Kyle sent me a link to a write up about Ally Condie's Matched, I almost passed it by. Great cover, great reviews...but another dystopian YA?
Not quite what I had in mind.
Good thing I caved to the inside color blurb.
Just to be clear, I love dystopian - I've just been patiently waiting for the Hunger Games movie before moving on to my next book in the genre.
But Matched isn't like a lot of dystopian books out there. And it's a refreshing change in YA romance novels.
In Ally Condie's dystopian world, citizens are highly controlled. Everything from their uniform clothing and pills that suppress emotion, through to pre-arranged Matches is determined by a government reminiscent of Lois Lowry's The Giver.
It's a world that at first blush, seems almost natural for its citizens, particularly young Cassia who is eagerly awaiting the Matching Ceremony, where she will be introduced to her future husband. Except Cassia already knows the face that comes up on the screen - she is matched with her best friend Xander, clearly one of the most handsome and sought-after matches. Her friends are instantly jealous.
Cassia should be thrilled, but when she goes to review the background information she's been given on her match, it isn't Xander's face that appears. The officials tell her the second match is a mistake, that Ky is not only not supposed to be her match, he isn't intended to be anyone's.
It's here that Cassia's world begins to unravel - the point where she is no longer content to read and re-read the 100 approved poems the historians were allowed to keep, or listen to the 100 songs the officials did not destroy, or even marry her best friend if her heart is guiding her down a more rebellious path.
Of course she falls in love with Ky. But what I loved about Matched is the slow build of romance missing in some teen fiction. It isn't "love at first sight" or even second and third. The romantic triangle doesn't feel forced or fueled by jealousy. It's a romance that seems more rooted in reality than fantasy - and a wonderful demonstration that real-life love doesn't have to be the stuff of movies.
Matched is definitely worth its international acclaim.
The Book In My Bag Today: Cinder, Marissa Meyer