Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Books (Penguin)
Length: 366 pages
In Cassia’s society, officials decide where you live, who you marry, what your work is, and when you die. Cassia never questioned this, seeing it as a small price to pay for safety and health. On her seventeenth birthday, she is shown her Match, and couldn’t be happier when her best friend Xander appears on the screen. But then another face she recognizes flashes by, and in that brief moment of seeing Ky’s face, everything changes. Cassie begins to question everything about her society and her life and must make the ultimate choice: whether to live without choices or to risk everything by choosing a life of her own. Safety or freedom? Xander or Ky?
Dystopias aren’t just THE big thing right now. Apparently they’re MY big thing too. Maybe it’s because I grew up on Ender’s Game, or maybe it’s because they take teenage rebellion to a whole new level, but I’m liking this trend in YA lit. Dystopias are all about personal growth. The more a character learns the imperfections of their seemingly perfect society, the more they learn about themselves.
Cassia has never really had the power to choose before. Everything has been determined by society, and there is little free will, and therefore little chance for rebellion. But it turns out that everyone in the novel has been rebelling in their own little ways. Everyone has a breaking point when they choose not to do what society tells them, and it’s always for the people they love. I really liked this about the book. There may not be a terrible evil to fight, but love is still the game changer.
Ky and Xander. Sigh. You didn’t think I was going to write a review without bringing up the love triangle did you? I loved them both, and Cassia too, but wanted more out of them. They’re all a bit surface level, and I wanted to see what makes them tick, making their love for one another even more believable. Perhaps in the next novel!
Some more things I liked:
1. The character names! I’m a sucker for unique names and everyone in this novel has one.
2. Eyes. Again, sucker for authors who focus on characters eyes (window to the soul and all).
3. Poetry used in a different way!! Instead of epigraphs no one reads (cough so many other authors cough), this book presents a society in which only 100 poems have been saved. (Also only 100 paintings, history lessons, songs, etc). When Cassia’s grandfather gives her a poem thought to have been destroyed, its words become her song of freedom, its words the one thing society cannot take from her. Poetry used this way made me value words rather than curse the increased word count.
4. The cover. So pretty! I love the simplicity and symbolism.
Confession of the day: I liked this book so much that I bought it!! (Gasp! Unheard of!) And its sequel, just so I could get my hands on it.
So go read this book- you’ll like it!