Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate... until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.
First, if you didn't read my title, this was an Audio Book purchased from Audible, a division of Amazon. I'll tell you about the book first and then the narrator and narration of the book.
This was a dystopian novel, not my favorite type, but this book has been so hyped, I decided I needed to read it. Part of my problem with dystopian novels is that they all seem to be the same. Everyone is living the same life, their jobs have been assigned, no creativity is allowed, the number of children is dictated, everything is the same. It's the Giver, it's City of Ember, in some way, the citizens are being monitored and the powers that be know everything that's going on. Or maybe it's just that I hate the idea that in some ways, Big Brother is already watching and monitoring us, very much like the novel. It rings too true. In any case, it's a contrived love story, and messing with love, not something I ever want to consider.
In this society, anytime after your seventeenth birthday, you can be called to your matching banquet where you are given a dress to wear, that other girls have worn, and will wear again, and you feast on a delicious banquet of food. Other days, their food is sent to their house on an aluminum tray, perfectly proportioned and nutrionally balanced. At the banquet, a young girl's name is called and she goes and stands before a screen and her match is shown to her. When Cassia stands before the screen, as you already know from the blurb on the book she is matched with Xander her childhood friend. But what happens next throws her for a loop and the tight hold the Society has on her, her family and even her neighborhood, begins to unravel.
Cassia's information card on Xander, briefly displays Ky's face as her match, then it goes back to Xander. She hides her card in her pocket and doesn't tell anyone. Then the Society sends a woman to take her card and give her a new one and give her information about Ky she shouldn't know. And things begin to snowball from there. She and Ky are thrown together by accident or design, we don't know. He has one of the worst jobs in the Society, but spends his leisure time with Cassia and her friends. The more I read the more angry I got about the society. They had a committee that chose the Best 100 Songs, Poems, History Lessons etc, Then they destroyed everything. Can you imagine them destroying a Van Gogh or a Monet because it wasn't chosen by a random committee of people? Maybe they preferred Andy Warhol. What if we had to read the same 100 stories and there were no more writers? It gets worse, but I won't tell you how, you'll have to read it. And the way the Society messes in Cassia's life gets worse as it affects everyone who knows her.
This book didn't wow! me like I'm hearing other people say. I definitely hope that Crossed, the book that is coming out next November is a sequel to this book as it feels unfinished. I felt like Xander was constantly surprising me with his decisions and his daringness and how kind he was to Cassia. I thought Cassia was being led to making her decisions and she should have realized it, especially towards the end of the novel. Every time a certain person showed up, she should have known she should be careful in some way or another. But she never learned the lesson. Never learned from her mistake.
As far as listening to it on audio, I think it was a hard book to listen to on audio because there were certain things I didn't understand and I needed to read them I think to understand. Rewinding it and hearing it again just didn't help. I didn't understand why Ky's parent's were dead. I didn't really understand what had happened with Ky's adoptive parent's (his aunt and uncle) birth son. I needed to read these parts to understand them and I still don't understand them. Maybe they aren't clearly explained in the book either. I don't know. But, I'll have to look at a copy of the book to see if I can understand those parts, which means I'll be checking it out of the library. The narrator, was fine, her voice was a little immature or innocent sounding, something I can't put my finger on. Like the world was full of wonder, yet she just accepted the world she lived in without question. I don't know, the character and the voice were so melded together so alike, I think the voice matched the character very well.
This fulfills part of my Whisper in My Ear audio book challenge. It also is part of my Bucket list challenge for the dystopian part.
Heather in Sandwich