Scootsa1000’s #CBR5 Review 8: Reached by Ally Condie

UnknownA long, long time ago, during CBR3, I read a book called Matched by Ally Condie. I thought it was pretty good for a dystopian YA book. Not as good as Hunger Games or Divergent, or even Delirium, but not bad. Better than many.

And then I read the sequel, Crossed. Not quite so good, in my opinion.

Which brings me to the final book of the series, Reached, which falls somewhere between the two in terms of quality.

In Reached, our three main characters (Cassia, Ky, and Xander) are all working separately for THE RISING. Not too far into the story, a massive plague epidemic breaks out in SOCIETY, and only THE RISING has the cure. Xander is working as a medical officer and secretly knows that the cure is on its way, so he doesn’t worry too much about what he sees around him. UNTIL…the plague mutates and can no longer be cured by the medicine provided by THE RISING. And uh-oh, that really cute girl that Xander’s been hanging out with has the plague, too. But he still loves Cassia, so whatever.

Meanwhile, Ky and Indie are working as pilots, delivering medicine to all of the hard-hit cities of SOCIETY. Indie loves Ky. But Ky still loves Cassia, so this can never be.

Cassia is still sorting and trading and blah blah blah something about poetry in the capital city. She creates a makeshift art gallery, for all citizens who want to CREATE something. Bring a poem or story or weird sculpture, sing a song, do a dance, whatever. Everyone is grateful to her for creating such an amazing space.

Begin rant: Really, I can’t with this plot. Something about it really drove me crazy. I think my main issue with it is that Cassia is simply not that likable a character. Everyone is in love with her. Everyone thinks that she holds the key to some solution. And she’s so confident about every little thing. Ugh. End rant.

Anyway, THE PILOT (remember, he/she is the chosen one who will lead THE RISING), singles out these three kids (out of 20 million. please.) to save society from the plague. He brings them to the mountains to work with the best doctor ever in the world to find a cure. Cassia sorts facts about all of the immune citizens into lists to help the scientists make new cures. Xander works hard to create a new cure. And Ky? Ooops, he gets the plague. Will Xander and Cassia figure it out in time? And hey, what about that cute girl that Xander used to work with? Will she be ok, too?

Unless you’ve never read a book before, I’m sure you’ll never, ever guess what happens in the end.

Reached isn’t bad, but it didn’t impress me too much. Xander is really the only character in the book who had any redeeming quality (he really wants to help people), and I’m glad he got over his obsession with Cassia before it broke his heart. After three books, I still know nothing about Ky, other than he was an orphan, and he really, really loves Cassia. And Cassia? She must be awesome to be so adored. I just don’t see it.

Also, it really bugged me every time Xander was described as having golden hair. Because:

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You can read more of my reviews (of which I am WAY behind) on my blog.

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YesKnopeMaybe’s #CBR5 Review #1: Matched by Ally Condie

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I wasn’t prepared to like this young adult book as much as I did. While there’s nothing inherently wrong with romantic YA literature, it’s simply not my cup of tea. I’d rather not relive my hormone addled teenage years through fiction. However, to classify Matched as a teenage romance is a serious disservice to Ally Condie’s novel. The novel uses the framework of an accidental love triangle to tackle universal themes such as self-determination, authority, and familial relationships.

Matched takes place in a future dystopian civilization governed by The Society and is told from the perspective of Cassia Reyes. At 17, she is “matched” to her best friend Xander, but due to a glitch, she finds out that she was also matched to a boy her age named Ky. Although The Society officials assure her that her real match is Xander, she can’t stop herself from wondering what her life would have been like if she had been matched to Ky. As she gets to know Ky better, she struggles between choosing a safe, comfortable life with Xander and a difficult, unstable one with Ky.

It’s not perfect, but it’s an immensely readable book. Condie’s writing gives voice to the push and pull between choosing our futures and wondering what might have been if we had taken a different path. Along the way, Cassia has to make some tough decisions and goes from being a carefree adolescent who sees the world in black and white to an adult who has to navigate a very shades-of-gray world.