Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Matched by Ally Condie: This Is Not a Book Review. This is a Grumpy Rant about a Very Dumb Book.

This book was so bad, I'm not sure you even want to waste time reading the review.
You like that shiny, pretty cover? You think Bubble Girl looks interesting? HA!

DO NOT BOTHER TRYING TO READ THIS BOOK.


Still reading? Okay. Here are the three unforgivable problems with Matched by Ally Condie:

First, it's plagued by the most godawful of YA literary conventions--a LOVE TRIANGLE. And it's not just any love triangle. It's the most hackneyed one of all: Stable Old Friend versus Dark Mysterious Stranger. Yawn. For about five minutes, Cassia is torn between Xander, her handsome, clean cut childhood buddy, and Ky, the emo boy at the fringe of her friend group who woos her with poetry. *gag* Worst of all, Cassia chooses a guy about five minutes into the story, so there isn't any suspense to keep the narrative tension going. It's just oh hey, weird dystopia is weird for the rest of the book.

The second problem? The language is painfully bland. Matched is written in first person present tense, which pretty much always sucks. And she doesn't pepper her story with many adjectives or adverbs, so everything in it is flat and flavorless. It's just a lot of terribly dull declarative sentences marching across the page, one after another, with no slang, interest, or personality. After a while, it all starts to sound like this: 

I wake up. I wear the Plainclothes The Society assigned to me. I eat one food ration for breakfast. I do the work that The Society told me to do, and then I do the Daily Recreational Activity that The Society approved for me today. I like a boy. I talk to him. He talks to me, too. Did you actually read this entire paragraph? I bet it made your teeth itch! Didn't you want to skim it so you could get to the interesting part? Reading Matched feels exactly like that.

Finally, the worst thing about this book is that there is no discernible plot or climax, and therefore no resolution. Okay, so we learn that Cassia lives in a weird society. They control what you own, tell you who to marry, and decide where you work. They even choose the day you die. Meanwhile, Cassia thinks about free will and poetry. She constantly thinks about the guy she likes, and they hike a lot. But nothing really happens. 


There is no antagonist, no major struggle, and no climactic payoff moment when the struggle comes to a peak. The reader never squirms at the edge of their seat and says Aha! Cassia's life changed in this one exciting moment! Instead, Cassia exercises free will while performing a mind-numbing task. Her choice doesn't have the result she expects, and then the book just sort of ends. Umm... what?! Matched is the first book in a trilogy, but I won't touch the rest of the series. Oh, heck no!

Did you read it and see a redeeming quality that I don't see?

9 comments:

  1. And this is a NYT best seller? UNG.

    Just read The Handmaids Tale.

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    1. YES! The Handmaids Tale is one of my favorites. :D

      Matched is a little like The Handmaid's Tale, and a lot like The Giver. :D

      And on that note, Fever by Lauren DeStefano is an even more blatant rip-off of The Handmaid's Tale. And it's just as bad, but in different ways.

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  2. i hate when crap like that does so well. i read the woodcutter recently and was really looking forward to it, but it was the same way. so blandly written and chopping and you never really cared. blech.

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    1. Was this The Woodcutter by Kate Danley? That won lots of awards, and it looks good! Fairy tale retellings like that always draw me in. What a disappointment.

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  3. I actually had this on a to read post it a whe back bc I generally like YA distopian stuff. I will toss that post it. Thanks

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    1. Aww man, sorry to burst your bubble! :(

      If it helps, Lois Lowry has a new book out that's part of the Giver dystopia. And she can do no wrong.

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  4. I just found your blog via your comment on Emma Deer and read that you are a librarian. I have my MLS as well, though I'm waiting for that "right" librarian position to come around.

    Thank you for this post! I just don't get the craze about this book. I read the whole thing and I wanted to throw it across the room. I thought it was just so terrible.

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    1. Hi, Muggle! I like your blog, and I'm glad you found me. Those library jobs are hard to find, aren't they? Are you a school, public, academic, or special librarian?

      I'm glad someone else agrees! This book was SO BAD. I like a lot of YA lit, but I think this was written for a younger YA audience than the books I normally like. After I wrote this, I realized it's probably for grades 6 - 8, and I usually like the grade 10 - 12 YA lit. So it's kind of my fault for reading it in the first place!

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  5. ok, so I admit that I didn't hate the book. Was it well written? Certainly not, but it was a quick easy read. Buuuut the second & third books were just terrible. I finished the trilogy because I felt obligated, but it was just all around disappointing.

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What do you think? Your comments always make my day.

P.S. All trolls will be fed to the bookworms.