Matched (book review)
Matched was written by Ally Condie. It is book 1 of a trilogy. I read Matched as part of the BlogHer Book Club.
Summary of Matched from Penguin.com:
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.
When I received Matched I checked out the cover (I found it really beautiful in it's simplicity). The back cover and first few pages of Matched shares multiple reviews comparing it to The Hunger Games. While seeing this kind of excited me (because I LOVED Hunger Games) it also had me really wary of reading it at all (because I LOVED Hunger Games). I found myself thinking "if this is as amazing as the reviews make it sound I can not wait to read this" while at the same time I was thinking "there is just no way this book is going to be nearly as good as they're trying to make it out to be." So... I put the book down. I put it down and barely glanced at it for weeks. (Have you ever done that? Been unable to start a book because you want it to be really good but you're afraid it's going to be awful? Just me?) I finally decided I had to just get to it.
Did I like Matched? Absolutely. When I finally picked it up I couldn't put it down. I read it in a day. I enjoyed it so much I immediately purchased Crossed and pre-ordered Reached (which is due out in November). The whole idea of the Society and the world that Cassia lived in was really fascinating. The control over people lives... over who you would be "matched" with, what kind of work you would do, what kind of music you could hear, what poetry you could read, even what food you could eat and what portions you would get... it really was an amazing concept to stop and think about. (I'm still wishing I could see a list of the "100s". Which 100 songs were kept? Which 100 poems? How would you decide that???)
Was it Hunger Games? No. Is it fair to compare them? Sure. If you loved Hunger Games I would be surprised if you didn't enjoy Matched. Both are stories of a girl living in a sort of post-apocalyptic dystopian world. Both are stories where you're wondering which boy the girl will choose. Both girls have a younger sibling that they want to protect. Both books were also very "young adult appropriate" in the romance department. The similarities go on. But, it was different. There weren't really any huge action scenes. There really wasn't any serious violence. I think the author, Ally Condie really summed it up in an Amazon Q&A where she said
"I think it’s different in that it’s perhaps less action-oriented and more introspective. This is really the story of one girl, Cassia, learning to choose."
I can't wait to see where her choices take her in the next book.
Disclosure: This is a paid book review for the BlogHer Book Club. All of the thoughts expressed are my own.