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There are a lot of problems in the world, right? We're talking war, disease, riots, poverty, and more, not to mention all sorts of disagreements among people with different values and beliefs. Wouldn't it be great if we could find a way to eliminate all of this hard stuff and create a society in which everyone was happy? Where everyone has a job they excel at, a house to live in, food to eat, social activities to attend, a spouse who is their perfect mate, healthy children, and the opportunity to live a long and full life without worry of getting sick or hurt?
Doesn't that sound awesome?
Well, whether or not you have trouble imagining that reality, fear not—Ally Condie's done it for you in her 2010 novel, Matched. The first in a three-part series, Condie tells the story of a young girl growing up in such a world and answers the question about whether such a world is, indeed, awesome.
Landing on shelves in the midst of the dystopian craze, Matched goes in the opposite direction of books like Hunger Games. Instead of imagining a futuristic world in which modern technology has caused things to go horribly awry, Condie's novel imagines a future in which technology has been able to solve all of today's biggest problems… or has it?
What if, instead of having to deal with all the heart racing, nervous sweating, awkward stammering, crazy jealous-making aspects of your first love, it was all a little bit easier?
Imagine being handed a little USB drive with the cute boy or girl who's your best match (based on some fancy schmancy algorithms done by the government), sitting and learning about them in the privacy of your own home, and then someone else arranging a date for you two. Whether that sounds appealing—no sweaty palms when you ask them out—or absolutely terrifying—see ya, free choice—we're sure you're curious about who the computers would set you up with. Who wouldn't be?
For Cassia—our main girl in Matched—things get a little more complicated when her USB thingy shows not one but two perfect matches for her. What's a never-been-kissed dystopian teenager supposed to do when she has to choose between Hot Best Friend Guy and Hot Mysterious New Guy? Maybe this choice sounds familiar, or perhaps it doesn't. At the heart of it, though, is the classic coming of age conundrum about whether to follow the rules or do what your gut's hollering at you to do—and that's something everyone can relate to.
Ally Condie's Website
FAQ and links to all things Ally. Definitely check this one out—she answers the question we've all been wondering: Team Xander or Team Ky?
Ally Condie's Blog
In case you want to hear her thoughts, directly from the source. Includes updates on what she's up to now, movie news, and more. Hint: underwater cities make an appearance in her latest work.
Ally Condie's Twitter
Thoughts about running, books, and the apocalypse.
Matched Party Kit
For when you decided to have a Matched-themed party. Make Matched cake pops and take quizzes to see what vocation you'd get assigned.
Disney takes on Matched
How could somebody not makes a movie out of this book?
Ally Condie's Dream Casting
Ally Condie shares her dream casting here. Fans of Vampire Diaries, Perks of Being a Wallflower, Castle, and Firefly, this section's for you.
Wall Street Journal Review
They love the way Condie writes about and captures the feelings of young love. We couldn't agree more.
Publisher's Weekly Review
"Gripping and satisfying," they say. We think that about covers it—plus they gave the book a star. Aw…
LA Times Interview
Ally Condie talks about the inspiration for Matched, and gives us some hints about its sequel, Crossed.
Interview with Between Two Lockers
This interview with a young adult lit blog might be our favorite ever, because they discuss sleepovers and play MASH. Remember that game?
Interview with Mormon Artist
Fast fact: Condie used to be a high school teacher. No wonder she writes so well for teens.
Ally Condie Talks About Matched
Just two minutes long and we get some exciting info about the sequel. Also, we learn how to pronounce Cassia. Totally guessed that one wrong.
Fan Made Book Trailer
We love this. It's got the exact right level of drama to be a real movie trailer, and is compiled from clips of other movies.
Another Fan Made Book Trailer
This one is great as well, and features real-life teenagers acting out the trailer. Highlight is the kid who plays Grandfather.
Interview with WBCX-FM
Condie talks about her dystopian influences and who she'd be Matched with if she were in the Matching pool.
If you like to listen to a thematic playlist while you read, here's one for Matched. We especially love Track 4.
Read Chapter 28, and you'll see how genius this cover is.
This should provide some appropriate clues about the second book in the trilogy.
Map of the Society
In case you, like us, wanted a visual for where all the action was happening.