Author: Ally Condie
Publication: Dutton Juvenile (November 30, 2010)
Description: 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.
My Thoughts: This was an interesting young adult dystopia with a rather frightening world. Everything is perfect as long as you do exactly what the Society tells you to do. The society controls where you live, what job you do, what you eat, and who you marry. Sometime around the age of 17, young people who choose to be matched attend a banquet and see the face of their spouse. They also get a holocard with information about them. Cassia is surprised when Xander is announced as her match. She has known and been friends with him since she was a small child. The next day, when she checks the holocard to see what they decided to tell her about Xander, she sees the face of another boy. Ky is also known to her. He came to her neighborhood after the death of his parents to live with his Aunt and Uncle. An official meets Cassia and tells her that he couldn't be her match because he is an Aberation and is unmatchable. But she becomes fascinated with him and eager to learn his story.
While the romance was interesting, I thought the most interesting part of this book was the world that Condie created. It reminded me of Camazotz, the world that Meg visits in A Wrinkle in Time. Everything was controlled. Everyone was specialized. They had boiled down all of art and literature to 100 songs, 100 poems, 100 paintings. And, since they even monitored dreams, there was no way to rebel. This quote sums it up:
"I think people should be able to choose who they Match with," I say lamely.I was especially repelled by the idea that people automatically died at age 80. Cassia, at first, seems to accept this. She attends her Grandfather's last banquet. He has given her an Artifact - an old make-up compact that had belonged to an ancestor. He shows her a secret compartment with two poems in it. The poems are not on the list of 100 poems. They are Crossing the Bar by Tennyson and a poem by Dylan Thomas called Do Not Go Gentle Into that Good Night. Those poems become her secret. She shares her secret with Ky and he shares drawings of his life before he met her.
"Where would it end, Cassia?" she says, her voice patient. "Would you say next that eople should be able to choose how many children they have, and where they want to live? Or when they want to die?"
I recommend this dystopia to young adults. It was very thought-provoking and the romance was sweet.
And then I picture my father closing the door gently but firmly and keeping me safe inside this house. Inside these walls where I have been safe for so long.Challenges: RYOB Reading Challenge, 2010 YA Debut Author Reading Challenge, 2010 YA Reading Challenge
But this house isn't safe anymore, I remind myself. This hiuse is where I first saw Ky's face on a microcard. Where they searched my father.
Is there a safe place anywhere in this Borough? In this City, this Province, this world?