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Matched Paperback – September 20, 2011
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Amazon Best Books of the Month, December 2010: For Cassia, nothing is left to chance--not what she will eat, the job she will have, or the man she will marry. In Matched, the Society Officials have determined optimal outcomes for all aspects of daily life, thereby removing the "burden" of choice. When Cassia's best friend is identified as her ideal marriage Match it confirms her belief that Society knows best, until she plugs in her Match microchip and a different boy’s face flashes on the screen. This improbable mistake sets Cassia on a dangerous path to the unthinkable--rebelling against the predetermined life Society has in store for her. As author Ally Condie’s unique dystopian Society takes chilling measures to maintain the status quo, Matched reminds readers that freedom of choice is precious, and not without sacrifice.--Seira Wilson
Q: What inspired you to write Matched?
A: Matched was inspired by several experiences—specific ones, like a conversation with my husband and chaperoning a high school prom—and general ones, like falling in love and becoming a parent.
Q: How do you think Matched differs from other dystopian novels?
A: 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.
Q: The cover for Matched is so eye-catching and mysterious. What does the image represent to you?
A: I cannot imagine a more perfect cover for this book. To me, the image is a clear representation of Cassia, the main character, and the way she is trapped in her world. It’s kind of a lovely world—the bubble is beautiful—but it’s confining nonetheless. And, of course, the color green is very important to the book. I’m just so thrilled about this cover. Theresa Evangelista, the designer, and Samantha Aide, the photographer and model, are incredibly talented.
Q: In Matched, each member of the Society is not only assigned a spouse, they’re also assigned a job, and Cassia, your main character, is a data sorter. If you lived in the Society, what job do you think you’d have?
A: I would definitely not be a data sorter. I am terrible with numbers and patterns. I think I would probably be a teacher or instructor. Or maybe one of the people did a mundane task, like dishwashing. I have a feeling that I wouldn’t fare very well in the Society.
Q: Dylan Thomas’ classic poem, “Do Not Go Gentle,” is part of a theme that you’ve woven throughout Matched. Do you remember when you first came across this poem? What made you decide to use it in your novel?
A: I don’t remember when I first read this poem, which is pretty embarrassing. But I do remember the first time I heard a recording of the author reading it. I remember feeling almost reverent, and paying close attention to how he said the words and went through the lines. This poem came to mind almost immediately when I started writing the book. It’s probably the most universal poem I’ve ever encountered. The first line alone resonates immediately with almost everyone.
Q: What do you like about writing for teenagers?
A: Everything. I like talking with teenagers themselves about books. I like trying to capture the teenage voice. And I like writing about teenagers because they have SO MUCH happening in their lives, and they are passionate about those things.
Q: What were some of the books you loved as a teen? Did any of these books influence Matched at all?
A: I loved (and still do) Anne Tyler and Wallace Stegner. I remember being introduced to those authors in ninth grade and being floored by the beauty of their writing. I also loved anything by Agatha Christie. I think these books did influence me—not in any concrete, specific way, but in that I wanted to write a story about a character worth caring about even though/because of the fact that she is flawed and human.
Q: What would you like your readers to take away from the experience of reading Matched?
A: I hope they can take away whatever they need from the story. I hope there is something there for a reader--whether it’s relating to a character or reading a scene that feels true or anything else.
Q: Will there be more books featuring Cassia, or set in the world of Matched?
A: Yes! There will be two more books in the Matched trilogy.
