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There’s no excuse. Let me just say the last two weeks have knocked the wind out of me, but I’m getting back on top of it. To make up for it, I’m reviewing an absolutely killer book, just in time for its paperback release tomorrow. Enjoy!

 

Speed Read:

The two desires struggle within me: the desire to be safe, and the desire to know. I cannot tell which one will win.

Cassia lives in a perfect world. Her entire life is mapped out before her, perfectly individualized to suit her wants and needs. From the moment she was born, every fact about her was filed into the system, allowing officials to know the likelihood of each of her choices and reactions, from how she would deal with the first day of kindergarten to the probability that she would choose the green dress on the night of her Match. That’s how she knows that her Match, the person selected by the Society for her to marry, will make her happy. When it turns out to be her best friend, Xander, she couldn’t be more excited.

Except.

Something happens, and it makes her doubt everything she’s ever believed in. Who is she? And what is this Society she lives in? Even when everything is crafted to give each person the best life possible, would having a choice ultimately be better?

Bonus: Book trailer!

The Deal:

I’m not sure if this is blasphemous to the YA literary community or not, but Matched was, dare I say it, better than The Hunger Games. I know. Take a second.

The thing is, I love action. But for me, the whole point of a dystopian novel is the world building. As much as I lovedThe Hunger Games, it lost the magical-ness once it became more about the war and less about the subtle commentary on our current and projected society. Plus, the love triangle really annoyed me.

Actually, more on that. Finally, finally a love triangle I can get behind! I couldn’t stand Bella/Jacob/Edward. Didn’t see the point of Katniss/Peeta/Gale. But Cassia/Xander/Ky? Sign me up. This is a girl who’s love triangle actually stands for something. Easy, legitimate happiness? Or scary, but possibly huge and life changing love? Her choices make sense, her feelings have time to grow, and her emotions actually seem legitimate. I mean, I never really like love triangles because it’s like, most high school girls just want one guy to ask them out. It’s kind of ridiculous to have such a high percentage of heroines with two guys pining for her. Plus, I just don’t buy that both guys always are so in love with the girl that they wouldn’t just move on. Teenage guys can be pretty lazy when it comes to dating. But I digress.

Ally Condie has written an incredible story. It’s almost unclear whether the Society is Dystopian or Utopian, even Cassia can’t really figure it out, and in some ways, the Society is appealing. With technology, they are able to accurately predict every choice someone will make, giving the Society the ability to arrange a happy, fulfilling life for each person without the havoc of free choice. I can’t imagine giving up having free choice now, but if I’d grown up with it, like Cassia? I think I would be fine having my perfect life mapped out for me. Aside from the wonderfully unique world, Condie’s writing is subtle and detailed, revealing that there is a lot going on below the surface that we haven’t found out about yet. The sequel Crossed comes out November 1st (shhhh, but I get to read it this week! I’ll let you know how it is), and I am SO EXCITED! I have high hopes for the continued excellence of the series.

How Far Should You Go:

So it’s the night of your Match. You’re about to find out who your hubby will be for the rest of your life. This is the person you’re going to have children with, who you’ll live with, who will share in your rewards and punishments alike. If he becomes an Aberration, so do you. If you become, heavens forbid, an Anomaly, he goes with you. This. Is. Huge. But then, they tell you, you can read Matched and wait another year to find out your Match, or you can give up the chance to ever read Matched and find out your Match right now.

Wait the year. Read the book. You’ll both understand this crazy scenario and my reasoning behind loving it so much. And you might reconsider your blind love of that Society that rules your life.

The 13/16 Test:

They’re both good. This is one of those beautifully crafted books that doesn’t condescend to young adult readers at all, but doesn’t resort to a lot of explicit wording or situations to do it. Not many authors can pull it off, and Cassia’s story didn’t really require anything too mature, so this one is a nearly perfect example of a great YA book.

The Low Down:

Matched
Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Speak (Penguin)
Published: September 20th, 2011
Classified as: Young Adult

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…John Green is my beyond favorite author. He’s pretty much the embodiment of intelligence, conscientiousness, humor, and talent that I admire in other people. And he’s like, the grand poobah of Nerdfighters. (Sorry, does it sound like I would marry him? Because yes, I totally would, except he’s got like, a wife and kid or something ridiculous.)

And he’s coming out with a new book next year.

And it’s going to be called The Fault in Our Stars.

And he’s going to sign every single pre-ordered copy.

I’m kind of concerned that this will impair his ability to, you know, write future books (what with the extreme carpal tunnel).  Not that I’m not going to pre-order my copy.

Tomorrow, John Green is finally going to announce the title of his new novel, which he has been holding back for months and months and months.

I’m so excited!