Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Book Review: Matched, Crossed, and Reached by Ally Condie

I wanted to wait until I finished the final installment before I reviewed these books. Let me just start by saying how much I love this trilogy. It probably ranks up top in my list of favorite books (a list I have yet to compile but when I do, these will be up there). Here's a summary of Matched, Reached, and Crossed:

Cassia lives in the Society. They control everything--what you eat, what you learn in school, and even who you'll marry, your "match." You're only supposed to be shown one match on your computer screen but somehow, Cassia is shown two. Her best friend Xander and another, more mysterious childhood friend, Ky. Cassia is torn. She's always believed in the Society but after the "glitch" of seeing Ky and some mysterious words from her grandfather at his Final Banquet, Cassia isn't so sure of the Society's perfection. And the more time she spends with Ky, the more she learns about herself and what she wants. Then suddenly Ky is taken away by the Officials. Cassia has no choice but to break all the rules and try to find him. But that means leaving everyone behind, including Xander. Cassia is unsure how she feels about Xander. He's the perfect guy and he obviously loves her. He helps Cassia escape hoping she will find what she is looking for and come back and choose him. So Cassia travels across the Society to places she never knew existed, all to find Ky. She learns just how corrupt and secretive the Society really is. She even learns about the Rising--a faction that wants to take the Society down. Cassia's reunion with Ky is heart-aching and brief. The Rising needs their help. They want both Cassia and Ky to infiltrate the Society and help take it down. So who will Cassia choose? What is the Society hiding? Will the Rising succeed? And most importantly: Will they all survive?

Sometimes I wonder if young people read poetry anymore. Then someone like Ally Condie comes along and I realize that poetry isn't limited to rhymes and stanzas and outdated words we don't understand. It can be found in YA literature. The Matched trilogy is poetry done in a whole new way for a whole new generation. The novels are lyrical; a slow dance of words in your head. They flow so naturally and organically that you find yourself having just read 100 pages and not even noticing. There would be times that I would read a line and stop and say: "Wow, that's beautiful." My sister (a junior high teacher) often shows her students passages from Condie's work as illustrations of metaphors done brilliantly. 

Thanks Ally Condie for giving us another reason to enjoy reading!