Matched by Ally Condie
Book review by Hannah White
Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander’s face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate… until she sees Ky Markham’s face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it’s a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she’s destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can’t stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society’s infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
Have you ever complained about your parents telling you what to do or what to be? Who to become and who to marry? Everyone wants to be their own person, but that’s not how things are in Ally Condie’s book Matched, the first of the dystopian series, that has everyone’s life set ahead and planned out so everybody in the Society will live the same equal long life. This book leaves you on the egde of your seat, wondering what’s going to happen next. Not being able to put the book down from the moment I had started it, I mostly enjoyed the setting, themes, and word characterization.
I mostly enjoyed the setting because Cassia is basically rebellious, and in that book everybody’s afraid to go against the Society’s rules. She basically asks herself why they have to choose her life for her, why can’t she just choose herself? You can’t help who you fall in love with, and that’s what I like most about this. You reach your seventeenth birthday and you go to a banquet where you will recieve a box filled with information of the person you’ll be marrying and dates that will be scheduled between the two of you. They match you up with the person that they believe will be the best for you, which is honestly ridiculous. We never know right from wrong unless we base our perspectives upon our mistakes, and that’s not what Matched is. When Cassia puts her card in to learn about her new match, someone else’s face comes up on the screen other than the person they had given her at the banquet. From that point on, she questioned the Society and everything it was about. She became rebellious, and that’s my favorite part of this book, because she was doing everything she wasn’t supposed to, simply for love.
“Is falling in love with someone’s story the same thing as falling in love with the person himself?” The theme is something that I could sit down and discuss for hours on hours end, because it’s something that lots of people stuggle with even today. In this book, the main theme is basically letting everyone know that their choices will be planned ahead safely for them. Everyone follows the rules in Matched, because the Society has everyone brainwashed into thinking that if it wasn’t for them, their life wouldn’t be as great as it is. Cassia falls in love with the person she wasn’t supposed to, and that person was never meant to be matched to begin with. We’ve all been told what to do, who to see, or even what to be when we grow up. You know how in some places, royalty basically tells you who you’re going to marry, just because they’re also royal and they feel as if two royalties make it safest? The thing is, nobody in the book has a say in who they fall in love with. If you don’t follow rules, bad things will happen. Nobody can fall in love with another person on command. It takes time and it takes effort, and I never really understood why somebody would want to stay there and follow the rules if they’re not even living their own life. Everything is planned ahead for them, and if it were me, I’d want my life to be spontaneous. Not planned.
There’s not many people that can connect with people whenever it’s a dystopian novel, but Cassia’s characterization was my absolute favorite thing about this book. The way she thought and felt about things, and the way Ally worded the things she thought and felt made it that much better. There’s not many authors that know how to make the reader feel like they know the person in reality. With Cassia, I felt like she was my best friend, because she tries to follow the rules, but she realized along the way that she can’t follow the rules whenever she’s in love with somebody she’s not supposed to be, and I understand what she felt. Lots of people do crazy things for love, but with Cassia, she changed her entire life around and hurt her best friend because she fell in love with what Society thought to believe was the wrong person. Cassia came out to be immensly smart enough to figure out what they were really doing, even if she was doing it ways she wasn’t supposed to. Her thoughts were always going, and she was always either stressed or thinking about a way to help her situation, and that’s why I related to her mostly. She wasn’t selfish with anything, but she didn’t want to get up the things that she loved just because lying authorities told her to.
Overall, I really enjoyed the novel and I’m hoping to finish the series sometime soon. I want to know if Cassia finds Ky and becomes herself without somebody telling her she can’t. I would recommend this book to the kind of students who are afraid to live their own life because they’re afraid of doing something wrong or disappointing somebody they care about. Cassia is somebody that I’d like to be like, because she’s herself, and not what anybody tells her to be. I believe that Ally Condie has caught many young teens hearts throughout the book with her amazing ability to write setting, theme, and characterization in her book series Matched.