Dystopian Review: Matched, by Ally Condie

Dystopian 1

Matched, by Ally Condie, is dystopian lit for the younger reader. (Tweet this)

Here’s the sitch:

You (or your child/niece/sibling/friend/pet zombie) are 13-ish years old. You want to get in on this dying “dystopian trend,” but you don’t want the intense violence *cough* Hunger Games *cough* or super-kissy love interest *cough* Divergent *cough*. You’d like something clean, but still interesting.


Instead of the book blurb, here’s my condensed version:

Girl trusts her dystopian Society. Girl goes to her “matching ceremony” for her future mate. Something goes wrong. Girl starts doubting the Society. Love triangle. Girl embarks on “a path no one else dared to follow…”

[dramatic music]

And here are my two-cents about the book:

Main Pros in Matched:

  • Clean: This book is clean and still fairly interesting! (What? Not possible…) It’s true, I tell you! No swearing, a teeny tiny bit of war violence, and only minor kisses. To me, that makes a book even more enjoyable and I don’t feel forever guilty for recommending it to someone.
  • Functioning Family: Cassia has a functioning family that also portrays some good examples of how a family should function. It’s refreshing not to have the emotionally dead mother (curse you, Hunger Games) or the non-existent parents (Ready Player One), or the psycho father (Compound), or the…you get the picture.
  • A mixture of dystopian and contemporary. This book mixed the dystopia with a contemporary feel, kind of like The Selection, by Kiera Cass. I like that because it shakes things up a bit and keeps away from the cliche feel that hangs over most modern dystopians.

Main Cons in Matched:

  • The main character acts a little too young: She’s supposed to be 17, but acts a bit more like a 13-year-old, which is why I think this is a good book for a younger age group. She’ll be relatable to young readers, but frankly I think adult readers with get both bored and annoyed with Cassia.
  • Predictable: Me: “Oooh, I totally know exactly where this clue is heading!” Cassia (main character): “Hm…I’m confused. I’ll take three chapters to figure it out.” Me: NOOOOO! *headdesk* Okay, maybe it’s not that bad (no, it’s totally that bad…), but I like to be surprised in books and this one, while maintaining my interest, just didn’t surprise me, which made it a one-time read.
  • Slow Moving: This could be a good thing or a bad thing. The good thing is that it’s not your typical action-packed take-down-the-government-with-an-exploding-arrow type of book, so it’s refreshing. It’s a bad thing because, well, it’s slow moving. Yeah… Guilty Confession: I barely finished the sequel and never picked up the third book. *cringe* But that was only because of pacing.

The main reason I wanted to review this book this month is because I know a lot of younger readers pick up A Time to Die and follow my website. While it’s fun to share my gushing (or furious loathing) about the more mature and well-developed dystopian books like Ready Player One or The Choosing, there are also decent clean books out there in the same genre that fit a wider age-range. Matched is a book that’s appropriate for younger readers and still stays “cool” with the dystopian trend. (Tweet this)

You can read my full review of Matched and its sequel, Crossed, on Goodreads.

Find Matched on Amazon

Find Matched on Goodreads

Star Rating 3

3 stars because it’s slow-paced. 5-stars for clean content


Have you read or will you read Matched? 

Do you tend to read or look for “younger” dystopian books like this one?



About Nadine Brandes

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She never received her Hogwarts letter, but rest assured she’s no Muggle (and would have been in Ravenclaw House, thank you very much.) This Harry Potter super-nerd has been known to eat an entire package of Oreos (family size) by herself, and watches Fiddler on the Roof at least once a year. She writes about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her dystopian trilogy (The Out of Time Series) challenged her to pursue shalom, which is now her favorite word (followed closely by bumbershoot.) When Nadine’s not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she and her knight-in-shining armor (nickname: “hubby”) are out pursuing adventures.
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  1. sierrafaith327

    I read and enjoyed Matched, but then I tried to read Crossed and didn’t enjoy it at all! So it was definitely an interesting series.. but with Dystopians you can run into there is nothing unique about them. I think feel like her idea for the story was the same as most (but definitely not all) Dystopians.

    • Yeah, it was a bit cliche, which is why I think it’s a good start for someone young just jumping into the world of dystopian reading. At least…book one is. 😉

  2. Nadine,

    I haven’t read very many dystopian novels, but I do enjoy your reviews. The idea of doing a “clean” dsytopian is a completely new idea to me and gives me something to think about! Thanks!

  3. It’s literary fiction, which is supposed to be beautiful and lyrical and word-oriented, not plot-oriented. I loved the beauty of it – I listened to it on audiobook, so you can imagine how slow that was! But it also brought home the lovely, lovely prose. I’m a literary fictionist, so I appreciate that. 🙂

    My main complaint wasn’t the slowness overall, but the beginning. SO much time spent on a grandfather we didn’t know or care about.

I love hearing from you!