Wednesday, January 12, 2011


"Do not go gentle into that good night...Rage, rage against the dying of the light." -- Dylan Thomas

Those words remind me of a dear friend and how I feel about her battle to live.  They are also the words that inspire Cassia to fight against the Society that has always dictated how she will live.  The Society tells you how much you will eat, who you will marry, what job you will have, what songs you will listen to, what poems you will read, what history you will know, and even when you will die.  Varying from their rules results in punishments.

The day after her Match Banquet she inserts the data card that holds the information about her future husband, who turned out to be her best friend Xander, into her data port. But a different face momentarily comes up on her screen - Ky Markham.  Cassia feels that there must be some mistake, but the Society doesn't make mistakes.  This sets into motion a series of events for Cassia that she would have never imagined possible because Cassia starts doing something most people in the Society never do: she starts making her own choices. Set in a time when humans attempt to create a world free of hatred, starvation, and disease, Cassia's world is happy on the surface, but just underneath lurks the truth that humans are still human.  Some human or humans are always in control and therefore, nothing is truly perfect.  When Cassia discovers the words to Dylan Thomas' famous poem she decides to fight for her own life.

Recently the NY Times had a little discussion about why dystopian fiction is so hot with teens right now.  Several different YA authors and others offered their opinions about why this is....this reflects how teens feel about their own lives....teens see more clearly how our world is on this big precipice and how easily we could end up like these stories...blah, blah, blah.  My theory: people, including teenagers, like stories about good vs. evil and dystopian fiction deliciously blurs the lines between the two making it more fun to read.  While dystopian fiction certainly isn't a new concept (Bradbury, Lowry, etc.) recent authors threw in the clincher for females: swoon! 

So Ali Condie, you best be writing at this very moment both of the next two books in this series because I need to read them pronto!

p.s. I wonder if this series will spawn a whole new series of debates along the lines of Team Peeta vs. Team Gale?  I'd like to think so :)

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