Since I’ve decided to become an English Teacher, I figured I would probably have to read Young Adult books. In fact, there’s a whole class on it! So obviously, we’re studying different types of Young Adult novels. Being superawesome, I decided that I was going to branch out and read a few on my own. After all, I’m about to ask thousands and thousands of kids to just read, it won’t hurt me to pick up a book on my own. So, I guess here is my book report for all of you.
I just recently finished Matched by Ally Condie. It was published in 2010, and currently has one sequel with another on the way. I said I was reading books, I didn’t say I was grabbing them the second they come out. But it’s a good book. It’s about a dystopian future (thankfully, it seems we’ve moved on from vampires and onto dystopian futures… everyone knows that the best vampire love story was Buffy and Angel) where people are “matched” after they turn 17 to the person they will spend their life with in a tightly controlled society. Our hero, Cassia, just wants to be matched. At the day of the lavish banquet, she’s matched to her best friend, Xander, which is unusual enough, but she finds that she may have been matched originally to Ky, who’s not eligible to be matched for reasons that you should probably read. What follows is a cool story of rebellion, adventure, and some pretty cool mysteries. And of course a love story, but you could probably figure that part out on your own. (Also, pretty cool names. Dystopian teens ALWAYS get the best names.)
The best science fiction ties together problems of the real world and makes them relatable. Star Trek got away with a lot of heavy handed preaching back in the 60’s because it could hide all of its moralizing in green skinned hot chicks and pointy eared aliens. That’s what the best Young Adult fiction is going to do as well: tie together the problems of youth, and hide it in a neat little package.
Matched does just this. Cassia gets all the responsibility of being an adult –starting to work, getting matched with her life-mate-without having the power to do anything about it or change it. (Everything is tightly controlled by a strict government. Also, all of the officials wear white. I’m not sure what it is about dystopian futures that make all strict oppressive governments wear white. I’d think that would be tough to clean.) But that’s the idea, isn’t it? When you’re growing up and in high school, you’re told to act like an adult, that all of your decisions are going to affect the rest of your life, but you’re also told where to be, what to wear and when to be there. Matched is able to expertly convey this, and not beat you over the head with it. Also, it’s able to tie in so many symbols that are just beautiful, and makes my future English teacher heart just leap with the idea of how I can teach this in a classroom one day.
I enjoyed this book. I can’t say that enough. I’m looking forward to reading the sequel. I’m looking forward to devouring more young adult fiction, because it’s gotten pretty interesting lately. But mostly, I’m looking forward to getting into a classroom and discussing this with the target audience, just to see what they think about it.