Tuesday, April 24, 2012

column 16

With all of the attention on “The Hunger Games,” right now, I thought I might suggest a series that is similar without the horror of children killing other children. The genre of dystopian young adult fiction seems to be very popular right now. There is no shortage of books to quench your thirst if you can’t get enough of this kind of story.

            The “Matched” series by Ally Condie is one of the thousand or so series out there for young adults or anyone who likes to read about another society created in the mind of a very clever author. In this world, “the warming” has come and the “Society” is trying to prevent the end of the world by making choices for everyone.
            The Society has chosen one hundred stories, one hundred paintings, one hundred songs, etcetera for everyone to hear and see. The Society chooses everyone’s professions, everyone’s mate and how many children everyone can have. They even choose when everyone will die.
            Cassia is satisfied with her life in this world. She is happy with her ideal chosen mate, until she sees Ky’s face flash an instant on the matching screen before fading to black. It is then that Cassia begins to question everything she has ever known.
            Is she really happy with her life? Are her parents, grandparents, neighbors, friends, happy with Society making all of their decisions for them?
            The premise of this first book, “Matched,” is engaging and promising. I read it when it was first published two years ago and awaited anxiously for the sequel which was released in November. I just got my hands on a copy of the second installment of this trilogy, “Crossed.” I read it in a few hours.
            The second book is different from the first in that it takes place outside of the Society that has been created. Cassia has chosen who she wants to be with and does her best to find him. But without the kind of “love-triangle” from the first book, there was not quite as much tension.
            What I really like about this series is that it is very clean. I could easily allow my twelve-year-old daughter to read it without being concerned about content. It is not overly intense. And there is not sexual content or innuendo.
            I really liked reading “The Hunger Games.” But I have not let my daughter read it because she gets scared easily and I think it might be a little too intense for her. The situations are dire in those books. Life seems hopeless.
            These books are less about survival of the fittest and more about having free agency. They are about making choices whether those choices are good or bad. And who determines whether a choice is a good choice or a bad choice?
            So, if you liked “The Hunger Games,” take a look at the “Matched” series by Ally Condie. I know it is always nice to find a new series to read and the final book in the series comes out in November.


  1. Have you read the Maze Runner books by James Dashner, Jenny? It is a series that goes along with "Hunger Games" and "Matched." They can be a little intense, but it is very clean. James Dashner is LDS. I loved them! Super quick read and lots of excitement. The third book just came out this fall!

  2. JL, This is a hugely popular series down here in North Carolina. A few months ago when I asked many friends if I should allow my daughter (age ll) to read the Hunger Games, many people referred me to Matched and Crossed as an alternative.

    Hope you are well.

  3. Yeah! A series that I can read and share with my 12-yr-old daughter (I haven't let her read Hunger Games, either). Thanks for the reference.