Condie, A. (2010). Matched. New York, NY: Dutton Books.
Genre: Adventure, Romance, Dystopia
Reading level/ interest age: 14+
Matched is set in a dystopian society reminiscent of The Hunger Games. In the book, Cassia visits her aging grandmother one final time as elders are euthanized beyond a certain age. People in the society eat only nutritious, bland food and are only given access to one hundred songs, poems, and books. Teenagers are paired off during a matching ceremony upon their sixteenth year. The ceremony is the only time in a person’s life where they can indulge. Cassia is excited to wear a beautiful dress but apprehensive over her matching. She wonders, though the possibility is extremely slim, if she has met her match before. At the ceremony, Cassia waits before a screen with others from her town until her name is called. A face flashes before her for a split second before going blank. Officials tell her that there has been a mistake and that she will be informed of her match later. What Cassia tells no one is that she knows who the person she saw on screen is. Though it is forbidden, Cassia decides to investigate the mistake even though she is paired with someone else. Is Cassia prepared for what she might find or will she give up the chase in favor of fitting in?
Cassia has reached her sixteenth birthday and goes to the matching ceremony to meet her future husband. However, the face that appears on screen is someone who is not eligible for marriage. When the system is never wrong, how can everyone be telling her there was a mistake? Cassia is determined to get to the bottom of the problem but is she prepared to face the consequences?
Information about the author:
“Ally Condie is the author of the MATCHED Trilogy, a #1 New York Times and international bestseller. MATCHED was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten and named as one of Publisher’s Weekly’s Best Children’s Books of 2010. The sequels, CROSSED and REACHED, were also critically acclaimed and received starred reviews, and all three books are available in 30+ languages. Disney has optioned the film rights for the series.
“A former English teacher, [Ally Condie] lives with her husband and four children outside of Salt Lake City, Utah. She loves reading, writing, running, and listening to her husband play guitar” (AllyCondie.com, 2014).
Curriculum ties: N/A
1. How would you feel if you could not choose who to marry?
2. What would you do in Cassia’s place?
Written in green ink, the text is a bit hard to read sometimes. The imagery between Cassia’s ceremony dress and the matching ink color is an interesting twist that somewhat makes up for the disorientation. Perhaps the book would have been better designed if the pages were a different texture as well to pay homage to the frugality of the dystopian society the characters live in. Though this book has many good reviews, the storyline is a bit unoriginal with so many other books like it in the Young Adult genre. Divergent, The Hunger Games, and Matched all have the same feel, pacing, and somewhat misguided female main character. The three heroines also have trouble at home, live harsh and simple lives, and have a love interest.
Despite being somewhat predictable, Matched still paints an interesting world. Perhaps if the books focused more on the society and its rules rather than the life of the main character, readers would be more entertained. The scene with the ceremony and the behaviors of the characters leading up to it is the best part of the book because of the rare display of finery in the culture. Good for a quick read on a plane flight but choose something else if seeking deeper material.
Challenge issues: N/A
Dystopias seem to be a popular theme at the moment. I thought that teens would enjoy reading this as it causes them to question society.
AllyCondie.com. (2014). Ally Condie. Retrieved August 22, 2014 from http://allycondie.com/bio