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?