Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Book Review: Matched by Ally Condie

Title: Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Published by: Dutton Juvenile (2010)

My Rating: ✭✩✩✩✩

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.)

Negatives: 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. Seriously, where are the copyright laws when you need them? 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—my favorite book of all time—so once I found out all the copying this book did, I decided I no longer liked Matched.)

Writing: 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, love, and kissing for my taste. 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 love scenes didn’t get inappropriate minus the constant kissing; the story itself sounds like a cute little love story, nothing more.

To sum it up: If you liked The Giver, don’t read this unless you feel like getting mad at the author. Otherwise? Just remember if you read it that Matched, not The Giver, is the one that is being the copycat. (The Giver released in 1993; Matched released in 2011.)

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