Monday, March 11, 2013

Look Ma, It's a Book Review - Matched by Ally Condie

I'm gonna full on admit to having a love of teen fiction.

I love it in all it's girlie dramatics and overblown emotions.

It's like watching a John Huges movie as an adult.

I had come across Ally Condi's Matched series before but hadn't read it.  So when Katie over at Words for Worms mentioned it to me, I added it to my ever spawning "to read" list.

Now Katie had a love hate relationship with the entire series because she felt it borrowed too heavily from a lot of other books.  And that's very true.  But after reading her review I made every attempt to read Matched without the prejudice of comparing it to a dozen other teen books.

And here's my spin on it.

Imagine living in a society where the government controls everything about you.  What you wear, what you eat, where you work, what you learn, who you marry, how many children you have and when you die.  They monitor everything from your dreams to your conversations to your heart rate as you exercise.

Communism ain't got shit on these guys.

Now imagine being a teenage girl.  When you turn 17 your name and information is dumped into a database alongside all the boys your age from your town and the surrounding towns.  After analyzing your info, the database spits out your MATCH.  Who you're most ideally suited for.  You go to a ball, your match is announced and TA DA, you're gonna fall in love with this person and live a perfectly statistically acceptable life with 2 children, a job and an eventual death at the age 80 when the government essentially murders you before you can get sick or become senile.  Everything is all worked out for you.

Problem is that for Cassia (the main character), the database spits out 2 matches. One of them being her bestest friend EVER, Xander.  And the other being Ky.  Another problem is that the officials say that Ky was a computer glitch and wasn't supposed to be in the pool to begin with. So she should just forget that he exists.  Xander is her ideal mate.  And she loves him.  But part of her starts to wonder about Ky.  Is he REALLY her ideal mate and the officials are just saying no because he's not allowed to have a match because of some shitty rule?

So being the stupid teenager that she is, Cassia starts to focus all her attention on Ky and low and behold they both fall in love with each other.

Yes it's cliched and yes there's not much that's overly original about the plot.  And trust me, there's lots of teenage angst and dramatics.

But here's what caught my attention.

The question comes up on whether love is a result of nature or nurture.  Cassia loves Xander.  She's know him her entire life and they are close friends.  On paper they probably are the ideal match.  But then if Xander was so perfect for her, why does she feel drawn towards Ky?  Is it simply curiosity?  Does she feel drawn to him simply because he popped up as her match?  If that was the case then she would feel just as drawn to Xander right?  I mean he's her match too.  But then again, she knows Xander inside and out.  There's no novelty there.  And yet she's willing to sacrifice everything just to get to know Ky.

Now what if Ky were allowed to legitimately be put into the matching pool?  Would he have ended up her one and only match?  Maybe. We will never know.  But the question still exists.  Does she love Ky just because some computer says she should?  Or does she love him because he really is perfect for her?

Girlie is stuck between a rock and a hard place for sure.

I'm looking forward to reading the other 2 books in the series.

Cheers,

Ash


11 comments:

  1. I read the first book of the series when it first came out and thought it was okay, but I've not been pulled in enough to go back to read the follow up books. It's one of the YA series that all runs together in my mind, along with another series that I can't remember offhand...Delirium maybe? Not the same plot, but for some reason they get confused in my head. I did the same thing with that one..read the first one, didn't go back for the others!

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    1. You're thinking Divergent. Yes they're very similar and it wasn't a GREAT book. But I didn't hate it either. There were certain things I liked and a lot I recognized as borrowed from other books.

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    2. No, I actually didn't try to read Divergent. I think a lot of these YA series run together in my mind even if the plots are totally different. :p

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    3. It does all blend together.

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  2. Interesting point! Personally, I think the whole matching thing, while it does typically produce loving and stable partnerships, is designed to do just that- create the couple that will be best for the society without the people in it rioting. So. Was Xander perfect for Cassia in a schmoopy love way? Probably not. Is Ky either? Hard to say. Forbidden fruit and all. I'll be interested to hear your take on the rest of the series! :)

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    1. I totally agree. I think the whole Matching program just pushes people together that wont' rock the boat. Nobody will be miserable because on paper they're perfect for eachother but they're not going to necessarily all be happy and smoochy. I think they mostly convince themselves they are.

      I'm about 100 pages into Reached and I do kinda want to slap her. I mean when Xander came to visit I'm like hun, you're treating an awesome dude like crap and that's not cool because he loves you and does all this stuff for you and you essentially use him to get closer to another guy.

      Bah. Teenagers!!!

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    2. Sorry just started Crossed. Same shit different colored cover ;)

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  3. I started reading this one but it became too much like the Hunger Games Peta VS Gale dilemma for me. I keep meaning to go back to it but keep getting sucked away by other books. Maybe I'll give the series another shot this summer :-)

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    1. It's fluff. Teen angst fluff. The Hunger Games is totally written better but then again, I've read worse.

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  4. Why can't a computer give me my perfect match?? Would make my life so much easier. I don't need all the other stuff though. I will die when I do, not when they say I will. But eating what they tell me to might help me out when I stare into the fridge and nothing seems appealing to me, so I skip eating. Lol, looks like I am adding another book to my nook tonight!!

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  5. A great YA fiction series is the Steladaur series by Shari Whyte. We are in the middle of the 3rd book Finding Tir Na Nog. It's captivating really, a fantasy YA Fiction based in the Pacific Northwest, but NOT a Twilight type read. Just a recommendation if anyone is looking for a great book series! Those are my favorite kinds lately, stelladaur.com for the book information. There is also an online scholarship academy that the author runs, a cool aspect realted to the books themselves.

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