by Ally Condie

Ally Condie's Matched

Book review by Isabella Thompson

Young Adult

Life in the “perfect” Society is anything but ideal

Cassia has been accustomed to the familiar ways of a compliant and submissive life of routine in her outwardly picturesque homeland of Oria. Here, disease is nonexistent and every family is strategically planned and established for optimal success by the Society.

The Society calls all the shots and the people obey without question. There is no place for originality or creativity. This is the only life anyone knows and supposedly it is for their own good.

Everyone is told what to wear, what they will eat, who and when they will marry, and even when they will die. Their lives are monitored, regulated and dictated by Officials, the mysterious law enforcers clothed in white.

Cassia’s grandfather’s eightieth birthday is approaching, which means he has reached the end of his life. On the eve of that day, her grandfather entrusts her with a poem.

It is a long forgotten poem that does something pertinent and effective-it causes a “brush fire” in her mind; a stirring of thought outside the norm that sets in motion a string of events.

Matched is comparative in plot and content to books such as The Giver, by Lois Lowry, The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins (webmaster's note: both reviewed onsite), as well as Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and 1984 by George Orwell.

Condie commented that she is “probably most affected by Orwell... and the novel 1984, regarding which she stated that she “...was just blown away by the whole experience”.

Even though Matched bears similarities to the aforementioned works, Condie has her own superb writing style with unique twists and turns along with fascinating characters.

This dystopian masterpiece is nicely executed with a light, smooth use of language and clear articulation that produces a vast stream of imagery that sweeps you up and carries you into the protagonist’s world.

The reader is drawn into Cassia’s excitement upon the evening of her Matching ceremony and then allowed to experience the anxiety that results when an unexpected anomaly occurs.

This mishap reveals a startling error on the part of the Society that places her in the hub of two potential suitors, Xander and Ky. Cassia is forced to choose between the one the Society selected for her and the one her heart prefers.

Her feelings for one boy dissolves while her affection for the other increases. This corresponds with her escalating distaste for the Society and everything it represents as she awakens to the truth of what is actually going on around her.

Ally Condie excels in her ability to engross and enthrall the reader in the lives of her evolving and dimensional characters. Her work possesses a strong undercurrent of verve that pulses beneath the dialogue and is embedded within the characters, gaining momentum as the story progresses and as the plot thickens with the heat of tension and the threat of potential dangers.

“Our time together feels like a storm, like wild wind and rain, like something too big to handle but too powerful to escape. It blows around me and tangles my hair, leaves water on my face, makes me know that I am alive, alive, alive.”

The witty sprinkling of incorporated verses of poetry by major poets compliments her outstanding skill as a writer. Her words exhibit the soulful qualities of a poet-insightfulness and intuitiveness that resonate within her distinctive writing style.

Matched is a literary tour de force and a definite classic in the making. Sure to wow readers and leave them begging for more. The author has lots in store for Cassia, Ky and the Society in her second book, Crossed, followed by the third book, Reached

Read more of Isabella's reviews.

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