Matched by Ally Condie
Book Review by Ashley Huang
When I was only a plucky youngster in sixth grade, the new biggest bash was Matched. All my
friends talked about it, and everywhere I went I was bombarded with recommendations to read it. Fast
forward four years and here I am, sitting with a laptop about to write a book review on it.
I am disappointed. It only took a mere chapter before the thinly veiled plot unfolded itself.
Future dystopian society? Check. Totalitarian government that controls literally everything? Check.
Raging teen hormones of a 17-year old girl that yearns for the touch of forbidden love? Check.
Throughout reading this book, I had to sit back, put the book down, and massage my temples in
I won’t spoil anything, but the main character Cassia thinks her match felt too… safe, too
normal, so she secretly ends up having a fiery and passionate affair with the mysterious dark-haired boy
with a thousand secrets. I won’t lie – as a sucker for sappy romance, some of the scenes left me wanting
more, so much more that I considered reading the sequel for a brief flicker in time.
Maybe it’s a coincidence, but I noticed a potential allegory for the Cultural Revolution in China in
the 1960s-70s. For example, while the Cultural Revolution aimed to purge capitalist and traditional
elements from Chinese society in favor of preserving Communist ideology, in the “Matched” Society,
one of the primary goals is to maintain alarmingly strict enforcements for the benefit of society as a
whole. In the old society, even the flowers were genetically modified to be better for the new society.
“She thinks the ones we have in the City in all the gardens and public spaces are too hybridized,
too far from their original selves. The oldroses took a lot of care to grow, each blossom was a triumph.
But these are hardy, showy, bred for durability.” This quote describes Cassia’s mother and her
discontent with the newroses. This uncannily resembled the Four Olds of China that were harshly
stomped out: Old things, old ideas, old customs and old habits.
In the Society, everything has changed for the intentions of health and performance, not
personalization and choice.
“All the studies show that the best age to die is eighty. It’s long enough that we can have a
complete life experience, but not so long that we feel useless… In societies before ours, they could get
terrible diseases.” In the Society, what you eat, work, and who you love is chosen for you to ensure
maximum health and performance of the people. From grey oatmeal for breakfast to an official
Matching Ceremony which selects your lifelong spouse, you might’ve been already predicting what’s to
come towards the end of this book.
Overall, I liked this book for the romance, but I still believe it’s a bit past it’s prime; there was a
time in the past when dystopian societies were the hottest thing, which leaves some books, but not all
(Hunger Games, Maze Runner) a little dusty.