Monday, January 30, 2012

Matched by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. 
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. 

Hardcover, 366 pages Published November 30th 2010 by Dutton Juvenile

Food to Eat While Reading: Trapped in a Bubble Bobo Drink
Fruity Bobo drink for
Matched by Ally Condie

Matched by Ally Condie is my kinda book--YA romance, strong female protagonist, smooth writing and packed with emotion. It asks the question, "Can there be freedom without choices?" I hope we can all wonder, as Cassia in the book, and continue to ask questions that lead to choices.

Condie's writing is superb overall, but there were a few scenes that blew me away:

When Cassia is on a train and what she thinks is snow floats to the ground. It's really a cottonwood tree fluff and it is a perfect mirror of what is happening in the story. It shows the fear her people have of anything that is different, it introduces her mother's love of trees and foreshadows future events, and it asks the question, "Can something wrong be true?". This scene shows that Cassia is not bothered by the truth that may be seen by others as wrong, it shows how society is tearing down everything that is impractical in their world. Cassia says there is a mystery in it's little brown core that she doesn't know what to do with and she puts it in her pocket-a symbol of how she will wait until she knows what to do to unlock the truth.

In this one scene, Condie seamlessly provides information about the society, Cassia's role in it, background information and set up for future scenes. Beautiful!

The second scene that gave me cause for reflection is the scene when it is her grandfather's time to die. At first I was temped to say that his is the perfect way to die--surrounded by family, eating whatever you like, getting to say goodbye before you have to leave this life.  But then I understood that Grandpa was forced to comply, and he wished that he had more years to plant that cottonwood seed of an idea and wonder, to always question his ideas and find out for himself the meaning of life and death and what is in between.

The other poignant scene for me happened when the society is at Cassia's house to take away all artifacts. She sits on the couch with her brother. Quote: "We have things of value but you can never find them because you don't even know how to look."

The romance was pleasant. I'm not sure that I agree with Cassia's choice of love, but the point of the book is for her to have the right to choose. I'll be excited to see what happens in books two (Crossed, available now), and three(Fall 2012) with both love interests.

I love the involvement of Cassia's family in her life, which is not often included in YA. Her relationships with her family were key to her decisions and she loves her family so much.

Matched is a romance with themes so deep that your mind and heart will ponder for weeks after you read the last page.


Leave me a comment-I'd love to hear what you think!