Road Trip Wednesday is a ‘Blog Carnival,’ where YA Highway's contributors post a weekly writing- or reading-related question that begs to be answered. In the comments, you can hop from destination to destination and get everybody's unique take on the topic.
This Week's Topic:
What's the best book you've read in August?
The best book I read--actually re-read--in August would have to be Ally Condie's Matched. I read it back in November 2010 not long after it came out and really enjoyed it. I loved it WAY more on the second read through. There were things that I didn't catch in the first reading because I was hell-bent on gobbling the thing up, I was enjoying it that much (I do this all the time, and fail to notice things along the way).
Matched--How do I love thee? Let me count the ways...with as little spoilerage as possible:
- Creative Elements: My favourite element would have to be Condie's inclusion of the Dylan Thomas poem Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night. First of all, it's a great poem, but secondly, Condie weaves it into the story so masterfully. I LOVED it! Also, the passing mention of a Robert Frost poem (included in the 100 Poems that remain in Cassia's world) which was not The Road Not Taken, subtly plays into the dystopia, where taking the less traveled path (i.e. resisting) is more than just frowned upon.
- Worldbuilding: The world of Matched was such that I could actually buy into it. Particularly with dystopian fiction, I find that this can be really difficult. I've read certain dystopian novels where I really had to suspend my disbelief where the premise was concerned--to the point where it was completely distracting. I need to believe that things in our world could get to a point where the dystopia's brand of oppression would actually be adopted by the masses. Cassia's world felt as though it could conceivably come to pass (terrifying as that might be). The scary thing is that some aspects of this world are actually appealing, and therein lies the believability of this dystopian world.
- Romance: The love triangle--I loved Ky, but still felt something for Xander (much like Cassia). To make a love triangle truly intense/gripping/painful/bittersweet (I can't think of the word I'm looking for) both of the love interests have to have some kind of real connection with the MC. I felt like Condie did an excellent job making the reader fall in love with the one love interest, while still experiencing a certain amount of attachment and pain at setting the other one free. I truly liked both of these fellas.
- Characters: Cassia as a main character was extremely likable and had just enough flaws to keep her from Mary Sue territory. I was really able to connect with this character and actually gave a rip what happened to her and those she loved. I felt her emotions vividly and could relate to both her tragedies and triumphs. I could buy into both Ky and Xander as love interests, and really liked both of them. The secondary characters were also well fleshed out (her grandpa and mom were favourites).
If you haven't read Matched yet and you like dystopian YA fiction, you definitely should. Plus, the sequel Crossed comes out November 1st!