lot of dystopia books are being insanely hyped, and I go in to it expected fireworks, and all I get are sparklers (and, ok, maybe a mortar and Roman candle or two). Which are still really fun, and keep me entertained for hours, but I’m just not as initially dazzled as I expected to be.
Matched was that way for me. It was a fast read, and when I finished, I found myself dangling the book upside down and wondering where the rest of it was. Initially, I was disappointed. But now, with a little time to think and go over my notes, I’m actually impressed.
The whole concept is, hands down, amazing. The Society had an element of the Nazi party to me (you know - kill off the old, keep only the healthiest), and it was absolutely horrifying to me. My disgust with the Officials and Society grew deeper and deeper right along with Cassia, and by the end, I wanted to punch that snarky Officer right in the face for all her meddling. And only living with 100 songs, or 100 poems, or 100 paintings? My mind can’t even wrap around that. Still, though, I felt everything was a little underdeveloped. For being a decent sized book, I was kind of surprised at the lack of real detail. Like more of an explanation between an “Aberration” and an “Anomaly”. Is there any form of religion? What is this whole war thing going on that keeps getting mentioned? What’s beyond the Outer Provinces? How was Society formed? What happened to the world as it was before? I was left with a million questions by the end, and while mildly frustrating, it left me really, really eager for the next installment.
Follow the jump for more!
As for the characters, I loved Cassia! I found her slow, emotional transition from law-abiding citizen to potential rebel extremely realistic. She wasn’t just suddenly thrown into her rebellious thoughts. It was one small incident after the other, just building and building, until Cassia was ready to just throw the Society down and stomp on it. I foresee her becoming incredibly strong and willful in the series.
And, oh, Ky and Xander. While a lot of people are tired of the love triangle, I’m still a sucker for a great one. While Xander was sweet and reliable, I was drawn just as much as Cassia to the dark and mysterious Ky. There was such sexual tension between them, but in an almost innocent way. They were pining for just a kiss, and it was sweet. I’m definitely Team Ky for now, but having resourceful Xander as a backup isn’t so bad either!
Overall, I could have used a little more action, though I understand this was mostly about Cassia’s transition and growth. However, I was left with the feeling that this was one long prologue or intro. While still good, and a fast read, I’m hoping for more details and explanations in later installments.
The Final Word: Definitely for the dystopia fans out there. Matched is a world that is very frightening when thought about. Lovers of the classic love triangle with gobble it up! While underdeveloped in some areas, I think this will turn out to be a strong series in the long run.
Tea: I would pick one of my absolute favorite teas, Twinning’s Egyptian Chamomile and Apple. One, because it’s green, and green seems like such a prevalent color in the series, and two, because it’s smooth and soothing like Society, but then that hint of apple comes up and bites you.
“My heart is one fire and I have to keep my mouth shut tight so that I don’t try to burn these Officials with the flames.” (pg. 205)
“There’s more to say, but we’re learning how to speak. Together we step out of the trees. Not touching. No yet.” (pg. 215)
“It is almost uncomfortable, this awareness of him. Each pause, each movement when he placed a piece on the black-and-gray board. I want to reach out and grab him hand and hold it to me, right over my heart, right where it aches the most. I don’t know if doing that would heal me or make my heart break entirely, but either way this constant hungry waiting would be over.” (pg. 229)
“I close my eyes as his lips touch warm on my cheek. I think of the cottonwood sees brushing against me that day on the air train. Soft, light, full of promise.” (pg. 258)
“Our time together feels like a storm, like wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape. It blows around me and tangles my hair, leaves water on my face, make me know that I am alive, alive, alive. There are moments of calm and pause as there are in every storm, and moments when our words fork lightning, at least for each other.” (pg. 267)
“My hand closes on the small container with its three tablets secured inside my pocket. Blue and red and green. Live and death and oblivion always at my fingertips.” (pg. 324)