Twilight Connection's Blog

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Matched By Ally Condie: Teen Fiction For Twilight Fans


Happy 2011 to everyone and welcome back to my blog. I’ve been on a bit of a hiatus having been consumed with graduate school applications for the past few months but I am back and ready to share some exciting Twilight blogs with you this year. Also, keep checking back here as February gets closer and the filming of Breaking Dawn heads over here to Vancouver, BC.

This post is about a young adult (or teen fiction) novel I’m currently reading titled Matched by the talented Ally Condie. I have about 50 pages left of Matched still to read but couldn’t wait to jump on the blog and share it with you guys. If you loved the writing style and characterization of both The Twilight Saga and The Hunger Games series, then this new young adult novel is a must read. Let me preface my review of Matched with these words of praise from the back of the hardcover itself:

Matched is a page-turning, dystopian love story, written with the soul of a poet. Finally, a brave new world that readers from Twilight to The Hunger Games will claim as their own.” – Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, authors of Beautiful Creatures and Beautiful Darkness.

Matched tells the story of Cassia Reyes, a teenage girl living in a futuristic world of conformity, control, and uniformity according to the ways of The Officials who govern the society. Cassia, from the moments we are introduced to her, is evidently a free spirit waiting to break free of the constraints of her own existence – something she doesn’t fully become aware of until becoming closer to Ky, a mysterious boy she’s overlooked over the years. There’s also the added complication of her close relationship with Xander, someone she considers to be her best friend but who she is supposedly destined to be with. Matched essentially examines a social structure where young teens are placed into arranged relationships for the future benefits of the society.

The story of Matched follows Cassia through a progression towards self-discovery. Ally Condie really succeeds with this novel because she takes a fairly standard literary trope, that of a female heroine struggling against the world she’s situated within, and turns it into a futuristic whirlwind of emotion and angst. Condie’s novel reads with ease as we begin to truly care for Cassia and her genuine emotions and feelings. I love that she is such a kind and soulful character despite the fact she has grown up in a society that finds no value in individuality or softer qualities like emotional depth or questioning.

Throughout the novel we see Cassia break out of her shell and become someone who stands on her own two feet. She is truly brave in the face of adversity and faces opposition head on. In a lot of ways, Cassia’s quiet strength reminds me of Bella Swan in Twilight or Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. All three female heroines possess different traits and personalities, but they all have this powerful inner strength within them that readers can really appeal and relate to, especially young girls reading these novels. Cassia is definitely a literary role model worth examining – as she represents what might not be a very distant reality we will have to face in our own ever-increasing modern existence. Cassia is the kind of protagonist that represents not only present day struggles in society but also what may be to come in our own future.

As usual, I found myself reflecting on Twilight as I read Matched. I never try to do this intentionally, but I found myself picturing Kristen Stewart and hearing her voice when Cassia is present. There’s something about the subtle sensitivity that Kristen brings to her roles that I thought matched (no pun intended) well with the character of Cassia. It’s the same reason why I pictured her as Katniss from the opening pages of the first Hunger Games novel. I guess it’s unintentional, but Kristen keeps finding her way into my imagination as I’m introduced to these interesting, courageous, beautiful, and strong female leads. If Matched ever gets adapted into a film, you know who I’ll be rooting for to play the amazing and inventive character of Cassia.

Twilight fans – check out Matched. I can guarantee many of you will be hooked in the opening pages. There is a beautiful poetic quality to this book that mirrors the kind of writing exhibited by Stephenie Meyer with Twilight. Coming from an English literature background myself, I love to see literature and poetry infused in modern-day teen lit or young adult lit as it has been in Twilight. In Matched, you’ll experience the poetry of Dylan Thomas in a whole new light as it is brought back into a present day love story.

You can find Matched by Ally Condie at all major bookstores currently in hardcover format. It was released on November 30, 2010 and the sequel titled Crossed is expected to come out in the fall of 2011. If you happen to have read it already or read it after checking out this blog, please let me know what you thought about it!

Kristen would make the perfect Cassia Reyes.

Matched by Ally Condie at Amazon.com

Author Ally Condie’s Website

[Matched book cover is property of Ally Condie | Kristen Stewart picture found at All Kristen Stewart]

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January 15, 2011 - Posted by | KStew, Twilight | , , , , , , , , , , ,

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