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September 2, 2011


Matched by Ally Condie

Speak; Reprint edition (September 20, 2011)

Just so you know…I stayed up way too late two nights ago to finish this, and look, I’m already posting about it! I think I deserve extra credit for my promptness!

Summary: Imagine life where all your choices were made for you: what you eat, what you wear, how you spend your time…What? That sounds a lot like school to you? What if the government decided what job you would have, where you would live, who you would marry, and even when you would die?

Cassia lives in a future where most diseases have been eliminated and everyone leads fairly worry-free life. At 17, Cassia’s biggest concern is who the Society has chosen for her to marry in a few years. Cassia is thrilled when she is unexpectedly “matched” with her childhood friend, Xander. However, he may not be the only one the Society has in mind for her. Cassia will have to decide whether to do what is expected of her or to break some rules to find out what else her life could have in store for her.


The Good: I generally love post-apocalyptic* science fiction. As with other books along these lines,  like The Uglies series by Scott Westerfield or The Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins, the government has run amok and  is overly controlling of people’s lives. I am usually a rule follower, but I definitely have a rebellious side (I’m not a big fan of following pointless rules).  I love that Cassia, who starts off accepting the Society’s plan for her life, realizes that there is more beauty in the world than the government wants her to see.


The Bad: I am a little tired of “love triangle” books (and yes, this one has a major love triangle). I think this is exactly what a lot of my students will like about the book, but in my advanced age, I just was not in the mood for it. It took a while for Cassia to get through the “lovey-dovey” stage and start being more adventurous and that was when the book picked up for me. If you like a good love triangle, you will adore this book. If not, bear with it, the action does pick up (and this will not keep me from reading the sequel, Crossed…I have to see how this turns out!).


The Ugly: This is a pretty chaste book. Society would not allow any outpouring of strong emotion! There are a couple of kisses (and I think there are literally, a two…okay…maybe three). I don’t recall any swearing.  There is a little violence, but it is minimal.


The Awesome: As I alluded to in “The Good,” I love how Cassia starts to see the true beauty in the world when she looks beyond what the Society wants her to see. While this does not seem good on the surface, I was really bothered by the thought that there could be a future like the one described in Matched. I really did worry at times that society could evolve to such a state that individual choice was nonexistent. Any book that boarders between an outrageous view of the future and being just believable enough that it could come true will get my attention!

* That’s a great big term that means a war or something else really bad has happened and society has changed drastically because of it.

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