Book Report: Our highly scientific analysis of a book, from the characters to the writing style to the swoon. See More...

Life Clocks Are a Lie! Carousel Is a Lie! THERE IS NO RENEWAL!

Jenny finds a good match in Matched by Ally Condie.

Life Clocks Are a Lie! Carousel Is a Lie! THERE IS NO RENEWAL!

BOOK REPORT for Matched (Matched Book 1) by Ally Condie

BFF Charm: Yay
Swoonworthy Scale: 4
Talky Talk: A Throwback to Piers Anthony and the Like
Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude, The Human Spirit, Good Old Dystopia
Relationship Status: A Surprisingly Good Match

The Deal:

Cassia lives a pretty charmed life. Both of her parents have great jobs working for the Society, she enjoys listening to the hundred songs and reading the hundred poems, (the Society picked the 100 best of each form of art, and destroyed all the rest, because too much choice just brought confusion and muddled the human mind, don't ya' know...) and she knows she's going to have a long, healthy life, never having to witness distasteful things like sickness and poverty. All thanks to the Society.

She also knows that she's about to meet her Society-picked Match-- the one person in all the world who the Society has calculated will be her very best partner. Imagine her delight when the Society reveals that her Match is Xander, her very best friend! So when Cassia reluctantly slips the data card containing everything she'd ever need to know about her Match into her reader at home, thinking she already knows everything about Xander, she is in for a big surprise. Not only does Xander's bio come on the screen, but, just for a second, another face appears: The face of a boy named Ky Markham.

Has the Society made a mistake? Was it just some strange glitch? Or are there other forces at work? As Cassia's faith in the all-knowing, all-seeing Society is shaken, she begins to look inside herself, and before long, she's questioning everthing she's ever believed.

BFF Charm: Yay

I'll admit, I didn't like Cassia at first. When she was all 'what's my Match banquet going to be like?', 'who will my Match be?', 'will my Match be handsome?' and 'will my Match think I'm pretty?' I really pulled a Fred Savage, and MY question was 'is this girl one of those 'I've been waiting my WHOLE life for this day, this one perfect day, the day I finally become HIS?!!!' type-girls? Because if it is, I'm going to be chucking this book into the recycling bin. (On a terrible side-note, I was actually quoting a woman I once knew just there. My response was 'then what are you going to look forward to the rest of your life?' I was resolutely ignored.)

Anyway, I maybe should have had more faith in Ally Condie, because Cassia grew up A LOT, in this book. She did it slowly, like ya' do, but she did it. And by the end, I would have been proud to call her my BFF.

I would also have extended that invitation to Xander. Kudos to Condie for writing the boy you were 'supposed' to be with, and making him interesting, sweet, and not even a little douchey.

Swoonworthy Scale: 4

Despite my fears early on, this book really didn't turn out to be so much of a romance as it was a story about self-discovery and questioning what's going on in the world around you. And, in a world where everyone is VERY calm, and 'choice' --and the passion that comes with it-- isn't a concept that's been around for generations, it's foreign to Cassia, even as she tries to take control of her own life.

That said, both Xander and Ky had their good points, and Cassia's feelings for both of them, as she discovers just how tricksy the Society is, were crafted in a refreshingly non-typical-love-triangle way.

Talky Talk: A Throwback to Piers Anthony and the Like

I don't know about you, but my YA years consisted of a steady diet of authors like Anthony and Asimov. Condie's book reminded me much of those old sci-fi stories, where the tale unfolds slowly, methodicaly, so that your heart isn't so much pounding with suspense, but that you find yourself chilled to the bone.

Bonus Factor: Mysterious Loner Dude

Ky is in Cassia's group of friends, yet he's always apart, and island. Although my adult self kind of thought his drawings and poetry were la-hame, I could def. see how he might win the swoon award for the tortured soul, and rightly so.

Bonus Factor: The Human Spirit

We all need to be reminded every now and then that the human spirit can rise above its circumstances and shake its fist in the faces of its captors.

Bonus Factor: Good Old Dystopia

It seems that a lot of the Dystopia around today is CLEARLY dystopia, so this book was refreshing with its 'lalala, we live in a perfect society...WAIT, WHAT?!!!!!'

Casting Call:

The character of Cassia needs to be able to be pretty, but like a statue at times. I can think of no one better than Miss China Doll herself:

Lily Cole as Cassia

And since we haven't seen him in a while, let's give him some work, yes?

Thomas Dekker as Ky

And nobody can pull off an ex-I-want-to-hug better than:

Zach Roerig as Xander

Relationship Status: A Surprisingly Good Match

I was dubious when this book's face flashed across the screen at my Match Banquet. I mean, maybe the Society had made a mistake? But by the time I had finished reading the book's bio, and my reader had ejected its information card, I was pleased, if not head-over-heels. It turns out we have a lot in common, and I think the book will challenge me to always do my best and be a good person. I actually believe we have a 95% certainty of a happy life together. Thanks, Society!

FTC Full Disclosure: My review copy was a free book I received from Dutton Books. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!). Matched will be available November, 2010.

We have a copy of this book to give away! One lucky commenter will be chosen at random, so be sure to subscribe to the comments!

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
K