Matched by Allie Condie
The Synopsis from dust cover:
In the society, officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die. Cassia has always trusted their choice. 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 ever known and a path no one else has ever dared to follow - between perfection and passion.
When I saw the cover for Allie Condie's Matched I was instantly drawn to it. The cover is simple and yet intriguing. I now know, after reading the book that the cover was the perfect choice, since in the one picture it interests and yet confuses people.
I found that that is what this book did to me. Though Allie Condie has excellent writing skills, the story line jumped all around. I am one of those people that absolutely love dystopian societies. For instance, I already did a review on Veronica Roth`s Divergent, and Suzanne Collin`s The Hunger Games. However, what was different about those books was that you could actually understand what was happening. With Matched, I found myself confused within the first two pages.
To show you just how confused I was, I am going to show you a little system that my English teacher suggested using. When you are reading a book, use stickie notes to make notes in the book. Keep them along three concepts. Questions, Predictions, and Comments
In the first 100 pages of Matched, these were the stickies I had:
Some of the comments included things like:
"Allie Condie got right to the point of the title.”I've waited so long for my Match Banquet. Where I'll see, for the first time, the face of the boy who will be my Match." " I admire the fact that Allie Condie didn't waste any time on getting to the point, although, it didn't explain really what the Match Banquet is, it at least helped explain the title.
A second comment I had was
"Why are these 'tablets' so important?” 'Someone has lost their tablet container. Please, stand completely still and do not speak until we locate it.' Everyone stops immediately. I hear the clatter of dice and a soft thud as someone, perhaps Xander, puts down a game piece. Then all is quiet. No one moves. A lost container is a serious matter." " When I read this part of Matched, I was confused. Why are "tablets" so important? We learn a little later that there are 3 tablets people carry, they are distributed by officials, and are there to help the citizens. I still do not understand the reason to carry these tablets, even after finishing the novel.
The one and only prediction I had was from page 18. The quote is
"The tiny feeling of loss deep inside my heart surprises me. My peers will spend the next few days swooning over pictures of their Matches, bragging about them during meal hour at school, waiting for more and more bits of information to be revealed. Anticipating their first meeting, their second meeting and so on. That mystery does not exist for Xander and me. I won't wonder what he is like or daydream about our first meeting."
When I read this, I immediately thought "This is going to backfire" by that I meant Xander and Cassia's match. I just had a sneaking suspicion that something was going to happen. Cassia was going to realize that they didn't love each other, or something along that line. I felt that the plot seemed to lie itself out in front of me after that, it seems to be a typical YA story line.
Finally, some of my questions!
First question that I had was on page 6.
"What are these tablets for? " Now, I use it to hold the three emergency tablets that everyone carries -- one green, one blue, one red." " That information about the tablets was just tossed in, no former information. It threw me off, because it seemed so out there. Tablets? Do they keep you alive? A red tablet, that seems to advertise death.
A second question I had was a little later on. I did have other questions (many other) in-between, but this one seemed really strange.
“Die when 80?? WHAT?! "Today is Sunday. Grandfather's eightieth birthday, so tonight he will die." " That statement really threw me off. Why would someone die at age 80? What happened to people like my Great Aunt who is 107? One reason it really shocked me was because I realized that that would mean that I wouldn't have my Grampa (no, that isn't spelt wrong. Well it kind of is, but that is how I spell it. Just like I spell "Grandma" Gramma.) right now. He would be dead, since he is 88 or 89 (I cannot remember).
The last question I will comment on is from even later in the book.
"Why does everything matter so much in the society?? " I jump up. I tense my muscles and spring at just the right time and I hit the tracker running. Pound. Pound. Pound pound pound. My knees and elbows stream blood and I have tears in my eyes, but I am still going. The plainclothes will hide my wounds tomorrow and no one will ever know that I fell. No one will ever know what happened until it is too late." This passage showed me that the officials in the society have everyone under really tight lock and key. If someone might get in trouble for falling off a tracker (I assume that this is like a treadmill) then something is seriously wrong with this society. It irritates me that I couldn't mess up while exercising, because everybody does normally, but to have that threat of getting in trouble hanging over me, it would make it even worse.
All in all, this book definitely wasn't my favourite. It was confusing all the way through, and the story line jumped around all over the place. The only part of the story that I actually genuinely liked was the quality of writing itself. The main thing that I found irritating about this book is that the ending made me really want to read the next in the series. When it is a book like this one, that I found confusing, I don't always feel like reading a sequel, because it will probably be just as confusing. In this case, when I realized that I now feel a need to find out what happens next, that really annoyed me.