Review of Matched

In Cassia’s society, everything is dictated by technology and statistics. Food is served in sealed packages that contain what each person needs for individual nutrition. Exercise is monitored to make sure every gets what they need- and that they don’t push it too far. The part Cassia is most anticipating this year, however, is the ceremonial Matching. As each person turns seventeen, they attend a special ceremony where they are Matched with the boy or girl that will give them the most ideal life and offspring. Cassia waits excitedly to see the image of the boy that she’ll spend the rest of her life with and is astonished to find that it is her best friend, Xander.

But this isn’t bad news. Who better to make a life with than the boy she knows best? Xander feels the same, and it doesn’t take the pair long to transition from best friends to an adorable teen couple. One night, Cassia plugs in her microcard that holds her Match’s information, and it’s not Xander’s picture she sees. Another boy’s face appears on the screen, just for a moment, before it goes black- an acquaintance of hers, Ky. When Cassia reports the problem, she’s told it’s a glitch in the system, nothing to worry about. But Cassia can’t help but wonder if she was really assigned the right future.

I’ve wanted to read Ally Condie’s book for awhile, and I’m so glad I finally did. The story is compelling, which is why I finished it within twenty-four hours of getting it from the library. The thing I like best about this story is that while it could easily become cliché, Condie avoids it. Cassia and Ky’s relationship is frowned upon, but not forbidden. Cassia’s love for Ky grows throughout the story, but she’s never the annoying besotted teen. And if Cassia ends up marrying Xander, she’ll be far from miserable. Condie has the incredible skill of slipping secrets into her story that show their importance later, and her dialogue is very realistic. Her characters, too, are well-developed, down to the most minor.

Condie’s book asks some of the important questions that arise not only in life, but in our ever-growing dependence on technology. Is getting what’s statistically the best for you what will make you happiest? Is being happy important? How does one discern between love for a friend and romantic love, and how do you explain that difference to your best friend/future husband? And how far will someone go for a person they love- be it family, friend, or love interest?

I loved this book, especially the interaction between Cassia and Xander- I believed them as best friends and Cassia’s transition from happiness to doubtful is not only believable for her, but for Xander. He’s over the moon about the Match, and when he discovers that Cassia doesn’t reciprocate his feelings, my heart broke for him. Condie creates an amazing world in which things are not as they seem, and even when Cassia discovers an answer, that solution isn’t what it seems, either. At each ofthese discoveries, I was just as shocked as Cassia. Definitely read this book, and then join me in reading the sequel.

Choice quotes:

Outside the door Xander waits for me. It strikes me that this is what is wrong here. No one can ever really come in and when it’s time to let them in, we don’t know how.

Or maybe it’s even more simple than that. Maybe he never wants to touch me. Perhaps to Ky I am only a friend. A friend who finally wants to know his story, nothing more. […] Is falling in love with someone’s story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?

“The words [of the poem] aren’t peaceful,” Ky says.
“I know.”
“Then why do they make us feel calm?” Ky asks in wonder. “I don’t understand.”
[…] “I think it’s because when we hear it we know we’re not the only ones who ever felt this way.”


Posted on December 29, 2011, in Books, Rachel, Reviews, Young Adult Fiction and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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