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Matched Hardcover – November 30, 2010
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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.
Read an excerpt from from the compelling dystopian romance, Matched [PDF].
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Top Customer Reviews
The character development could have used a lot of work. Cassia seemed very flat and I didn't feel any sort of connection to her at all until almost the end of the story. Again, this may have been intentional because she was so molded and brainwashed by her society, however I would have liked to see more action, more outward fight as opposed to all internal fight or at the least, way more curiosity.
Xander was a solid character and a bit interesting but that's as far as my feelings go on that one. Em is utterly forgettable. There wasn't really a love triangle... it was always just ky.
Ky was really the most interesting character although I didn't think so until the very end which means pacing was too slow. I think 50% through the book cassia and ky had only spoken a handful of words to each other. When she first told him she loved him, my response was why? She barely knows him. I Wonder if she only fell for the idea of rebellion that he encompassed because she was too weak and molded to feel true rebellion in her own gut. Again, too much internal going on.
Nutshell: pacing was too slow for my taste. Characters were very flat. The concept was interesting but the world was flat. I get what the author tried to do. Internal story, internal struggle. It just all fell flat for me.
I give it three stars because ally condie did have a poetic turn to her writing though at times it was overdone. It was written nicely. There were a few memorable quotes. I will actually read book 2 because now that the story has moved out of cassias province, maybe the pace will quicken and there will be more external struggle and action. And finally the girl is beginning to THINK of developing a backbone. Just wish it hadn't taken a whole book to get to that point.
Additionally, the characters are weak and/or one-dimensional. The book is supposed to be about a revolution, but its never entirely clear whether the characters are active participants in it. It's more of a love-story, but the author doesn't develop Cassia into an interesting character, so it's kindof hard to understand why these two boys are sooo in love with her. Ky is just as boring- he is wounded and sullen throughout the whole book. Xander is the only interesting character in the series, and you don't get to read from his point of view until the third book.
Overall, I wouldn't recommend these books unless you have a lot of free time and a soft spot for Dystopian teen love triangles. I was just barely interested enough to complete the series, and that is mostly only because I have a lot of downtime babysitting. In the end, I was frustrated that these books weren't better. The last two books are filled with poorly thought-out plot twists and turns, and it's clear the author is trying fill pages of an otherwise lame and completely predictable love triangle story. I've been reading a lot of the dystopian teen romance series in an effort to find one even half as good as the Hunger Games, and this series falls miserably short. One of the reasons the Hunger Games was SO good was because Panem felt real... it's rules made sense, and it's existence was plausible because its characters, their actions, and the consequences felt real. Suzanne Collins didn't try to compensate for lack of substance or character development with confusing and ultimately boring plot twists (the Pilot? the samples? the Otherlands? Viruses on Vaccines on Cures on Viruses on Cures?? Come on)
I don't regret reading this series, because I have a lot of free time, but I definitely don't think I gained anything from them... they left no lasting impression (unlike the Harry Potter series or the Hunger Game series.