Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Reached by Ally Condie


Cassia’s journey began with an error, a momentary glitch in the otherwise perfect façade of the Society. After crossing canyons to break free, she waits, silk and paper smuggled against her skin, ready for the final chapter.
The wait is over.
One young woman has raged against those who threaten to keep away what matters most—family, love, choice. Her quiet revolution is about to explode into full-scale rebellion.
With exquisite prose, the emotionally gripping conclusion to the international–bestselling Matched trilogy returns Cassia, Ky, and Xander to the Society to save the one thing they have been denied for so long, the power to choose.
~Goodreads

Publisher: Dutton 
Number of Pages: 512
Type: Hardcover 

Reviewed by Rachel, age 17


I was thrilled when I saw Reached, the massive (512 pages!) final installment to the internationally bestselling Matched trilogy in my mailbox at work. It's been optioned for film by Disney and I'm hopeful it will hit the big screen! 
"Every morning, the sun comes up and turns the earth red, and I think: This could be the day when everything changes. Maybe today the Society will fall. Then night comes and we’re all still waiting. But I know the pilot is real." ~Pg. 1
The opening chapter is in Xander’s point of view, a pivotal character not seen much since the first book Matched. Condie’s beautiful prose starts with poetic lines like these and ends just as radiant.

Reached, the final installment in the trilogy, begins with each main character: Cassia, Ky and Xander completing their tasks for the Rising to overtake the Society. There are months when none of the characters see each other as the Plague the Rising is trying to cure ravages civilization. They all tell their separate stories under different points of view that inevitably entwine halfway through the novel. 

Ky, the pilot. Cassia, the poet. Xander, the physic. Reached was each of their stories, evenly.


To me, each book is drastically different from the next. Matched is the sweet romance, Crossed is the perilous journey and Reached is the ‘medical thriller’.

I say thrilling because each page turned seemed to be another revelation, big or small (but all somehow connected to each other!) and despite the large size it was very fast-paced as the Plague became worse and worse. 
"I know that the virus doesn't think or feel, but it still seems as if this one likes to take down those who were most alive." ~Xander
However, the massive revelation (or acceptance of the truth) that spanned over all three books was gradual—it made sense, instead of being a twist thrown in to spice up the plot. Condie had it carefully plotted in each book. It’s not a jaw-dropping revelation like the smaller ones that appear throughout the novel, but rather one that makes you want to slap your forehead and reread all three books to find the clues.

The love in this book is very mature for a young adult novel. It’s not your typical love triangle where one boy is hotter and nicer than the other. Ky and Xander are equally matched—even Condie said she couldn’t choose!

She said they both exemplified parts of her husband she loves. Ky is her husband’s left-sided brain, the English major. Xander is her husband’s right-sided brain, the economist. Both kind and deserving; a seemingly impossible decision.

But that’s a message in this novel: There isn’t necessarily one true match for a person in the world. One can love two people at once for completely different reasons, in completely different ways. Cassia loved both Ky and Xander. Ky loved both Cassia and Indie. Indie loved both Ky and Xander. Xander loved both Cassia and Lei. Lei loved both Xander and Vick. It was a carefully spun web of love, easy to get tangled in.

However, in the end the characters pick the love that is right for them in the world they live in. It’s a heartbreaking journey for each character, but most make it to the end happy and alive. I was happy with how all the romances ended! 

(Xander's was definitely the hardest to read! But at least Cassia wasn't like some YA protagonists who lead the other boy on and can't seem to let go even though she knows she'll end up with the other dude!) 
“I believed him unchanging, a stone in all good senses of the word, solid, dependable, something and someone you could build upon. But he is as we all are: light as air, transient as wisps of cloud before the sun, beautiful and fleeting, and if I ever did truly have hold of him, that has ended now.” ~Cassia
Most view Condie’s stripped down, unadorned writing with hints of poetic genius as brilliant. For me it was something that could make or break the novel. The plot was intricate and the characters were as real as they got. There was no fairytale ending guaranteed.

While at some points the writing seemed airy and full of fluff, other times it felt symbolic, poetic and painfully deep. One drawback from this style of writing, or Condie’s approach to the book in general, was that so much of the book was intellectual. There was a lot of emotion, but not a lot of emotional action. That was a major disconnect for me--their emotions sometimes seemed very far away.

(I just really wanted Cassia to cry or Xander to punch something! I mean, c'mon, let's be real here!)

Overall, this is a book worth reading. Set in an unfamiliar yet relatable dystopia with unforgettable characters and thought-provoking prose--it's something you will fly through with grace but you will resonate with much longer. Read it now, because I suspect schools will be reading it as a classic in the future. 

Be sure to check out the Reached PLAYLIST over at Ally Condie's site

Two of my favorites

9 Crimes by Damien Rice
Be Still by The Killers

THE TRAILER



This book hit shelves in November!

Happy reading!
Rachel 


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