(Cover picture courtesy of Writing from the Tub.)
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 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.
(Summary courtesy of Amazon.)
Matched by Ally Condie has garnered quite a bit of attention and hype, but once again we must ask ourselves: Does it deserve it?
Well, in a word, no.
Yet because it doesn’t live up to all of the hype doesn’t mean it is a bad novel. In fact, it’s quite a good novel. But is it absolutely amazing and the best thing since man learned how to make fire? Of course not. If I had to classify Matched, I’d put it under the ‘average’ category. It’s an average YA novel, nothing more.
At the risk of sounding like every other book reviewer that’s read this book (and even a few that haven’t), I would describe it as ‘Orwellian’, simply because there is no other word for it. The level of control the Officials have over every aspect of people’s lives is frightening and teens will be able to see the allusions to our own world. For example, every meal is tailored to the individual so they receive the proper amount of nutrition for their age, occupation, metabolism and body type. This could be seen as an allusion to how obsessed we are today with the fitness culture—all Ally Condie did was take things up a notch. People who are so politically inclined could point out that if the government continues to ‘intrude upon our lives’, the society in Matched is a natural progression.
Like in pretty much all YA novels, there is a love triangle. This one, however, is a bit different because in the beginning, Cassia is quite willing to accept Xander as her Match. She didn’t start out as a rebel, but the poem her grandfather gave her and her growing love for Ky change her. One of the best parts of Matched is the character development—the love triangle isn’t forced at all.
So there are quite a few good things about Matched, but I wouldn’t say there was really anything exceptional. It was good, but not memorable because even though I have an excellent memory for books and it’s only been six days since I’ve read this book, I wasn’t able to remember the name of the main character without looking it up. I can recall every detail of Scroll of Saqqara, name every character in Feed and can rant about everything I hated about Inheritance for hours, but I wasn’t able to remember Cassia. Which, of course, brings me back to my original point: Matched is good, but it’s not great or memorable.
I give this book 3.5/5 stars.