Review: MATCHED by Ally Condie

Posted 19 January, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 5 Comments

Final Grade: 84/C
366 pages
YA Dystopia
Available now
Review copy purchased
Rated PG-13

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 with complete certainty that 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.

MY THOUGHTS: MATCHED’s world is an interesting one. The Society pairs up couples (though not everyone is matched–there are some Singles out there) for the “perfect” blending. The ceremony where the matches are revealed is very much like a Southern debutante ball, where everyone’s all dressed up and there’s lots of pomp and ceremony. The Society controls every aspect of its citizens’ lives including how much education they get, the careers they have, and what they can do in their spare time. All that they do is designed to limit the citizens’ choices. I suppose this was to make life easier and less chaotic for the people. The Society is a true dystopia but I needed some more world building because I had so many questions: How did this Society evolve and what was the original purpose? Why did this Society decide to go in the direction they did? What event(s) occurred that they limited everyone’s choices so severely? Why is everyone forced to carry those three pills? What happened that led to the pill-carrying law? 

To me, the “love story” wasn’t too much of a love story. It was more a story of choices. While the Society tries to control every aspect of its citizens’ lives, it cannot control their emotions (at least not completely). Cassia is a perfect example of this. She’s a typical citizen, excited about being Matched, excited when she’s Matched with her best friend (Xander), and enjoying her everyday, ho-hum life. Of course, she doesn’t realize it’s so ho-hum until an anomaly crops up–when she goes to look at Xander’s profile (which she didn’t do immediately because she already knew him quite well), Ky’s face pops up. Suddenly, she’s faced with a choice, something she really hasn’t experienced before. Should she just ignore it or should she pursue it? Did the Officials make a mistake? 

She seeks out Ky and is fascinated by him, especially because he’s so different than Xander and so mysterious. She’s infatuated and so is Ky. However, I didn’t really see any sparks between them. It was more like they were just experimenting, as teens do, trying out new things. Xander was familiar, like a favorite outfit. Ky was a brand new pair of shoes.

I really liked was Cassia’s family. Her parents were kind and supportive and, in a way, reminded me of my own family. Her dad was awesome–he put his family and their needs and desires first, above even the laws of the Society. Her mom was equally great–she loved her family and worked hard to support them in what they did. 

I’ll try to say this next thing without spoilers: I hated the ending. Hated it. Yes, I realize this is a trilogy and there has to be an open ending of some sort but this ending was way too open for me. I need some closure at the end of my books, just so I feel like reading it wasn’t a waste of time. I know that sounds harsh and terrible but I’m just not a fan of cliffhangers. They seem like a cop-out to me and, because I’m left on edge, I don’t get that satiated feeling from a really satisfying ending. It can be done, even with a trilogy. It’s difficult but it can be done. This, of course, is purely my opinion.

All in all, while this was a good book and I’ll definitely be reading the next book (CROSSED, due out Nov. 2011) because I do have to know more, it didn’t live up to its hype for me.

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5 Responses to “Review: MATCHED by Ally Condie”

  1. For me, the strongest part of the book was Cassia’s relationship with her parents.
    I didn’t feel sparks with Xander or Ky, 🙁 and I agree with you on the world-building thing.

    😀 Loved the review,

  2. Great review–I agree! You made several points that I maybe had in the back of my brain, but hadn’t really articulated yet. I did give this to my 13 year old, and I think she’ll love it because she probably won’t be concerned about the background. I was hoping there would be a more serious threat lurking there for Cassia, making her decisions more dangerous…

  3. I loved this book! I think it lived up to it’s hype for me. I hate cliffhangers but this one didn’t seem so bad for me for some reason.
    I think I liked that this book felt more mellow too…