A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
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.
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
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.
Violence & Scariness
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.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
For a story with a strong romantic undercurrent, there's not much sexual content other than a few kisses.
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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.
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.