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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Matched by Ally Condie

For once I have nothing negative to report on. I am much too excited for Thanksgiving in two days. I love this Holiday because it gives me an excuse to eat like a complete fatty and have absolutely no one judge me on it. Being with friends and family just makes the day even better. So I wish everyone a great Thanksgiving, and if you live outside the US, I hope you have a fabulous day even if you are not celebrating anything.

The reason I have chosen today's book is that the author recently had a chat on Twitter about the final book in the series and I realized that I didn't remember half of what happened in the end. So I re-read the whole series this weekend. Today's book is....

Matched by Ally Condie
Matched takes place in a country named "The Society" where the oppressive government has control over every aspect of someone's life. The Society determines where you work, what you wear, what you will spend your free time doing, when you die, and most importantly who you marry. Anytime during the 17th year, citizens of the society will be Matched to their perfect spouse. 17 year old Cassia Reyes is Thrilled when she is paired with her best friend from childhood Xander Carrow. However, Cassia see's another face on the screen, on that she knows well from her childhood, Ky Markham. When she starts to fall in love with the second boy on the screen, Cassia will have to choose between love, and the life she always wanted and thought she would get.

The first thing that drew me to this novel was the Society. The amount of control they have over the citizens is unfathomable. The Society only has 100 of everything: 100 songs, 100 painting, 100 stories...etc. And every story and song is changed to reflect the views of the Society itself. How no one becomes thirsty for knowledge I have no idea. The world is so bad that you can't run in public, your dreams are monitored, your food is prepared for you, and when you reach a certain age, you are slowly killed. The whole matching aspect to the world is, the word sick comes to mind. Choosing, based on an algorithm, who will marry who is the ultimate form of control. Choices are one by one, slowly being taken away from the Citizens of the society.

Another aspect of this novel that I enjoyed was Cassia's emotional journey. She starts as a perfect daughter. She has friends, a good job, her family is well regarded, and her future looks bright. Her whole world seems to be fitting together perfectly when she is Matched on her birthday (just like she always wanted) with her best friend in the world world. Her life, however, slowly begins to crumble. When she see's Ky's face on the microcard instead of Xanders, she begins to see both of the boys in a new light. She begins rebelling against the Society by reading banned poems and learning to write. And she does what she is most definitely not supposed to do: she falls in love with Ky. Though she is in an emotionally compromised position, Cassia struggles to not let it show. Her portions of food begin to get smaller and there is an Official constantly watching her back. But she does what no algorithm could have predicted in the end.

Cassia's whole journey of going from perfect citizen to rebel without a cause is a brilliant story. The emotion behind the words on the page suggest that Ally Condie is an amazing writer who took her time to get everything write. The questions left on the page leave plenty of room for the sequel, Crossed, to grow and evolve. The biggest question left over from this first installment is: Who put Ky in the matching pool? I regret to inform you that you don't find out the correct answer until the end of the final book.

This story of oppression, love, sacrifice, and choice is one that many will enjoy reading. Fans of the Delirium series will enjoy Ally Condie's amazing story.

And though it has not been confirmed that the movie will be made, the rights have been optioned. Ally Condie has also gone on record saying that Logan Lerman would be a great Ky. So keep that in mind while you read. :)

-Shawnee Smith

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