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Matched Hardcover – January 1, 2010
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From the Publisher
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
- Publisher : Dutton Books for Young Readers; First Edition (January 1, 2010)
- Language: : English
- Hardcover : 384 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0525423648
- ISBN-13 : 978-0525423645
- Reading age : 12 - 17 years
- Lexile measure : HL680L
- Grade level : 7 - 12
- Item Weight : 1.3 pounds
- Dimensions : 6.25 x 1.19 x 9.31 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#285,851 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #152 in Mate Seeking (Books)
- #996 in Teen & Young Adult Dystopian
- #1,156 in Teen & Young Adult Science Fiction & Dystopian Romance
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Contrast that with 1984, where Winston is in constant misery, being watched everywhere, and having a telescreen that is a controlling. The whole mood is so much better described in the book 1984. Also, there is no real hook to make me interested in the next book. It seems like a book purposely written to be part of a series.
Then there was Cassia's other relationships, her brother, her father, her mother, even her grandfather who was gone after the first five or so chapters but was such a strong long lasting character that he affects her and the rest of her family throughout the rest of the book. Her grandfather also helps to develop and advance the plot. His character and situation was so important to the advancement of the story line and was handled perfectly. All the characters were so important and developed so well even her relationship with the official was perfection. You hated her and yet it intrigued you, made you want to read more. So, my opinion and review of Matched... The perfect example of a character driven dystopian novel. One-click today if you like strong female characters, intense male characters, with angst thrown in and powerful situations that will keep you turning the pages while cooking dinner and late into the night until the very last page. And then one-clicking on the next in the series, Crossed. Yes, can't wait!
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.
Top reviews from other countries
But then I read the next two hundred pages, put the book down, and felt kind of dissappointed. The story is extremely slow. Not much happens for the majority of the book. Every time you think they're about to get caught out or punished, or that something's going to happen to spur the action on, the narrative pulls back at the last second and offers more of the same. The action only really kicks in during the last thirty or so pages.
Of course if you're more into the teenage love story then you'll probably love this. But I was hoping for an edgy, futuristic dystopian novel.
Overall I'd say I did enjoy this book, if nothing else because it's very well written. I wish it had a little more action and was faster-paced, but that's personal preference. Give it a whirl and see for yourself.
This "glitch" changes everything for Cassia. It doesn't matter how much Society tells her that she should not have seen Ky's face, the fact that she saw it causes her to wonder about Ky. Is he her perfect Match after all? And if he is, does that mean that Society's system has failed because he's an Aberration or does it mean that it works because it Matched her with someone she now finds herself drawn to? Now the more Cassia sees Ky, the more she is intrigued by him and the more he draws her into a world she barely knew existed. He teaches her how to write and he teaches her that there was once more to life than what Society would have people believe. At the heart of it all is poetry, and some beautiful poetry is included here, so treasured by Cassia because not only is it a gift from Ky, but because society completely outlaws it. Matched chronicles Cassia's journey as she wakes up from the controlled slumber everyone in the Society is under and begins to question what is going on around her for the first time.
The reason Matched works so well is because most of us live in a society where freedom is one of our most precious commodities. For many of us, to live in society that controls our every thought and action Nineteen Eighty-Four-style is the worst society imaginable. For dictators, the best way to crush rebellion is to prevent original thought and to limit what information your subjects have and as there are societies in the world today similar to this, it's not hard to conceive of the Society of Matched really existing. Likewise, it's easy to see how a teenager who sees a flaw in a perfect society might begin to rebel. For me, that was the best part of Matched because it felt so real in that sense.
The problem it does have is characterization. Honestly it's the same flaw a lot of YA novels have, but I found the characters to be almost a little bland. Cassia definitely has her moments, though, and you have to admire her courage to rebel the way she does and her desire to seek freedom. I can't say the lack of real depth in the characters stopped me from enjoying Matched, and while the story isn't full of action, Condie's writing is detailed and descriptive making it a pleasure to read.
The trilogy is now available for the whole of Matched and I wholly encourage everyone to read the series, though Matched is without a doubt the best of the three. It's thought-provoking and an interesting take on the YA dystopia; a must-read for lovers of dystopia!
Even before Cassia starts questioning the world she has grown up in, we get glimpses of the darker side of the Society. Mentions are made of Aberrations and Anomalies - people who, for whatever reasons, are excluded from the Society. Citizens must carry three coloured pills with them at all times, one of which has never been taken by anyone Cassia knows but which is the subject of a number of rumours. And, perhaps most desolately of all, cultural artefacts are carefully controlled. There are only one hundred poems in existence, only one hundred songs and one hundred films... Even those that do exist cannot be owned, but only printed out on paper that quickly disintegrates. Unlike Panem in Suzanne Collins' The Hunger Games, this is not a state which rules through violence - but this cultural repression is terrifying in its own way. There is also something sinister about a state which appears peaceful and full of concern for its citizens (carefully tailoring meals for every individual to ensure their specific nutritional needs are met, for example), but which seems to be using that outward image to paper over secrets and details.
The world that Ally Condie creates is a rich and compelling one, which gives rise to many questions - the answers to which we assume will be revealed gradually across the trilogy. Cassia is perhaps not as strong a protagonist as her equivalent in The Hunger Games, Katniss - I didn't have such a clear image of Cassia's appearance, and I don't think she is so straightforwardly sympathetic. But Ally Condie does a good job of getting inside her head and portraying her conflicting emotions and priorities. In a continuation of the parallels with The Hunger Games, Cassia finds herself torn between two male characters, neither of whom she has a straightforward relationship with. Both Xander and Ky are likeable and not without an air of intrigue, so I did find myself empathising with Cassia's dilemma.
Her choice between conforming and rebelling is a difficult one - more so than it is for Katniss. In The Hunger Games, any rebellion is punished with violence or even death. It's horrific but it's known. In Matched, the fate of those who resist or rebel is less clear. Banishment seems likely, but to where and to do what? Are the red pills involved in punishment, and what do they do? There is a very strong sense that the Society does not tell people everything, that behind the veneer of concern and progress are numerous, dark secrets. Again, this is very different from the Capitol in The Hunger Games, which does not shy away from telling citizens exactly why tributes are sent into the Games and what fate awaits them there. For me, this secretive world of unknowns is perhaps more terrifying and makes Cassia's decisions that bit more difficult.
Matched does move at a slower pace than some other young adult fiction like The Hunger Games, Twilight and Harry Potter. It also has a strong romantic thread running through it, so (like Twilight, although to a lesser extent) might be more popular amongst female readers than male. But it's definitely worth a read if you're a fan of dystopian fiction.