Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Bookanistas, Matched, and Me

 Bookanistas logo
Holy cannelloni, isn’t this badge spanking hot? This baby belongs to the Bookanistas, a group I’m honored to be a part of. If you haven’t heard of us before today, don’t feel out of the loop—today is actually the official launch day. I only recently heard about the group myself. Actually, I could hardly contain my glee when I was asked to be a part of it. The other writers in the group are pretty dang amazing and worth every penny I spend bribing them to like me; I implore you to stop by and check out all of their blogs and stalk with all due haste (see their links below).

But what are Bookanistas, you ask? From the desk of fellow Bookanista Shelli Johannes-Wells:

Today is the first launch day of the new book review bloggers - The Bookanistas: Books are the New Black. We are a group of writers who are in various stages of the publishing process -  and we have decided to band together and review the special books of our peers. We – as fellow writers – have decided to only post positive reviews, therefore, only reviewing the book we LOVE. No negative reviews here!

The Bookanistas give nothing but love!

Starting today, we will post reviews every Thursday that cover various topics – upcoming ARCs, books we love, special diamonds in the rough, classics, and even cover reviews. This fashionable badge represents our group (club/gang/posse/secret society/peeps). Here is a list of the Bookanistas:  Christine Fonseca, Jamie Harrington, Michelle Hodkin, Kristin Hubbard, Shelli Johannes-Wells, Elana Johnson, Myra McEntire, Shannon Messenger, Coli Pinnell, Beth Revis, Lisa and Laura Roecker, Sarah and Katie (Plot this), Scott Tracey (and myself!)

So, on to my first ARC review as a Bookanista:

MATCHED by Ally Condie
Book Blurb: In the Society, Officials decide. Who you love. Where you work. When you die.

Cassie has always trusted their choices. It’s barely any price to pay for a long life, the perfect job, the ideal mate. So when her best friend appears on the Matching screen, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is the one…until she sees another face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. Now Cassia is faced with impossible choices: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she’s known and a path no one else has ever dared follow—between perfection and passion.

Admit it. You’re already in love with this book. That cover is stunning, isn’t it? I about died when I first got this ARC. I’d been chomping at the bit to read it. So, yeah, I might have entered into this book with a touch of pre-love, but you know, it was tempered by certain misgivings. I thought, ehhhhh, what if it’s too much like The Giver? Or like any other book about a utopian society that is secretly one big fat dystopia?

Well, you know what? It is that. And yet, it’s sooooo not just that (and it’s not at all like Lowry’s The Giver). Ultimately, Matched is a love story. And a frigging passionate one at that—without any sex, even (or a single curse word). Who knew it was possible? It’s also a story about choices, and the lack thereof. Condie brilliantly links Cassia’s sexual maturation and her growing awareness of her love for Ky, someone other than her Match, with the shedding of her ignorance (and subsequent loss of innocence) of the truth behind her society. Indeed, it’s difficult to even pinpoint which revelation leads to the other, or if perhaps they are not merely happening simultaneously or even despite the other.  But it doesn’t really matter. Its complexity just adds to its beauty. Even the love triangle is far more complicated than what is typically found in YA, because you will love Xander just as much as Ky. I know it seems like Condie is merely messing with your emotions, but really, who wants a love triangle where it’s easy to choose? It’s genius. I loved that it wasn’t obvious who Cassia should be with or who she would end up with.

Gawd, I could not put this book down. And by the time I was finished, I was emotionally spent and yet, I felt oddly ebullient. I beg you to run out and buy a copy as soon as it comes out. Good grief, even the language  and voice in which the story is told is absolutely breathtaking. Several times I simply had to set the book against my chest and sigh at the poetry.

I know it seems like I am messing with your emotions now, since Matched doesn’t come out until November 30, but I do have a signed copy I’ll be giving away soon. So stay tuned. I promise you: You. Want. This.


Want to check out the other Bookanistas blogging their book reviews today? See my glorious list below. It’s full of gems.

Katie and Sarah Frances - ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS
Lisa and Laura - STRANDED
Christine Fonesca - NIGHTSHADE CITY
Shannon Messenger - LINGER
Shelli Johannes-Wells - DARK GODDESS
Scott Tracey - OTHER
Kirsten Hubbard - THE DUFF
Beth Revis - PEGASUS
Jamie Harrington - ARCHVILLIAN
Bethany Wiggins and Suzette Saxton - NIGHTSHADE CITY

Got a book you think we might love enough to review? Shoot me an e-mail, and we’ll add it to the list.


