I just finished reading Matched by Ally Condie, and I have such mixed feelings about it. The first half of the book reminded me of The Giver by Lois Lowry. I really love the Giver and I just wasn't feeling Matched yet. I was liking the character, Cassia, well enough. However, in the second half of the book I felt like it was a Hunger Games by Collins and Eclipse by Meyers because of Cassia's struggle with choosing a boy. The second half of the book bugs me just a bit.
I'm not saying the book was bad; I liked it well enough. It wasn't a constant page turner, but it never really dragged too much. I think I was most annoyed with the main character's, Cassia, struggle with her actions/decision on choosing a boy. However, let's start at the beginning. This book is set in a futuristic time period, where the society makes a lot of the decisions for the individuals. The society sends you food that is best for your body. No cookies or cakes for them on a regular basis. That would definitely be a no bueno for me. After the age of 17, all (if they are allowed and haven't chosen to be single) get matched to their ideal mate. The society chooses them, and rarely does one get matched with someone he/she knows. Those getting matched get to go to a fancy banquet, wear a fancy dress (when one wears "plainclothes" every other day) or suit, and enjoy good food including cake. Then, one by one individuals get matched up. Cassia ends up getting matched with her best friend whom she has grown up with. She is incredibly excited, and trusts that the society officials has chosen the match that is best for her, because the match never gets one wrong. Cassia's match is a really, really great guy. I really like him. I think this is what bugs me with the rest of the book.
The conflict arises when Cassia begins to doubt her "match" and begins to be quite interested in another boy. This other boy isn't bad, he just is a different kind of guy. He's quite shy, reserved, and definitely has a past. Cassia struggles in the rest of the book with choosing; she knows she should be with her match, however, this other boy is intriguing. It's almost like he's the bad boy, though he isn't bad, just a bit of a rebel. What frustrates me the most, isn't that she can't decide, it's that she hurts her match. She waits to be honest with him, and she has no reason whatsoever not to like him. He's everything she wants, but it just doesn't seem to be good enough. I just feel really bad for the guy.
My mixed feelings about the book lie in that fact that I don't absolutely love the book, but I don't regret reading it. The pace and overall story line was good. It had deeper parts for the adult reader, but a younger reader wouldn't be distracted by them if they didn't understand them. I didn't think Matched was incredibly original, but it is rare for a story to be completely unique. I did think Cassia's struggle with choosing dragged on a bit long for me. I just wanted her to decide. Overall, it's a good read, though it's not one of my all time favorites.
For those that love it, it is the first in a trilogy. At the end of Matched you clearly see how Condie is setting up the story for the next book, Crossed. Crossed is set to come out in the fall of this year.
Definitely let me know your thoughts on the book. If I am being picky and foofy then call me on it. I just write these reviews to share my own opinion. For the record though, the book is completely clean. Check out Ally Condie's website if you are interested to know more about her and her books.