Matched by Ally Condie: It's A Little Like A Lot

February 26, 2013 Coming of Age, Dystopian, Young Adult Fiction 38

Hi Bookworms,

Remember when I promised to read Matched by Ally Condie? Let it never be said that Katie does not keep her promises! Matched is the first book of a young adult dystopian trilogy. We begin the story with Cassia, a 16 year old girl on her way to her Match Banquet. The Match Banquet is like a cross between a debutant ball and an arranged marriage ceremony (you’ll be disappointed to hear, fans of Gilmore Girls, that there was no fan dance. Not entirely a debutant ball, then.)

Yeah, so the Society in which our story is set is a bit of a mashup of those in The Giver, Brave New World, 1984,The Hunger Games and basically every dystopian novel ever. That sounds really bitchy, but let’s be realistic. The scenario laid out in this book is pretty derivative. Fortunately, I can’t get enough of this genre, so I don’t mind terribly much.


Cassia wears this pretty green dress to her Match ceremony.

Our heroine Cassia is put into a tricky predicament when her Match and BFF Xander may NOT in fact be her Match. She’s given a card that shows her not Xander’s handsome mug, but the beautiful face of the mysterious Ky Markham. (Are you seeing the Hunger Games-esque love triangle forming?) It’s all so angsty and confusing!

This society also has PILLS (like The Giver) but these pills aren’t for repressing feelings and sexuality. The blue pills are a nutrition supplement to be used in case of emergency. The green pills are to calm one down (cough cough SOMA cough.) The red pills are to wake up from the Matrix a mystery. The Society not only chooses your mate, they also give you personalized meals, monitor your exercise, and determine your choice in career. You die (whether you want to or not) on your 80th birthday and you have children at the proscribed time… (You can’t have a kid after 31. You’re supposed to have them when you’re around 24. Because SCIENCE. But. Eff, you, Science. If I decide to have babies after my 31st birthday, it’s none of your beeswax, mmmkay?)

Hey Society, you and me would be having WORDS.

Hey Society, you and me would be having WORDS… for Worms. Don’t worry. I smacked myself for that one.

Pretty much the whole book revolves around Cassia’s confusion in falling for Ky in spite of her affection for Xander. Being adored by two boys is HARD. I guess. I wouldn’t know. Boys weren’t lining up to take me out when I was 16. Pfft. The further Cassia gets into her love life drama, the more the oppression of the Society begins to show. Cracks form, rules are broken, craziness happens. Oh. And they all RAGE AGAINST THE DYING OF THE LIGHT. I mean. I dig Dylan Thomas, but this poem always reminds me of Dangerous Minds, and then I get “Gangsta’s Paradise” stuck in my head, and I’m forced to rock out.

So bookworms, who’s read this? Did you find it to be a mash-up of what’s gone before, or is my inner crotchety old man coming out?

38 Responses to “Matched by Ally Condie: It's A Little Like A Lot”

  1. Ech

    I just got a notification from the library that my copy of Match came in. I’m super interested in seeing how I like it (or don’t).

  2. Cindy

    Yet another YA dystopian book to add to my list. This one sounds interesting. I just started Delirium, I seem to be reading only YA books lately. I’ve decided it’s not weird for a 41-year old woman to be reading YA – I’m doing research for when my daughter is old enough to read them!

    • Words for Worms

      Lots of adults love YA! There are a billion YA-centric book blogs out there and very few are written by teenagers. It’s accessible literature and we’ve all BEEN teenagers. Those feelings don’t go away, you know? Ain’t no shame in it!

  3. Ech

    I just got an email from the library saying that my copy of Matched came in. I’m super excited to see how I like it (or don’t).

  4. ashley

    I read the series. Yes, its a lot of the YA dystopia all balled into one. It does kind of turn though in the last book. All in all it does remind me a bit of the Giver. (PS- read Divergent! Lol)

  5. liese0409

    I read the first book and I loved ist, but the libary does not have the other two books of the series. i guess i need to buy it… Died you read the whole series yet, or just the first book?

    • Words for Worms

      I’m almost done with book 2. Now. It’s a lot different than book 1. Not sure how I feel yet, but I am sure that now I’m invested enough to finish the darn series! 🙂

  6. Sarah Says Read

    I read this and it was interesting… like you said, it ripped off of a lot of stuff but it was good. Buuuuutt I never went on to the sequel, and I eventually gave away my copy of Matched. So I guess I didn’t love it. But I WILL be relying on your reviews of the sequels to satisfy my curiousity as to what happens!

  7. Adam Byerly

    I finished it a couple of weeks ago and liked it. I wouldn’t say I loved it, but liked it quite a bit. I am reading the second now. I love dystopia’s, so I’m prone to liking it, I guess.

    • Words for Worms

      Oh I love a good dystopia. They’re addictive. I just finished up Crossed, so I’ll probably post my rambling opinions on THAT later this week. Even though these books are annoying me a little (because I keep going “Hunger Games did it first!” “The Giver did it first!”) I can’t not know how they end.

      • Adam Byerly

        Yes, it does have quite a bit of overlap with Hunger Games (don’t know the Giver) …and YES, I must know how they end …i very, very rarely stop a book or series …it’s an addiction perhaps… …an obsession? …a compulsion! …that’s it, a compulsion.

  8. June

    Even though it is a LOT like other future dystopia novels, I really liked the overarching storyline in this book. The Society actually seems kind of realistic to me, and I don’t necessarily think they are the most horrible thing ever. Sure they take away most of your choices, but they aren’t making kids kill each other in some outrageous death match (I’m looking at you Hunger Games). The Society seems at least somewhat well-intentioned whereas other dystopian governments are more crazed with power and further removed from what I consider to be realistic.

    That being said, Cassia and her two lovebirds drive me crazy. I guess that’s why this book is YA – there is so much angst and teen drama. I could do with a little less of that, but the storyline makes the characters tolerable I suppose.

    • Adam Byerly

      lol, June. I agree with your first paragraph, but what made me lol is that I am digging the teenage angst …I long for a time when my emotional problems were so comparatively simple and yet so intense. …i am, i think, thru this series, becoming reacquainted with my younger self.

      • June

        Haha true, there is something enticing about immersing yourself in a story where the biggest question is “who will she choose?!” Ahh to be young again and think that the world revolves around me and my problems. It was a much simpler time. It is a little nostalgic of my high school days!

    • Words for Worms

      Oh June, I totally agree. This society is more believable, but I want to punch all 16 year old girls who think they should give up their lives for a boy! Gah!

      • June

        Agreed. But, at least Cassia is a much more bearable character than someone like Bella Swan or Ana Steele. I didn’t want to punch Cassia nearly as much as I wanted to punch those two! Lol.

  9. Rhian

    I finally read this and agree that there is not much original with the overall scenario. I do think the world Condie has created is interesting and consistent, and for the most part I could follow the logic of the rules. Though I don’t understand the reasoning about people not being able to go into each other’s houses.
    Anywho, I must admit to a bit of eye-rolling for the angsty love triangle (so not quite crochety old man) but I found it interesting enough that I will read the other two (once I’ve bought them).

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