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Title: Matched (Matched, #1)
Author: Ally Condie
Published By: Dutton Juvenile (2010)
In the Society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion. (Taken from Goodreads)
When I first read Matched, I somewhat enjoyed it. Cassia, a 17-year-old, goes to the Matching Banquet/Ceremony and finds out she’s Matched—designated to be married—to her best friend Xander. But then she sees another boy’s face before the screen fades. They tell her it’s a glitch, but she’s not so sure. Suddenly now Cassia is on a desperate, life-risking, lovestruck, amazing, and touching journey to figure out who she should be with and who she loves. (By the way, I was being sarcastic in the last sentence. That’s how the book is portrayed, not how I felt about it.)
The aspect of the Society that controls everything is a fantastic idea and results in a great storyline. At least, I thought it was so until I read The Giver, which released more than 10 years before Matched. I discovered that the whole set for the book had pretty much been lifted right from The Giver itself. The ceremony? From Giver (the December Ceremony). The Society? From Giver (the Committee). Even the Matching part. The phrase “matching of the spouses,” appeared in The Giver first. (Needless to say, I loved the Giver—one of my favorite books of all time—so once I found out all the copying this book did, I decided I no longer liked Matched.)
Forgetting the whole copycat element: The storyline and the reading level were easy enough that a fourth or fifth grader could easily read and comprehend. For me, there was waaaaaaaaay too much romance and kissing for my taste. Yes, I get that this is what the book is about, but it was way too much. Not to mention that even though our main character and narrator, Cassia, is 17, her voice sounds no different than a twelve-year-old. The romantic scenes didn’t get inappropriate minus the constant kissing; the story itself sounds like a cute little love story, nothing more.
Lots of kissing, but nothing inappropriate or weird. It was actually surprisingly clean for being popular YA. I don’t know if I can say that about the next 2 books though—I never read them.
To sum it up:Putting the whole concept with copying The Giver aside, because I totally get that that it could be a crazy coincidence, it was really just a cute little immature love story —though clean—and really nothing more.
Recommended to: I really wouldn’t recommend it. If you love YA romances, you may like it. Probably ages 12+.