Review: Matched

Title: Matched
Series: Matched (1)
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton, a member of Penguin Group USA (2010)
Genre: young adult, science fiction, dystopia, romance
Pages: 366

In Their Words: (jacket copy)
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly an 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 chocies: between Xander and Ky, between the  only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow–between perfection and passion.

In Mine:
I’m not a fan of the jacket discription, because it makes the story sound torid and dramatic. And there is a fair amount of drama going on, but it’s not loud and in your face. For the most part, this is a quiet story. Life in the Society is peaceful and happy, so it takes a number of small things to propel Cassia to question their power over her.

The romance is also understated, which I appreciated. This is one of those books where I can stand the love triangle. Cassia has a clear connection to both Ky and Xander, and you really can understand that Cassia isn’t just choosing between two love-interests. She’s essentially deciding whether she will live the way the Society requires, or if she will fight against it. Her struggle with these two relationships acts as a catalyst for her journey. And by keeping the melodrama low, the story feels all the more real.

It was easy to identify with Cassia’s dilemma, because her world did feel, in many ways, perfect. A lot of the struggles in life had been eliminated. But at the same time, throughout the book you get the feeling that things are not as calm as they seem. This book may have been full of small, impactful moments, but I can tell it’s building towards something bigger.

Cassia makes for a great heroine, because while she’s self-assured and intelligent, she doesn’t need to physically kick ass to be an awesome, strong woman. Unlike Katsa (Graceling) and Katniss (The Hunger Games), who are both very awesome in their own right, Cassia’s struggles don’t involve physical prowess. It doesn’t make her a superior heroine, but it’s nice to see another way to be.

Matched reminded me a lot of  and George Orwell’s 1984, in the best ways.  And like some contemporary dystopia hits, such as Scott Westerfeld’s Uglies and Suzanne Collin’s The Hunger Games, Matched leaves you eager for more. However, in both those series, I was never as happy with the outcome as I was with the set-up. I hope Matched breaks that pattern.

Design:
The cover is gorgeous, and actually really appropriate for the story. It establishes exactly the right mood for the book. The cover was probably responsible for me buying the book mere days after it came out.

The interior is also lovely, but I have one complaint. The use of cursive writing is an important symbol in the story, and I would have liked the designer to use a more true-cursive font for those moments, instead of just a nice italic. It was pretty, but it didn’t achieve that connected, curvy affect that’s described.

Appeal:
Fans of dystopia fiction will probably love this book.

Final Rating:
5/5, definitely deserving of all the hype; can’t wait for the sequel!

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About Lucy

If you want to get fancy, Lucy lives in Portland, OR, and has a MA in Writing/Book Publishing, with a focus on Young Adult Literature, and a heaping disregard for literary snobbishness (she was an English Major–she’s seen and spouted her fair share). She works as a social media marketer, and has dabbled in developmental editing as a freelancer.
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