Dutton Juvenile, 366 Pages
Released November 30, 2010
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.
"This is a difficult balance, telling the truth: how much to share, how much to keep, which truths will wound but not ruin, which will cut too deep to heal."
***MINOR SPOILERS - nothing major, but I do discuss some of the events in the book***
I've been waffling at the rating I'm going to give this book for awhile. It's been so hyped to me (this is what I get for reading it 1.5 years after it's original release...) that I had high expectations, and I have to say...they were sort of met? I mean, I'm not that well versed in Dystopian YA fiction quite yet - but I know I like romance, intrigue, creative worlds, a few twists, and that painful, welcome tug at my heart. And in that sense, completely delivered. There were honestly moments I could not put this book down, times that I had to know what was happening and felt like I myself was trying to make a choice and defy Society.
But it also took me 5 days to read this - about 4 days longer than it would take me to read any other book. I finished two others during it, and started two more. It wasn't ever slow, and it wasn't ever boring. But there was just something about it where I was...unimpressed? It may be that I just wanted her to be nicer to Xander! He's her Match, her long time best friend...so the Friend Zone, I guess. So much of her discovery of life beyond Society's Choices seemed selfish to me, and I hated that.
That all said...I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. My heart was torn with hers when Ky was "relocated," I wanted to cry for Bram when the Artifacts were taken away. I believed whole-heartedly in her parents love and the goodness of Xander. Despite my reservations about the book, I can't deny that it's a fabulous read.
Also, how amazing is this Society that Ally Condie has cooked up?! It's brilliant: the Hundred Poems/Songs, ports, even the Match system. Of course I think it's all terrible, but the idea of it is so original. Was I the only one who feared this could totally happen in real life? Technology/social media and the availability to be so linked in with such an influx of sensations is overwhelming - and I could see how one day we'd all decide it's just too much and strip it all away.
(And bonus notable quote: "There is screaming in the Borough again and this time it is human." How striking is that?!)
Even though I had negatives, the positives of this book FAR outweigh all of them. I can't wait to get Crossed (Book 2)!
4 Stars / 5