Monday, December 6, 2010
Matched by Ally Condie
In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.
Cassia has always trusted their choices. It’s hardly any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one… until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow — between perfection and passion.
Ever heard of this book? Yes? Of course you have. For those of you that haven't, let me tell you a little about it before I review it. There has been some serious buzz about this book for the last year. It started when Ally Condie's manuscript caused a bidding war between national publishers and was finally purchased for six-figure sum. That's serious money-- especially for an author who's only published with a small company before (five books through Deseret Book and its subsidiary Shadow Mountain). And if that was not enough, a month before the book was even released Disney bought the rights for a three picture deal! Seriously, how could I not go buy this book the day it was released?
But enough about the buzz-- what about the book? As the synopsis explains, it's a dystopic romance-- a story that takes place in an alternate, uber-controlled world. Essentially, if you were to mix Hunger Games and Twilight, you'd get Matched (and that's saying something).
Here is why-- in Hunger Games, it's the anxiety and danger that pulls you through the story. In Twilight, it's the romance, the forbidden romance, that keeps you reading. Matched has equal parts of both.
One of the things that makes this book unique is Condie's constant use of poetry. I've never been a giant fan of poetry. I studied it in college, had the occasional poem that struck me, but that was about it. But poems are woven throughout this story-- they're actually pivotal to the entire plot. Even Condie's writing has a poetic sense. And I loved that. It made me feel and appreciate things in a new way.
I also enjoyed the romance. It wasn't so "in your face" like a lot of YA these days. She made a brief touch of the fingers just as significant and romantic (or more) than other authors who fill their stories with graphic love scenes.
I wouldn't have a problem recommending this to anyone 14 or older. The themes are a little adult, and the romance is intense, though not graphic, so it may not be appropriate for younger readers (depends on the child).
Overall, if you read YA, romance, or dystopic fiction, you'll really enjoy this book.