Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Matched Book Poster Image
Parents recommendPopular with kids
Fun, provoking start to dystopian series for teens.

Parents say

age 11+
Based on 17 reviews

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 112 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

The book may prompt some discussion about our relationship to technology, and what is lost in the name of progress. The Society saved 100 great works in different genres: music, art, books, etc. Readers who aren't familiar with the specific works mentioned might be interested in checking them out.

Positive Messages

Clear message about the cost of blindly following unjust rules -- and the dangers of surrendering personal freedoms to a hyper-controlling government.

Positive Role Models & Representations

It's hard not to be an obedient child in the Society, but Cassie stands out as a good kid: She loves her family, she wants to be a productive worker, she enjoys her friends, and she appreciates her life. Likewise, her rule-breaking is rooted in a desire to do right in the world. The other characters are equally admirable. Xander, in particular, manages to fiercely support Cassie even as she falls in love with another.


References to violence are minimal. The Society is at war in the distant Outer Provinces, but in Cassie’s world that’s the stuff of occasional rumor. There are some references to villagers killed in the Outer Provinces, and one story of a boy who was murdered. Citizens are poisoned so they’ll die peacefully on their 80th birthdays.


For a story with a strong romantic undercurrent, there's not much sexual content other than a few kisses.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this absorbing page-turner is a classic dystopian tale. Its heroine is a model daughter and citizen who begins to suspect the pursuit of perfection comes with too steep a price. While there's danger and romance here, there's not very much violence or sex. Instead, it encourages readers to think long and hard about their relationships -- to people, to technology, and to authority -- and could lead to some spirited debates about how to best balance personal freedoms and government control. Parents and teens who read this book together will certainly find a lot to talk about.

Wondering if Matched is OK for your kids?

Set preferences and get age-appropriate recommendations with Common Sense Media Plus. Join now

Continue reading Show less

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 12-year-old Written byElizabeth H. June 9, 2015


I DON'T LIKE THIS BOOK. Cassia is really annoying! All she cares about is herself and her love life. At first she is really happy because she is going to b... Continue reading
Written byAnonymous December 21, 2011

Great for tween/teen book club-great discussion possibility

I pre-read this for my daughter and loved it. It was fascinating to ponder all the implications of societal engineering and how the presumably good intentions... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old January 20, 2011


I was very disappointed in this book! I went out and bought it for the hard cover price because everyone hyped it up and stuff. I thought it would be fast paced... Continue reading
Kid, 10 years old June 28, 2015

Matched: A romance starter

Matched is a romance book. Your child SHOULD read this. It's teaching lessons on when you become older-when in high school. This book is appropriate for ag... Continue reading

What's the story?

Cassie has never doubted the choices of the Society, which decides what she eats, whom she'll love, where she'll work, and even when she'll die. She's thrilled to learn she’s to marry Xander, her best friend. But then why does the face of her neighbor, Ky, flash on her Match microcard instead? The Officials tell her it was a rare mistake, but a tiny seed of doubt is planted. And as she grows to love Ky, she begins to see the darker truths of the Society. She embarks with him on a risky, dangerous path -- with the Society watching their every move.

Is it any good?

MATCHED invites comparisons to The Giver and Brave New World, and some science fiction fans may rightly complain that it’s derivative. But most teen readers will agree that author Condie has crafted a fine addition to the genre. Her characters are complex and surprising; even the peripheral characters carry real weight. Cassie’s awakening -- to the harm caused by the Society, to love, to the complexity of the adults who have raised her -- feels authentic. As Cassie’s relationship with Ky deepens, so do her relationships with her parents, her brother, and even Xander. 

This could easily turn into just another hand-wringing love triangle, or a ho-hum story of teen rebellion. Instead, it's a great coming-of-age story, one that encourages readers to think long and hard about their relationships -- to people, to technology, and to authority. There are just enough details about the Society to tell the story, making it pretty light as far as sci-fi goes -- so this will appeal to readers who don't consider themselves fans of the genre normally. Overall, it's a terrific start to the planned trilogy. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of dystopian novels. What makes them appealing as a setting for teenage characters? Why do you think they are particularly popular right now?

  • Is it important to read stories about our possible futures? How could a book like this affect the choices we make in the present?

  • Does a future government like the Society seem plausible to you? What do you think might promote or discourage this kind of a future?

Book details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love science fiction and fantasy

Our editors recommend

Top advice and articles

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate