Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie
Cassia is excited for her matching day which falls right on her 17th birthday. She is surprised, but happy when her childhood friend, Xander, is selected as her perfect match. She wants to do the right thing and fit into her place in the Society. She is later confused when she sees a second image flash on her screen, another acquaintance, Ky Markham, as being her match. This moment acts as the catalyst for her personal journey of discovering choice.
Adult Point of View
I was very pleased with Matched on several levels. The writing style and story development was subtle. I enjoyed how the details of the Society came out through the social interactions of the characters rather than as a catalog of facts. Only a few of the characters were developed substantially, but that helped me focus on the most important characters who moved the action forward. Also the emptiness of some characters emphasised how people become striped of their personality when they lack the free will to make their own choices. Matched is filled with feelings of anticipation which keep the reader interested rather than overt violence or sexuality.
Any new YA dystopian novel will be compared to The Hunger Games, and there are some superficial similarities, such as, a female protagonist and a love triangle. However, the differences in the structure of the government are very different. For this reason Matched stands on its own and is not a rip off of The Hunger Games.
There are also some similarities to The Giver. In Matched there is an age limit that is considered useful for society. Matched has a softer rhythm which makes it seem more plausible and in a sense more deeply threatening. Finally, there are also similarities to Brave New World. Brave New World isn’t concerned about love and marriage, but completely controls reproduction. Ultimately Matched is also controlling how people will live and reproduce.
Modern novels generally are less descriptive and use shorter sentence structure and the voice is less passive. Because of these qualities most young readers will find Matched more gripping than an older piece like Brave New World. It is entirely possible that Matched will be considered a modern classic. I have seen Matched compared to Uglies. I like both novels and recommend both to middle-graders because they are books that make you think. Both of these novels talk about how young girls perceive themselves.
There is definitely more room for dystopian novels because it is a genre that speaks to teens in their growing awareness of their own world.
4 out of 5 stars
– the Mother
Teen Point of View
I thought Matched was a very gripping book. I couldn’t stop reading. I loved how the characters changed as you got to known them more and more. I am waiting for the next book with high expectations. I loved how she related to the poems. I think this book is a wonderful book for girls mostly because it is so romantic. It would be good for boys too, maybe… I think it is a wonderful book, I give it five stars. Every teen should read this.
– the Daughter
Book Review : Crossed by Ally Condie
Xander is able to visit Cassia, as her match, and go on a chaperoned date where Cassia trades for information. She doesn’t get what she initially was hoping for but, instead, learns about the Pilot being the leader of the Rising, a faction rebelling against the Society. When a few of the girls are called to go to the Outer Provinces Cassia takes the opportunity to orchestrate her own passage out of the work camp.
Ky and Vick know they are living a farce engineered by the Society, and the Outer Provinces is really a death warrant. Ky rewires the blank guns to work again, and uses an attack from the Enemy to escape with Vick and Eli into the Canyon.
Cassia, with the help of Indie, quickly make their own escape into the Canyon where Cassia begins to see signs of Ky. Upon being reunited, Ky and Cassia feel a great happiness, but that happiness is marred by so many factors. They are plagued by their past, the Rising and Society. Cassia must follow her dreams and Ky doesn’t know if he can follow.
Adult Point of View
I love how Condie has used poetry in Matched and Crossed because it introduces valuable literature to young adults. At first I thought it strange to combine the beauty of poetry with a dystopian world, however, it also makes sense because restrictive societies repress the arts. Poetry becomes the perfect means of rebellion.
I also enjoy the lyrical quality to Condie’s writing. I love the vivid descriptions of the Canyon and details of the landscape. There is a jarring difference in the beauty of the writing against the background of senseless violence, which highlights how wrong it is that so many innocent people are dying. Reading Crossed is a bit like traveling along a wide river, it is beautiful and leisurely. I did have to pay close attention since the voice flips back and forth from Ky and Cassia to know who was speaking.
Even though I am tired of love triangles in ya novels, this particular love triangle works fairly well. Ky and Xander seem very similar, one more refined by society and other rough edged. Neither of the boys are overtly antagonistic to their rival, and actually respect each other which is refreshing. Thankfully Cassia is not whiny! I am intrigued by Indie because she is holding back her motivations for her actions, why does she want to be part of the Rising? Crossed is quite self-reflective for Cassia and Ky, giving us a better view of their inner workings and might give us a clue to their future actions. Who will Cassia finally choose?
I was hoping to have a better understanding of the mechanisms of the Society, who the Enemy are that they are fighting and a sense of the goals of the Rising. I have even wondered if the Enemy is a fabrication of the Society in their quest to gather data to prevent death. The Enemies attacks don’t make sense from a strategic point of view.
I enjoyed Crossed though not as much as Matched, and I was hoping the action would move forward a little bit more. I will look forward to the next novel.
3.25 out of 5 stars
– the Mother
Teen Point of View
I loved this book. It was beautifully written and had a wonderful story line. I love this author sooo much! I can’t wait for the next book. This is a series I suggest for all teenage girls who love a romance with some action.
4.5 out of 5
– the Teen
“Reached” – Does the “Matched” Series Come to a Satisfactory Conclusion?
Book Review : Reached by Ally Condie
Cassia and Ky have found the Rising, but they have each been assigned different roles and are separated again. Cassia has been sent back into the Society to continue sorting waiting for a unique sort that the Rising will send to her. Ky has been trained to fly planes and awaits the day when the Pilot will call for the Rising to reveal itself to Society. Xander is now trained as a physic and is also part of the Rising.
The rebellion seems to run smoothly as the Rising moves against Society until the plague mutates and there is no sure. Cassia, Ky and Xander all fall under suspicion of treason and have to find a way to redeem themselves, and save the remains of all they know.
Adult Point of View
I have been considering what I actually thought of Reached for several days prior to writing this review. I didn’t love it, but I liked it more than Crossed. The real problem is that I loved Matched so much that the other books in this series have not lived up to the first. Reached is filled with poetry and esoteric values that I enjoyed. The sentence structure is simple and clean which I believe can be justified in that Society has limited independent thinking through a narrow scope of reference (like the 100 songs, 100 paintings, 100 science lessons, ect.). I like Cassia as a character, but I don’t feel like she has a lot of growth in this book. Xander actually changes and develops the most as he comes to understand his own moral compass that he must work for a cure to the mutated plague even if it means he cannot pursue Cassia.
I was bothered that the point of view flipped between the three main characters and had to periodically verify which character was speaking. The climax of Reached hits quickly when the Rising is successful in taking over the Society, and then the rest of the book centers on solving the mutated illness. I was not very happy when I read that there was a rampant disease taking over because I was instantly reminded of The Maze Runner series. When it is revealed that the Society was aware of the Rising, and embraced the revolution to remain in power as the governing force, I was very discouraged feeling as though everything leading up to the Rising was futile. Somehow this line of reasoning reminded me of the Foundation series by Asimov. Finally, I was glad that questions were answered, but as the same time I felt like everything was tied up a little too neatly. Examples would include, Cassia had changed the pool for her Match adding Ky under the direction of the Rising, that Nea Lei was Laney, whose love had died and is now the new love interest for Xander, Ky’s cousin had not died but had left for the Otherlands and that Cassia’s great grandmother had been the Pilot. I was satisfied that the ending did not resolve the final vote on who would be the new ruling “president” to reform their civilization.
3.5 out of 5 stars
The Teen is reading this novel and will add in her perspective when she has the chance. Check back for her addition.