MATCHED by ALLY CONDIE
A REVIEW by ALEXA DUNCAN
I know I’ve probably said this before in one of these reviews, but it’s never a bat thing to reiterate important points: Sci-fi in YA doesn’t sell well. No one knows why, and although there are plenty of theories, the fact that YA sci-fi doesn’t sell remains the same. Maybe it’s a chicken-egg situation. Does the lack of support for sci-fi as a genre come from the fact that no one is writing it? Or does it come from the industry itself, with no one supporting sci-fi because agents and readers are disinterested? Who knows.
This isn’t a discussion about YA sci-fi. This a review of Matched by Ally Condie, which was published during the Hunger Games boom of 2010. Everybody wanted in the YA dystopian game. We had The Hunger Games, Divergent, and Matched. The holy trinity of YA dystopian. Now, dystopian is a sub-genre of sci-fi, which means sci-fi did have its day there for a bit. Kind of. Ever since then, however, YA sci-f has been good and dead, with new releases in the genre being published on an increasingly rare basis.
Enter Matched. Published in 2010, Matched follows a Giver-style utopia where the Society decides where you go, what your job is, what you eat, and who you’re matched with. Cassia Reyes, our sixteen-year-old protagonist, is matched with Xander, her best friend. But, later in the book, Cassia realizes she was also matched with someone else: A boy named Ky. An “Abberation” to their otherwise perfect Society. Romantic drama and a love triangle ensues. Of course, this utopian Society isn’t as great as it seems, either.
Overall, Matched was…fine. It made me nostalgic more than anything else. I was in high school when this book came out. My junior year, to be precise. It was smack-dab in the middle of the dystopian craze, but somehow, I missed reading this book. Maybe I was already tired of the genre by then. Anyway, Matched doesn’t exactly make you think very hard. The plot is straightforward: Cassia gets matched, everything is fine until she meets Ky, who makes her question Society. Yes, Society is meant to be capitalized. Everything Is Capitalized In This Book For Some Reason.
That’s how you know it’s vaguely-written sci-fi. Nothing has a proper name. This annoyed me more than I want to admit because it felt so painfully generic. Everything about this book felt bland, but I wanted something light and run to read after the glut of adult fantasy I’ve been reading, so Matched felt like the perfect segway. It’s also a good book to read if you’re looking to dip your toes into YA sci-fi for the first time. It’s not too heavy or confusing and it’s grounded in our world rather than space. It’s also not as emotionally stressful as something like The Hunger Games is, so you won’t be crying on your book as you read it. Yay!
You can pick up Matched at the Oreana library today.