Matched is a kinder, gentler dystopian novel.
The society seems like such a nice place to live, with all those difficult decisions like who to marry and what job you should do being decided by those that have all the information to make the right decision. This leaves you free to worry about what dress you’ll wear for your big Matching ceremony and to figure out how to spend your small, precious amounts of recreational time.
Cassia had never really questioned any of this, even when her grandfather encourages her not to use the green pill that all citizens carry, just in case they need a little help to calm themselves. Being Matched with her best fried was unusual, but made perfect sense.
What didn’t make sense was when she fired up the information chip she was given, and instead of seeing Xander, she sees Ky, another boy she knows.
As she attempts to make sense of this, she starts noticing more about the world around her, and her sorting skills point out patterns that have her thinking maybe those in charge don’t always know best.
I liked Matched because it was a good balance: a fun, readable book with some thought provoking themes. I enjoyed seeing Cassia emerge from the sheltered childhood that many adults also share in her world. She was a smart but naive girl, willing to use her brains to explore the limitations of her world, once she was given a reason to do so.
None of the other characters were fully fleshed out, including the love interest that motivates her growth. I was OK with that, since they just needed to provide a framework for Cassia to work within. It would have been nice to see a little more deeply into Cassia’s friends– why she liked them, what they were thinking at this time of their lives
I’m not quite sure this qualifies as a dystopian novel (although sequels may be more clearly seen as such)– certainly, it is dystopia lite, or dystopia for beginners. Wikipedia isn’t all that helpful on the fine distinctions of literary classifications.
However it is classified, I thought it was an enjoyable, not purely fluffy read.
After I finished, I handed my copy to my 12 year old daughter, thinking she would love it. She did enjoy it (and also gave it 4 stars out of 5), but not as much as I expected. She said that after a while, it started to remind her of Pretties, which annoyed her, and that got in the way of her appreciation of Matched.
I picked up Matched while at BEA. My copy was provided by the publisher, and I appreciate the opportunity to read and review it.