Matched By Ally Condie: A Review

Matched By Ally Condie

Title: Matched

Author: Ally Condie

Series: Matched #1

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile

Published Date: November 1, 2010

Matched by Ally Condie is a great addition to the ever-growing Young Adult Dystopian genre. It features a strong heroine in Cassia, who is very smart and slowly begins to recognize the truth about the world she lives in. I love to read female teen characters that have strength in their convictions and will do the right thing even when it’s hard.

On her matching day, Cassia finds out she is matched with Xander, her best friend. It is unusual but not unheard of for people to be matched with someone they already know. Cassia is given a disk with information about her match and when she views it another face is shown on the screen. A glitch like this is unheard of and it starts a chain of events that change Cassia’s life forever.

This book is difficult to put down. It really has it all forbidden love, a government that has a big secret, and a character that is put in an impossible situation. The normal awakening and awareness of self that one experiences in the teen years coupled with a forbidden love and a government that is literally out to get you, makes for an exciting read.

I am glad that the love triangle was dispatched quickly. Even though Cassia tries to imagine her perfect little life with Xander, she realizes that you cannot go back. That knowledge changes you.

This series is often compared with The Hunger Games but I think The Uglies Series is a much better comparison. There is a lightness here that The Hunger Games lacks. The dark things are just below the surface and will most likely rear their heads in books two and three.

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This is a paid review for BlogHer Book Club but the opinions expressed are my own.

All images taken from goodreads.

The Fault In Our Stars By John Green

The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

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“Diagnosed with Stage IV thyroid cancer at 12, Hazel was prepared to die until, at 14, a medical miracle shrunk the tumors in her lungs… for now.

Two years post-miracle, sixteen-year-old Hazel is post-everything else, too; post-high school, post-friends and post-normalcy. And even though she could live for a long time (whatever that means), Hazel lives tethered to an oxygen tank, the tumors tenuously kept at bay with a constant chemical assault.

Enter Augustus Waters. A match made at cancer kid support group, Augustus is gorgeous, in remission, and shockingly to her, interested in Hazel. Being with Augustus is both an unexpected destination and a long-needed journey, pushing Hazel to re-examine how sickness and health, life and death, will define her and the legacy that everyone leaves behind.”

This is my first John Green book and if the others are as good as this one, and I suspect they might be, then the wild popularity and best-selling status is much deserved. The ability to write a story centered around teenagers who have cancer, one being undeniably terminal, and not allowing the reader to feel bad for them is a rare talent.

Death and dying is such an uncomfortable topic for most people that they usually can only deal with it in platitudes. One of my favorite parts are the expressions all over Augustus’s house (home is where the heart is and such.) It seems so lacking in light of the real life drama that Hazel and Augustus are living with.

The Fault Of Our Stars is filled with characters that feel very real. The dialogue throughout was perfect, witty and quick. The kind of conversations you remember from your teenage years when you could talk on the phone for hours.  I loved that the characters themselves deconstruct death in such a way that the reader is left knowing the hole left is with the living. Referring to the dying as a grenade which wreaks havoc on the survivors is such an interesting way to think about it.

The love story was beautiful without being cheesy. It is nice to read a Young Adult novel where the characters themselves are not so overly dramatic as to make their romance more akin to that of a harlequin novel (I’m looking at you Twilight.)

I loved everything about The Fault In Our Stars, especially the ending. It was perfect without wrapping the story in a neat bow. It is sad,  but you can believe that the characters are all the better having known each other.