Ally Condie primarily drew inspiration for Matched from a conversation she and her husband had over dinner one night in late 2008. He posed the question: what if someone wrote the perfect algorithm for matching people with one another, and the government used it to decide who you married, when you married, and so forth? From this, as well as memories of chaperoning a high school Junior Prom and attending a matching dance in high school, Ally Condie spent about nine months writing Matched, which she admits was a short amount of time for her, in comparison to the completion of her other novels. In November 2010, the book was published by Dutton Penguin. She published its sequel, Crossed, in 2011, and the trilogy was completed in 2012 with the publication of Reached.
Matched draws on elements from many different of its dystopian predecessors. Its censorship of literature and the way main characters Cassia and Ky memorize forbidden poems to prevent their erasure alludes to Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451. The port screens that watch every home draw parallels to government body “Big Brother” in George Orwell’s 1984. The pre-selected work positions and tablets used to regulate people’s emotions are similar to Lois Lowry’s The Giver, and the life-changing ceremony that citizens experience as teenagers is reminiscent of both Veronica Roth’s Divergent and Suzanne Collins’ The Hunger Games.
Matched has been praised by critics for its nuanced character development and insightful coming-of-age storytelling. Despite reviewers comparing it to The Giver and The Hunger Games, Matched has been acknowledged as having its own unique qualities, like the heavy romantic plot line balanced against the totalitarian antagonism that dominates the characters’ world.
In 2010, Matched won the Whitney Award for Best Youth Fiction, and in 2011 it was chosen as one of YALSA’s 2011 Teens’ Top Ten. In 2010, before it was even published, Disney purchased its movie rights, beating out Paramount Pictures and several other companies. A director, screenwriter, and two producers have now been announced and production on it has begun, although information on a release date and potential casting choices has not yet been released.