In a tranquil future with clean streets and no illness, Cassia excitedly anticipates learning who will be her government-dictated marriage Match. Shockingly, it's her friend Xander. But when Cassia slides Xander's microcard into her port to learn his data (a system designed for the more typical Match to a stranger), Xander's face on the portscreen dissolves—and another face appears. It's Ky, their friend who's an Aberration, prohibited from Matching. This unheard-of glitch, along with an outlawed gift from her grandfather, sows doubt in Cassia's mind. She begins to want the forbidden: to run outdoors, to write words with her fingers instead of manipulating them on a screen, to read poetry beyond the sanctioned Hundred Poems—and she wants Ky, who feels the same. Condie peels back layer after dystopic layer at breakneck speed, Dylan Thomas reverberating throughout. If the Society's at war, who's the enemy? Of the three tablets carried by everyone, what does the red one do? Detractors will legitimately cite less-than-subtle morality and similarities to The Giver, but this one's a fierce, unforgettable page-turner in its own right. (Science fiction/romance. YA)Copyright Kirkus 2010 Kirkus/BPI Communications.All rights reserved.
All her life, Cassia has never had a choice. The Society dictates everything: when and how to play, where to work, where to live, what to eat and wear, when to die, and most importantly to Cassia as she turns 17, who to marry. When she is Matched with her best friend Xander, things couldn't be more perfect. But why did her neighbor Ky's face show up on her match disk as well? She's told it was an error, but something once noticed clamors for attention, and now Cassia can't look away. Ky has many secrets, but the most stunning to Cassia is something she never suspected still existed: creativity. As they fall in love, Cassia's eyes are opened to the truth of the Society, and she knows she can no longer blindly follow its dictates. But the Society isn't through with them, and things get much, much uglier. Condie's enthralling and twisty dystopian plot is well served by her intriguing characters and fine writing. While the ending is unresolved (the book is first in a trilogy), Cassia's metamorphosis is gripping and satisfying. Ages 14-up. (Nov.)[Page ]. Copyright 2010 PWxyz LLC
Gr 7 Up--In a story that is at once evocative of Lois Lowry's The Giver (Houghton, 1993), George Orwell's 1984, and Aldous Huxley's Brave New World, Condie introduces readers to the "perfect" Society. Cassia Reyes is a model student, daughter, and citizen. How could she not be when the Society has everything planned and functioning perfectly? All of her needs are met: food, shelter, education, career training, and even her future husband are selected by officials who know what is best for each individual by studying statistical data and probable odds. She even knows when she will die, on her 80th birthday, just as the Society dictates. At her Match Banquet she is paired with Xander, her best friend and certainly her soul mate. But when a computer error shows her the face of Ky, an Aberration, instead of Xander, cracks begin to appear in the Society's facade of perfection. A series of events also shakes her dedication to Xander and puts her future in jeopardy. Cassia exhibits some characteristics of Winston Smith and Lenina Crowne in her silent rebellion against societal control and in her illicit friendship with Ky but ultimately, and more satisfyingly, she is more like Lowry's Jonas. Her awakening and development are realistically portrayed, and supporting characters like Cassia's parents and her grandfather add depth to the story. The biggest flaw is that the story is not finished. Fans of the Giver will devour this book and impatiently demand the next installment.--Anthony C. Doyle, Livingston High School, CA[Page 110]. (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.