Thursday, January 5, 2012

Matched by Ally Condie

My mom always gets me books for Christmas, so this year I told her I needed tangible Young Adult books. I've become used to reading on my Kindle, but I want books that my students can borrow... read... touch...smell (who doesn't love the smell of a good book?) One of the books my mom got me was Matched. I have to say, she did a darn good job. 

A dystopic novel, Matched reminds me a lot of Anthem in the way that equality is emphasized at the expense of the people. It opens as the main character, Cassia, is on her way to her matching banquet, where she will be paired with the one person in the "society" who is statistically predicted to be her best match. This is how they do everything in the society. They make predictions and decisions based on statistics and probability. Freedoms are few and far between, but this kind of leadership is all under the guise of "protecting" the people. In this way, they are able to control people and have their perfect society. For the most part, people accept it. Until Cassia comes along. Matched is predictable in that its main character starts to question things. Questioning things in The Society is dangerous and can lead to banishment to the "outer provinces." Cassia struggles throughout the book with whether it is worthwhile to risk what she has to do what her heart tells her.

There was something about this novel that had me glued from the start. Maybe it's because Dystopia is one of my favorite genres, or maybe it was the writing style. Condie depicts the society in such a way that the reader can't help but believe that maybe the people in charge really are looking out for the best interest of the citizens. It makes me think of our own political structure and how easily the lines can be blurred between freedom and protection.

The only reason I would not give this five stars is that there is nothing particularly earth-shattering that occurs in the novel, but it is captivating nontheless. I think it's the kind of writing that many young adults would find interesting and in many ways relatable. It centers largely on a love triangle, so it is probably more suitable for girls, but I can imagine that boys would get something out of it as well.

Matched is the first of a series, and I enjoyed this book enough that I will definitely get the next one. In fact, I am dying to read it, because Matched ends when things are just getting good.

Teacher Advisories
Sex 0/5
Doesn't happen, isn't referenced
Language 0/5
Nothing grandma would disapprove of
Substance Abuse 0/5
Unless you consider the anxiety and memory-wiping red pills substances that can be abused, there isn't any here
Violence 1/5
There are references to violence as far as how the society created its current state and the war they are engaged in with people of the "outer provinces," but nothing is explicit

How I would use this in the classroom
I think I would only use it as an independent read, and I would definitely recommend for kids to read it during the Anthem Unit. It is very similar in theme and in the set-up of the society, and it would help students to see this kind of idea in more detail

4 Stars Photobucket

Touchy Subjects
None to speak of!

1 comment:

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