January 16, 2012

Your Choice or Your Chosen • Matched

Matched book cover
Matched by Ally Condie
Series: Matched #1
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Reads
Publication Date: November 30, 2010
Source/Format: Joli of Actin' Up with Books || Hardcover

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.

Matched has been out for a while, and I was intrigued by the premise from the start. Ever since the book came into my hands last December, I found myself sorely tempted to read yet another dystopian. And the best part is I'm so glad I did because I loved it! Maybe not as much as I loved Divergent, but I loved it nonetheless.

Ally Condie's dystopian world is comprised of a frighteningly perfect Society, filled with rules on how a member of the Society should be. It was a simple enough tale, but the characters and their relationships definitely drew me in. The book left me reflective, disturbed, emotional and dying to read the sequel, Crossed.

The Characters

Cassia is portrayed as a typical teenager of the Society. She plays by the rules and believes everything that the Society tells her is for their optimal benefit. After all, the proof is right there in front of her eyes in her safe neighborhoods and pretty much perfect life. She's a good daughter, sister, granddaughter and friend. And everything goes perfectly... until a glitch with her "match" happens and she sees two different guys, Xander and Ky.

From that point on, we see a lot of new (and slightly rebellious, at least from Society's point of view) thoughts crowding into Cassia's mind. I love how she starts to think independently, to question why things are the way they are and to realize that she's got a unique set of emotions and longings. But, despite the new way of thinking she's developing, she remains brave, smart, passionate and loyal to the ones she cares about.

Of course, though the story really is primarily about Cassia herself, I can't talk about the story without discussing Xander and Ky.

Xander is Cassia's long-time childhood friend, who is her chosen "match". He seems to fit the epitome of a golden-boy-next-door, as in my mind, he appears handsome, charming, playful, kind, loyal, understanding, intuitive and overall, just incredibly appealing. He really does seem like an ideal match for anyone, and it is a stroke of luck that he ends up being Cassia's.

Ky, on the other hand, is an interesting character to dissect. He has a lot of Xander's good qualities, like intelligence, good looks, kindness and loyalty. But he also has mysteries of his own, having been affected by many different events in his life, and I found him quite intriguing. As more and more was revealed about him in the book, I developed quite the soft spot for him and his story.

Needless to say, however, if you asked me to decide which boy I liked better, I would find it impossible.

The Story

As I mentioned, the world that Ally Condie created for us is intriguing and creepy all at once. Everything is regulated here - food, clothing, work, school, even relationships and death. The idea of absolute control over life is slightly terrifying, as it would give you absolutely no say in anything.

This novel is about more than just the romance, though that's definitely an important and much-loved part. It also plays on the saga of how things are starting to change as members of the Society become more aware of their constraints and the discrepancies in the Society's way of thinking. I like how the novel points out how awareness and knowledge lead to action in a very subtle manner.

The Writing Style

Keeping to Cassia's point of view for the entire novel is a change from the alternating POV novels I've been reading lately. I enjoyed it because it allowed me to really get to know Cassia and decide whether or not I actually liked her (which I do).

Ally also manages to start you off feeling comfortable about the Society and its rules, but somewhere along the way, your opinion begins to change and you start to feel like there must be something wrong with the situation though you can't pinpoint what. I think that it takes great skill to perform a feat like that and Ally does it brilliantly in this novel.

Personally, I say you should...

... definitely read this novel if you like dystopians and thought-provoking novels. Ally Condie introduces us to yet another world that appears like it could actually happen in the future, all while weaving a love story that's touching and convincing. I'm so glad that I was finally able to read this one, and I definitely recommend it.


  1. If I had to chose, I'd personally be on Xander's side! I was on his side from the very beginning! :)

    I'm curious to see what you think about the second book. It has alternating views and you get to see a bit of the inner workings of Ky's mind.

    To be honest, I was not a fan of Ky and Cassia's blossoming romance in this novel, I felt as though it focused so much on just the two of them that I didn't really get to hate the Society as much as I would like in a dystopian novel.

  2. I didn't think I'd like this series but a few friends loved it and it turns out so did I! Great review, Alexa :)

  3. Great review - I've had this one on my bookshelf for a while so must make time to read it soon.

  4. Celine @ Forget-me-notFebruary 6, 2012 at 12:07 PM

    Awesome review! Glad you enjoyed it! I find it also quite impossible to choose between the boys! I hope you enjoy reading the sequel, Crossed, as well! :)

  5. I really liked this one as well! Ally lives right here, so I've had several opportunities to go to signings and readings, but have never been able to make it! SO lame. Matched wasn't as exciting as some dystopians, but it definitely makes you think. I got the sequel for Christmas, and still haven't read it! I need to catch up on my review books, so I can get to some of the ones I actually bought. Haha.

  6. Nicely reviewed. I'm glad you got a chance to read this one, better late than never. Did you decide to continue the series?


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