"Matched" by Ally Condie (Debut Author)

One of the most highly-anticipated, buzzed about teen books of the year, Matched by Ally Condie, is finally available for fans of Dystopian novels. Oftentimes, hyped books aren't as good as expected, leaving the reader disappointed. Matched lives up to the excellent word of mouth being spread about it.

Set in the future, the book takes place after global warming destroyed "our" world. Things like "angels" have become nothing more than mythology, and even something as ordinary as a compact is mysterious in this new world. Society now controls daily life to make sure tragedy doesn't befall its citizens again. Jobs are chosen for you, there is a Match Banquet to determine who you will marry, citizens die on their 80th birthday, and there isn't even a choice for the food you eat.

For Cassia, our MC, this world is safe, ordinary, comforting. She can't wait for the Match Banquet so that she'll finally be able to meet her future husband. During the Banquet, prospectives gather in their City Halls across the country to find out who their match will be. Cassia is paired with her best friend Xander, which is rare; normally, the couples are paired with someone from a different City Hall and have never met. Cassia is thrilled with the news and feels lucky to already know Xander, though at times, she has a flash of jealousy that there's nothing "mysterious" about her match. At the Banquet, the couples are given silver boxes containing a microcard full of data about one another so they can "get to know each other better." However, the day Cassia looks at her microcard, life as she knows it changes.

Society has made a mistake and paired her with a second person, Ky (also from her own City Hall). They try to rectify this and assure Cassia that she's destined to be with Xander, but she now knows about a second possibility. As she reflects on what to do and grows closer to Ky, the choice becomes harder. She finds herself caring more for Ky than she should, but also has feelings for Xander and doesn't know what to do.

Condie writes about both males in such a way, readers will care for both characters and surely pick sides or "teams." There is no conclusion at the book's end, but there are two more novels to come to tie up loose threads. We'll surely get a look at the inner workings of Society and see what is being hidden in the Outer Provinces most citizens know nothing about. The first book is predominantly focused on world-building and fleshing out the characters; more description will surely come in the subsequent novels. There is a good amount of character growth in Matched, which is a refreshing change from a lot of the flat characters being introduced in literature lately.

The book's dust jacket is also worth mentioning. The cover is GORGEOUS and relates well with the contents it protects. Cassia is wearing her Match gown and trying to break her way out of the protective bubble Society has built around her. Even the inside flaps of the hardcover edition have bubbles. Plus, the fonts used for the title and author suit a Dystopian novel. They have a futuristic edge. Matched incorporates the green color so important in the novel (and Cassia's dress) and has the right amount of blur going on and I love the way the "y" and "i" in Ally Condie are blurred and smeared as though someone ran a finger across them.

If you're a fan of the Dystopian genre, Matched is absolutely a must-read. It's one of the most exciting new trilogies to debut in Teens since Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, though it has less action and a smaller body count. It's more in-line with titles such as Lois Lowry's The Giver (its closest sibling) and Scott Westerfeld's Uglies series. It's also reminiscent of an upcoming trilogy by Lauren Oliver; the first novel, Delirium, hits bookshelves on February 1st, 2011. As a fan of the genre myself, I think this is one of the best new entries and am excited to read the rest of the trilogy.

[Review based on ARC edition]


  1. I actually can't remember if I bought this book! I was pretty sure I bought it already, but I can't find it in my stack of books! Anyway, I love the cover too. I saw the trailer (and loved it!) and read the preview chapter from breathless read's website. Thanks for the review!

    Chel @ The Procrastinator's Corner

  2. Hey it's me again. Turns out, I've bought Matched already. :) one of the reasons why I was so hesitant to read this is because of the mixed reviews. I think I should read more positive reviews than the negatives. Oh and I've read and loved Delirium. I heard these two are quite similar...


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