Can Bryan and Robert return to a matching opinion with their latest YA dystopian review? Check out their thoughts on Matched by Ally Condie.
Bryan’s quick summary:
Everything in Cassia’s world has been chosen. What she can read, what to believe, and who she’ll love. A seeming glitch in the choice of her perfect match has Cassia unsure if her mate to be is Xander, a lifelong friend, or Ky, a boy who’s been forbidden from the matching system. As Cassia leans toward the more impossible of the two choices, she doubts the society’s purported perfection, and wonders if there’s a world out there where she can finally choose for herself.
Matched is by Ally Condie
So what did we think? (From a reader’s perspective)
1. (Bryan) Ah, mo dystopic societies, mo problems. This world makes sense, unlike some of the other books we’ve read, and it’s incredibly frightening. It’s very The Giver-like in its perfect society construct, but I think this goes in depth in some ways that flesh the story out nicely.
2. (Bryan) I think this kind of story depends on if you like Cassia, and I’m on the fence. A lot of things happen to her and she makes changes based on them, but I don’t know, she didn’t sway me like some other well-developed female main characters like America in The Selection. Maybe I like more sass in my heroines.
3. (Robert) I struggled initially – for the first 30 or 40 pages actually – especially after having read Beautiful Creatures the week before. The characters seemed weak, flat, and the story wasn’t going anywhere. Then it dawned on me, as the cracks in Cassia’s world became more and more, so the story showed more of its true nature: a utopian Brave New World on the brink of disaster, where the “Officials” are primed to intervene to ensure nothing goes awry.
What did we think from a writer’s perspective?
1. (Bryan) I like Ky, he’s pretty interesting. Even Xander has his moments. I liked the grandfather too. Cassia didn’t do it for me, and you need a compelling main character to keep my attention.
2. (Robert) This is not an action book. The subtleties and slower pace might be hard for a teenage (or younger – there are no sexually inappropriate scenes) reader to fully relate to, unless they are hard-core Brave New World fans!
3. (Robert) It’s worth the read just to see how a YA novel handles a broken utopia. Most YA is more about dystopia and dysfunctional societies. I liked Ally Condie for tackling this.
Bryan and Robert’s Famous Takeaways:
1. If you’re going to have any three-dimensional characters, and you should, start with your main one.
2. There’s a real sense of the every day citizen’s fear of the Officials – even though some of them have to take Official roles and play the game. It’s well done and consistent.
3. Have a deeper philosophy built into your book, as it makes for great reading club questions later on.
Prompt of the Week:
What’s a choice you’re not allowed to make that you feel everybody should be allowed to choose? What would change in your life if you were able to make that choice and why?
Write your response to the prompt or the show in the comments!
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