I have recently completed reading matched, a 366 page dystopian fiction novel. It is written by Ally Condie and is the first book in a trilogy. Matched is a #1 New York Times bestseller and was published in 2010
I read this book as a part of round 2 for the dystopian book clubs and it was recommended to me by a friend. When I first saw it, I wasn’t very interested in it. However, now I’m glad I was chosen to read Matched because it was a great read. The quote on the cover of the book, “Love triangle + struggle against the powers that be= perfect escape” is intriguing and adds excitement and mystery.
Cassia, a 17 year old girl lives in a society where officials choose where you work, what you eat, what you do each day, who you are supposed to love and spend the rest of your life with, and even when you die. Cassia has always had confidence, and believed in the official’s choices. At Cassia’s matching ceremony, a rare event occurs, she is thrilled to discover that her match is her best friend Xander who she has known forever. However, conflict and confusion is added to the situation when Cassia’s micro card shows two different matches. Xander and Ky. Cassia is undecided between the strong emotions she feels for both of them and starts to question whether the society’s rules are what’s best for everyone. Cassia sees beyond the society’s demands and breaks the rules so she can have the life she wants.
The character development of Cassia was clearly shown as the story progresses. In the beginning, Cassia goes along with all of society’s rules and demands, and believes everything they make the citizens do is for the best. For instance, everyone dies when they reach 80 years old. As the story advances, Cassia gains a new understanding of what really goes on in her society, and starts to disagree with the officials choices. She realizes that everyone should be able to live their life until it is meant to be over, and not have the society end it for them at a specific age and that the society had its flaws. This is also an example of an aha moment because Cassia realizes many secrets of the society, and this could change things because she may try to do something about it.
I would say that a recurring theme expressed in Matched is bravery and determination to fight for what’s right. This is shown when cassia disobeys the officials rules to be with Ky. Also, I am inferring that in the second book cassia rebels against the officials and tries to do something about how controlling the officials are over the society. I also think that the cover foreshadows a general idea in the book because I believe it is implying that Cassia is trapped inside of the society and wants to get out, which causes problems that displays the theme.
I liked the way the author included a lot of description relating to what Cassia feels about everything that is going on with Ky and Xander and the officials. However, I wish that Ally Condie involved Xanders perspective on the whole situation because he was a big part of it and he must have had a lot of feelings and opinions when Cassia told him that she loved Ky. I did like all of the detail the author put into the thoughts of Ky and Cassia, but it would have been interesting to know what Xander was thinking.
I was interested in the passage below, it is an important part of the book because Cassia his thinking about how she wants the society’s systems to corrupt because she loves Ky.
“I’m falling in love. I am in love. And it’s not with Xander, although I do love him. I’m sure of that, as sure as I am of the fact that what I feel for Ky is something different. As I tie another red flag on the trees and wish for the fall of our society and its systems, including the matching system, so that I can be wit Ky, I realize that it his a selfish wish. Even if the fall of our society would make life better for some, it would make it worse for others. Who am I to try to change things, to get greedy and want more? If our society changes and things are different , who am I to tell the girl who would have enjoyed the safe protected life that now she has to have choice and danger because of me?” (pg. 238-239)
I chose to quote this passage because it explains what cassia his thinking when she starts to disagree with the society, and how they don’t allow anyone to make choices for themselves. In addition, I liked how the writing had some author’s craft which intensified the piece of writing and added suspense.
Matched was a good read, however at some points it got a little bit boring, but overall I enjoyed it and I might want to read the sequel. I would rate this book an 8 out of 10.