Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie

Posted November 17, 2020 by Amber in Reviews / 2 Comments



by Ally Condie

Series: Matched #1
Publisher: Speak on November 30, 2010
Genre: Dystopia, Romance, Science Fiction
Target Age Group: Young Adult
Rating: ★★

Check out this book on Goodreads

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe.

So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander.

But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.


I first read Matched several years ago and gave it two stars… but kept the book.  When I pulled this out again from myTBR Jar, I was a bit confused as to how that happened.  I don’t typically hold onto copies of books when I give them such a low rating.  Upon rereading Matched… okay.  I get where was my head was at.

Matched is a romance first, before anything else.  The writing is stiff and clunky.  The protagonist’s personality is formed entirely around her romantic aspirations.  The world itself is what made me keep this book because at the beginning, that was really promising. Matched has been compared to The Giver and in the world building… yes, absolutely, I can see that!  At the beginning, I found myself again interested in the concept of the pills and in the structured, statistically-driven Society.  This world has shades of so many classic dystopias like Logan’s Run and 1984.  Corrupt, controlling governments are some of the more fascinating and terrifying things in dystopia, and at a conceptual level, Matched does this really well.

That is where the good stuff ends for me.

With an intriguing dystopian world and so many things fracturing in that world, to me, it’s an easy choice to address this in the plot.  Even at the end of Matched, you can have a little hope that will happen (I’ve read Crossed – it won’t happen, sorry).  Condie wrote Matched to be a love story, so if you’re interested in a dystopian love story that doesn’t address the world, not really, then this trilogy is a fit for you.  For myself, no, I want to address the sorting and the control and the mess of this world and if we did, I think I could forgive some of the other things that didn’t meet my expectations.  Alas.  A love story, it is.

Cassia, as a protagonist, is so flat.  At the beginning, this makes sense, and it’s a highly common thing in dystopias before protagonists break off and find themselves as separate from their societies and governments.  So, at the beginning, Cassia’s character was fine and her voice was fine.  But she didn’t really seem to grow.  She learned new things, but she didn’t become stronger character.  Her actions changed, but who she was as a person and a character felt stuck.  Her voice was so stiff in the beginning and I can forgive the robotic tone because she is a robot at that stage, but the mechanical delivery of the narration as well as Cassia’s very predictable behavior grated on me quickly.

I dunno, y’all.

This is such a miss for me.  I kept it because the world was intriguing, but I simply don’t enjoy romance stories, and I think the writing is unimpressive and the characters are uninteresting.  Even the love triangle isn’t really a love triangle, it’s more a relationship with a third wheel.  Having gone on in the series, I know that this stays a romance and I’m not interested in holding on to that false hope any longer.  So long, farewell, Matched.

Ratings Breakdown

Setting: ★★★★
Characters: ★★
Writing: ★★ 1/2
Pacing: ★★★
Personal Enjoyment: 1/2

2 Star rating


Matched Will Be Donated

I should have done myself a favor and unhauled this book back in 2014 when I first read it and knew it was a miss.  Whether it was the hope for a return to the dystopian aspects (which I learned was futile in 2017 when I read Crossed) or just how darned pretty the cover is… I don’t know.  But this one should have very well left my shelf a while ago and I regret that I still have it.

Fortunately, it was a pretty quick reread.  Now I can put my curiosity to rest.


How would you feel about your government telling you who to love?  I’m super against it – in Matched, you have the option to eh be “matched” or stay a “single” – I’d probably want to stay a single if I was going to have a relationship thrust on me.  What about you?

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2 responses to “Matched by Ally Condie

  1. Yes! I read this around when it was first released and…it was ok. I know people liked the series at the time, but I thought even so there was a general sense the series wasn’t all THAT fantastic. It really is a romance more than a dystopian, and I think people wanted more of a dystopian after The Hunger Games. I was a bit surprised to see Penguin doing a whole anniversary edition for it. I guess they’re really banking on nostalgia selling because anniversary editions of a lot of things seem to be in right now.

    • Amber

      I saw the anniversary edition stuff right after I posted my new review on Goodreads and I was shocked. I wish they’d put that marketing to new, under-represented books rather than pushing an old, mediocre one. 🙁 Ally Condie had a new book a couple months ago (co-written) they could have pushed.. or any number of new, marginalized authors instead. Alas. Publishing still has a long way to go. 🙁