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Matched April 17, 2013

Filed under: Books — Heather @ 2:21 pm
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Matched by Ally Condie

matchedIn the not-so-distant future, The Society controls all aspect of life.  They decide what you eat, where you work, whom you marry, and even when you die.  That’s just the way it is.  A Matching ceremony is held when you turn seventeen.  It is here eager teenagers learn who will be their life-long mate.  Cassia’s seventeenth birthday coincides with her Matching ceremony.  She will learn who she’ll marry-what a present!  Her match just happens to be her neighbor and friend Xander.  She’s surprised and thrilled.  Never has she thought of him romantically, but somehow it’s comforting and easy.  Cassia and Xander timidly enter into a new relationship.

After she’s Matched, Cassia receives the details about her partner-to-be.  What could she not already know about Xander?  But she’s in for a surprise when it’s not his face she sees flash on the screen.  She immediately recognizes Ky from school.  He’s a loner she’s never gotten to know.  Xander’s smiling face reappears, wiping Ky’s from the screen. Cassia is confused to say the least.  Could it be a mistake?  Is Xander really her Match or is it Ky?  The Society does NOT make mistakes!

Intrigued by what she’s seen, Cassia can’t get Ky out of her head.  She encounters him at school and during hiking class. The more she gets to know Ky, the more she finds herself attracted to him.  But Xander is her Match…or is he?

I know what you’re thinking-not another dystopian future story.  That’s what I assumed before I read Ms. Condie’s work.  I really liked this one.  Maybe the premise is an old one but the characters are refreshingly different.  Yes, there’s a love triangle, but I think it worked.  I know many of the other reviews out there have been harsh on Matched, claiming it is “stolen” ideas from past books.  I totally disagree.  The author gives us a new interpretation of what life is like in one society.  The details woven into the story give the characters depth.  I especially liked Cassia’s grandfather and the role he plays in her life.  The preparation for his death and his passing was beautifully written.  It’s moments like this that separate Matched from other dystopian novels and makes it an instant classic in this reader’s opinion.

Matched is a 2014 Teen Nutmeg Nominee.  Check out the further adventures of Cassia in Crossed and Reached.

 

Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier February 13, 2013

Filed under: Books,The Classics — Heather @ 12:31 am
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rebecca-by-daphne-du-maurier

“Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again.”

A young woman, a paid companion, is in Monte Carlo with her rich, American employer. It is here she meets Maxim de Winter, a handsome widower not impressed with the frivolities of the French Riviera. Drawn to her unpretentious character and attractive inexperience, the two spend all their spare time together. Somber Mr. de Winter was married before. A mystery surrounds the death of his wife. They say he just can’t get over Rebecca. Our heroine seems to melt Maxim’s chilly exterior and soothe his wounded heart.

After a whirlwind romance the new Mrs. de Winter arrives home at Manderley, a picture postcard perfect estate on the Cornish coast of England. The young bride (who remains nameless throughout the story) is in for a shock. Along with the estate comes a litany of servants and responsibilities. Mrs. Danvers rules Manderley with her steely façade and grim presence. Danny loved Rebecca and takes every opportunity to remind the new Mrs. de Winter she’ll never fill the void left by her predecessor.

Feeling like an outsider, not belonging to the world of landed gentry into which she has been dropped, the new bride hopes she hasn’t made a mistake. Inept at every turn, the second Mrs. de Winter is haunted by the past perfection that was Rebecca.

Maxim’s first wife was the epitome of elegance and beauty. Her shadow hovers over Manderley, casting doubt into the heart of her successor.

Maxim never speaks of Rebecca, never mentions her death. She drowned off the coast while boating alone one night. Haunted by her memory, happiness evades Maxim. Our young protagonist is the antithesis of glamorous Rebecca. Can she fill the shoes that trampled over Maxim and all of Manderley?

Since publication in 1938, Rebecca has stood the test of time. A classic tale of romance and suspense, it will satisfy lovers of both. Famous for introducing readers to the windy Cornish coast, dashing Maxim de Winter, and insidiously creepy Mrs. Danvers,  Daphne du Maurier’s Rebecca is worth reading and re-reading…and re-reading.