Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 30, 2010
Cover Designer: Theresa M. Evangelista
Age Audience: YA
Summary: Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her. 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 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.
First of all, isn't the cover lovely? It's also symbolic, because at one part in the book, Cassia says,
"I feel like I'm trapped in glass, and I want to break free."But I'm sorry to say that this book was nowhere near as beautiful as its cover. Okay, that's a little harsh. But it wasn't.
If the cover doesn't make you want to read this, then the premise definitely should. It sounds like an interesting plot, doesn't it? It helped that sci-fi is one of my favorite genres. So I put myself on the library waiting list for this book as soon as it was released.
Anyways, Cassia was a good, well-rounded character. Though at times she was a little selfish, that just goes to show she has flaws and isn't perfect. And another plus: character development! Well, at least in Cassia's case. Throughout the book you can see how she develops from a follower of the Society to a rebel.
I expected Ky to be one of those "I'm-super-hot-and-I-have-a-secret-and-that's-about-it" kind of characters (think Damien from Evermore), but Ky was actually a very good character. I expected the romance between him and Cassia to be some pathetic "love at first sight" crap, but they actually get to know each other and their relationship had buildup, which I appreciated.
However, Xander was a stereotypical boy-next-door. He didn't have much depth.
Em and Piper were extremely flat and predictable. It felt like the author just threw them in because Cassia needed friends.
The writing was good, some of the descriptions were very pretty. However, because of the first-person point of view, the descriptions sounded out-of-place rather than poetic. I mean, nobody talks like that in their inner monologue. So I would have liked this book better if it had been told in third-person point of view rather than first person.
Also, Condie is terrible with explanations! You never really find out how the Society came to be, or how things generally work. I really hope that we'll get more explanations in the next book.
But that's not even my biggest criticism: Matched was way too similar to The Giver.
The Society was just The Community under another name. And the Matching system, the uniforms, the job system, pills that control emotions, not choosing the amount of children you want to have, all that and more was in The Giver first! And since The Giver is one of my all-time favorites, I will defend it to the ends of the earth.
So my conclusion is that Matched was a good book. It was a great book! But not worth all the hype.