From School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up–In a story that is at once evocative of Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), George Orwell's 1984, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Condie introduces readers to the “perfect” Society. Cassia Reyes is a model student, daughter, and citizen. How could she not be when the Society has everything planned and functioning perfectly? All of her needs are met: food, shelter, education, career training, and even her future husband are selected by officials who know what is best for each individual by studying statistical data and probable odds. She even knows when she will die, on her 80th birthday, just as the Society dictates. At her Match Banquet she is paired with Xander, her best friend and certainly her soul mate. But when a computer error shows her the face of Ky, an Aberration, instead of Xander, cracks begin to appear in the Society's facade of perfection. A series of events also shakes her dedication to Xander and puts her future in jeopardy. Cassia exhibits some characteristics of Winston Smith and Lenina Crowne in her silent rebellion against societal control and in her illicit friendship with Ky but ultimately, and more satisfyingly, she is more like Lowry's Jonas. Her awakening and development are realistically portrayed, and supporting characters like Cassia's parents and her grandfather add depth to the story. The biggest flaw is that the story is not finished. Fans of the Giver will devour this book and impatiently demand the next installment.–Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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This is a wonderful dystopian book, that really made me think. The people of this world live in a time where everything they do is governed and decided by the Officials of the Society. People are matched up with their spouse, their job, their extra-curricular activities, and even the day they will die. All the literature, music, and art have been paired down to the best 100 pieces of each. The Officials have destroyed everything else. The people are not allowed to write. Everything they do is monitored--even their dreams are recorded. They are only allowed to exercise a certain amount. If they go over that time, or do it too vigorously, they are marked as a person with body image issues. They are only allowed to eat a certain amount of food, which is delivered to them three times a day. Pills control their emotions. Their possessions are regulated. What kind of life would that be? What purpose do the humans even serve anymore? If they go against the rules, they are marked and are no longer a respected part of society. They are pulled out of the Matching Pool, no longer allowed to be married, and are given menial jobs that lead to an early death. Choices are against the law. This is the world Cassia lives in, only she's not happy about it.
The Officials messed up. A glitch in the system showed Cassia the corruption behind the decisions these Officials made, and now she's rebelling--hoping that she can somehow beat the system. Sure, the guy chosen for her might be the most ideal, most compatible, and most practical Match for her, but what about the one she's fallen in love with? Love doesn't matter anymore. What if she doesn't want the job they assigned her? Too bad. She can't even choose the clothes she wears. The only time she was ever even allowed to wear a color was for her Matching Banquet, where she was assigned a mate while wearing her beautiful green dress (hence the symbolic book cover image of a girl in a green dress, trapped in a glass ball of dictatorship)--a green dress she chose from a catalog of approved choices. Of course, she could not keep this dress. She was sent a small piece of the dress fabric mounted between two pieces of glass after the Banquet was over. This is the control these Officials have. The people are being drugged to forget things. They are all lost in a world of conformity. They are being brainwashed into thinking this is all ok. Cassia finds a person who remembers the past. He has access to old "destroyed" writings. He knows how to write. He knows the history of humankind, and it's a whole lot better than what they're going through now. The more Cassia rebels and learns about the past, the more corruption she notices. She's also falling deeper and deeper in love--with the wrong person. She's going to do something about it. She's going to change her destiny.
I really loved this book. Many of the passages are extremely poetic, and somewhat lyrical. The descriptions of the scenery make you feel as though you were there. The emotions and feelings are easy to understand. The situations are easy to relate to. The characters are real people. I connected so well to the entire storyline. Cassia is a great heroine. She is not the rule-breaking rebel to the extent of Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, but this IS only book one. We might see more rebellion in the future books. She was weak in the beginning, but learned more as the book went on. She grew a backbone! I liked her character development. I really enjoyed the love triangle, which I think ultimately symbolizes rebellion vs. submission. She was told to do one thing, but really wanted the forbidden. It's a relatable dilemma on many levels. I enjoyed the relationship she had with each of the two boys in this triangle. One was very sweet and innocent--two childhood friends realizing they're going to get married and exploring the new feelings the Society says they should be developing. The other one was forbidden but equally, if not more, sweet. They snuck around and tried to stifle the underlying tension of wanting, but not being allowed to have. I love this relationship more than the other. It seems more real to me. There could have been a bit more chemistry between them, but I understand that it had to be very hidden in order to protect both of them. With the rebellion I expect to see in the coming books, I expect to see more chemistry as well. All in all, this was a great book, and I really enjoyed it!