After The Hunger Games, I tried to do the whole "dystopian about a white girl who's special" thing that went around for a while like a weak, sniffelly cold. I remember picking up Matched after reading some great 2-star reviews, and being unable to get past fifty pages or so. This time, I was ready - ready to laugh, ready to tear things apart, ready to hammer another nail into YA dystopia's coffin.
It didn't work.
I mean, in my defense, it's not like it's my new favorite book or anything. I'm not going to go out of my way to defend Matched.
But I gave it three stars, which is more than I expected. Maybe it's because the last dystopia I read was Divergent, which I hated with most of the larger bones in my body. But that was a while back. Maybe it's because green is my favorite color.
Maybe because Ally Condie took a lackluster concept, gave it some lackluster prose and characterization, and somehow managed to... interest me?
Looking back, I'm not sure what I saw in Matched. It was entertaining. Moderately so, but still! Entertaining!
This is what I said in my Goodreads review:
Things that both Matched and Divergent have (as most YA dystopias do):
--Incredibly flimsy "dystopian" government systems--Questionable writing styles/techniques--Way too many Capitalized Nouns
What Matched does that Divergent doesn't, however, is have a heroine who isn't a ragefest of hypocrisy, bad decisions, and inconsistent behavior. Not saying that Cassia is a well-written heroine or anything - she's no Katniss. Just saying that, if there were a Battle of Tolerable Personality, Cassia would win, just for being bland and occasionally decent, as opposed to Tris and her gasket-blowing idiocy.
And it's true. She wasn't dumb! I don't remember ever really getting angry at Cassia, either for a decision she made or because of something she thought. It could be because she's just a little bit too white-bread, but still - not being gif-inducingly stupid is a huge plus for me in the YA dystopian area. (And... if we're being honest... I really liked Ky. Xander was incredibly boring, but Ky was a sweetie. I like that guy. And I worry about him.)
Like I said, the world of Matched is ridiculous, ill-founded, and poorly supported by actual human nature. Most of them are. And seriously, can we get one dystopia that doesn't Capitalize all Important Nouns or sometimes Verbs? But if we're comparing - which isn't nice, but sometimes one has to, when they're deciding what to get at the library or bookstore - Matched is better than a few options I could mention. Not better than Hunger Games, but better than some others. That's about as good as I think we're getting for a while.