Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Book Review: Matched

Matched by Ally Condie
Pages: 366
Publisher: Dutton
Genre: YA/Dystopian
Series: Matched series
Movie: In the near future, fingers crossed!
Bought At/Borrowed From: Redding Goodwill
Finished: July 31st, 2013

Review: After reading Divergent, I couldn't help but finally pick up my copy of Matched. I don't know what it is about Divergent, but it sparked a fire in me for dystopian fiction. So, since I owned Matched, I went right for it.

The world of Matched is a simple one: follow what the Society tells you, down to who is the most logical match for you to marry (or make a contract with), and everything will be just fine. In fact, everything will be ideal.
Seventeen-year-old Cassia Reyes is on her way to her Matching ceremony, where she will finally find out who the young man who will be her "match" is. When her best friend, Xander, is the name called by the Society as the perfect match, Cassia knows they couldn't have picked a better match. Or could they?
When Cassia goes to look at Xander's information at home, though she knows almost every detail anyway, another face flashes as her match. And it's another face she knows--Ky.
Why did Ky's--the quiet boy with a mysterious past--face flash on the screen? Could the Society have made a mistake? If this is a mistake, could the Society have made others? Cassia begins questioning everything and when she does, her entire world begins to unravel.

The Twilight-esque love drama that grows between Cassia and her "matches" is a little annoying. She literally begins questioning the entire life she's lived because of a boy. It does get better though. She wants to know more and more of Ky's story and the secrets he holds from his life before he moved into her borough with his aunt and uncle. What she finds out is, he can draw, and not only that, he can write. It was a strange concept to think about--not being able to write. They have scribes (what I pictured as sort of an iPad/tablet) that they can "write" on by putting pre-decided words into sentences, like making poetry from those fridge magnets. You can say many different things, but you only have the same words to choose from and you're not actually writing the letters down. Ky can write his own words and begins teaching the alphabet to Cassia, starting with the letters of her name.
Xander gets angry when Cassia decides to trust him with the information about their growing relationship as he was happy being her "match" and that was nice to see some anger. Ultimately, he is her best friend and is there for Cassia no matter how her feelings have changed.

The Society itself is only interested in the optimal. They've got everyone monitored at all times. Each meal is prepared to the optimal nutritional needs of each person. "Matches" are the optimal result of the analysis of meticulous personal data on each person, data gathered over their entire lives. Even the runs Cassia does on the tracker, what I pictured to be a treadmill, is based on her optimal cardio needs. The Society figures it all out for you, you just don't deviate from the plan. The technology thought of in the book is amazing and intense. The Society seems worse than any Big Brother I've ever met because they truly know what you need best. How can you argue with that?

The minor characters of the novel, like Cassia's family, her grandfather, her friends, the Officers, all made the felt much more real than the main characters did. Probably the utterly predictable love tangles did them in for me, but the minor characters bring a lot of heart to the story, especially Cassia's family. I love their relationship and seeing all the she learns from her father, her grandfather, her mother, and younger brother. Her family means the world to her and their interactions were the most poignant and real to me.

Like The Hunger Games and Divergent, I feel as those these books are a little predictable. What else good Katniss do besides take on the Capitol, especially after becoming the Mockingjay. Though I haven't read the sequels to the other two, both feel like "I know where this is going..." However, I still want to find out.

Favorite Quote: "Can you climb high enough to get above the clouds, look down on the rain from a place in the sun?"       (p 131)