Author: Ally Condie
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: 1st November 2010
Read in: July 2012
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On her seventeenth birthday, Cassia meets her match. The Society dictates that he is her perfect partner for life, except he's not.I had heard several mixed things about this book; some quite negative things. I had been put off. However, randomly, I downloaded a sample on to my kindle, and I couldn’t stop reading.
In Cassia's society, Officials decide who people love. How many children they have. Where they work. When they die.
But, as Cassia finds herself falling in love with another boy, she is determined to make some choices of her own.
And that's when her whole world begins to unravel...
‘A girl in a green dress stands waiting, her heart pounding. Me. The screen is dark, and it stays dark. That can only mean one thing.‘
One thing that struck me straight away was the writing. It was beautiful and poetic. I found myself being sucked in and felt Cassia’s excitement at the beginning just as she did. I felt her nervousness. Being able to connect with the main character is what made this book work for me. I needed to be able to see this strange society from someone who understood it or thinks they do. There wasn’t anything particularly exciting about Cassia’s character or personality; in fact she was doing probably what I would have been doing. I’m boring, I know. But I got where she was coming from. She is not the tough, stand up to society type of girl. She’s quiet.
This is a book about freedom, discovery and creativity. The Society is keeping the people healthy and extending their life expectancy. But at a cost. The Society was quite typical for a dystopian. But the controlling aspect was a lot more vigorous than in others. People are not only assigned jobs but they are told they don’t need to know anything else. In fact they are like machines. There is a reason the society is so controlling, it is so the characters can break free. Most dystopians are about the characters actively rebelling against the system. Here it is secret rebelling. I am going to sneak around and do naughty things but put on a good face when the Society comes knocking. It wasn’t quite what I was expecting.
The stories main focus was on the relationship between Caissa and Ky. This I don’t usually expect from a dystopia. This is usually a contemporary theme. When Ky’s face flashes on the screen, a normal person’s reaction would be ‘Yay! I get to choose’ however Caissa is so ingrained in the system, so reliant, that when there seems to be confusion of her match, she is confused too. Growing up in this society is completely different than out own. Her decisions are completely different. But together they discover there could be more for the people than just what the Society tells them to do. I like the casual building of their relationship. They knew each other before hand and I am always a sucker for falling in love with your friend. They had more in common that they originally thought and I think they are great together, even though I do feel sorry for Xander.
This book was classed as a dystopia, and it is, but it still surprised me at every turn. If you want the next Hunger Games or Divergent, with a kickass heroine who is going to battle the system, don’t look here. This is all about the characters and the relationships, with very hushed rebellious tones. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would.