P.S. Be sure to stop by Sara McClung’s blog to see some pictures of our time at ALA 2010 (along with Alexandra Shostak)! I did my best monkey expression. I swear!


  1. Look at the cool kids and their new group! So fun.

    You know MATCHED is already near the top of my list. I'll go forth and conquer the other reviews now :P

  2. oohh...LOVE THE COVER OF THIS BOOK!!! Can't wait to read it!

  3. This is awesome! I can't wait to read all of reviews-I can't wait to read this book. Thanks!

  4. Not only is it an incredible cover but I LOVED this book! The premise was incredible. I can't wait for the sequel!

  5. I'm going to be looking forward to Thursdays. Thanks for the review...and the links.

  6. Sweet MUFFINS that book looks AMAZING! I am SO loving this book fashionista thing! *runs off to order*


  7. ROCKIN REVIEW!! I've gotten the opportunity to read this book and I feel you did it wonderful justice with the review. It truly was an amazing book and I was lucky to get my hands on it!

  8. AMAZING review! And I have met Ally, and she is the nicest person on the planet. I can't wait to read this book!

  9. You used the word ebullient in a review. Go to the head of the class!

    I cannot WAIT to read this one. And your review just cemented it for me that it's going to be just as good as I hoped it would be.

  10.!!!! It looks AWESOME!

  11. this book rocked! i met ally at BEA - she's nice.

  12. eeeee I can't wait to read Matched! And, yep, Shelli--Ally is SO nice! We met her at ALA and I heart her.

    Now I have to go to stupid work instead of reading Matched, thank GOODNESS I'm at the beach next week so I can read it =)

  13. Want. To. Read. This. Book. NOW!!! And awesome review my dear. You definitely rocked this one! ;)

  14. I am SOO excited to read this book. Awesome review, C!

  15. I can't wait to read this book! I'm off to see the great monkey expression. :)

  16. I want! Yes, I'll be jostling the crowds when you do this book giveaway. Great review and good wishes to all the Bookanistas.

  17. I totally agree with your review! MATCHED was such an awesome read and I cannot wait for the sequel! :)

  18. THAT is an intriguing book premise! I love books like that. And I love what you guys are doing...only positive reviews. There's way too much negativity in the world already!

  19. Bookanistas, oh, it's going to be a good reading summer - except that we have to wait until November for MATCHED.

  20. I like the name bookanista! Very imaginative. And great review :)

  21. Awesome review, Carol! Hope you are enjoying your holiday. :)

  22. Thanks for the excellent post. I'm so excited for you and your new gig. Not for one moment do I believe you needed to bribe anybody! You're Awesome-Carol for crying out loud! I'll definitely be tuning in to catch those book reviews. P.S. I think the Bookanista's should do vlogs.

  23. I'll admit it; I'm already half in love with this one. I wish it were already out. Thanks for the review.

  24. Thanks for the book review. I'm a little skeptical of books that sound too similar to other ones I've read, but this sounds like a good twist on a familiar story. Hope you continue to have a relaxing summer. :)

  25. They couldn't have picked a better person to be in their Cool Kids Club. :)

    I was excited to read this book before your review but now I'm even more excited.

    It was so great to see you last night. I miss you already. XO

  26. I'm not surprised you do book reviews well. Nope.

    Also, extra points for use of the word "ebullient" in a review of a YA book. Yup.


  27. Congrats, Carol! That is quite an honor. You rock. :)

  28. Wow, this is totally interesting, loved the idea of the group! Cant wait to read Matched! =D

  29. Ally is so sweet, isn't she? And yes, MATCHED is amazing. I sure hope I can get an ARC and read it soon so I can read it in it's final, polished form soon. All these reviews she's getting are just incredible. Yay Ally and MATCHED!

  30. There's been so much buzz over this book, especially from BEA, but now that I've read your luminous review...I AM DYING TO READ IT!!

    I want to win the ARC..MUST WIN. Gimme! :)

    Happy Monday, Carol.

  31. What a fun club, and the badge is awesome. Miss you, Carol. And your snark!!

    I just wanted to let you know that I changed blog domains, so my new domain name is:

    Have a great day!!

  32. Awesome review, and now I really want to read this book! I'll be looking for that giveaway!

  33. I like the whole Bookanista thing. Very chic. Personally, one of my "heros" is Bernard Black...but that's a whole nother

  34. I've been eying MATCHED since seeing it on several blogs. It looks like an awesome read.

    What a great group to be a part of.

  35. Carol, just wanted to come by and say thanks for being so gracious with my low tech mistake. It really meant a lot. I think you might get a kick out of GIL'S ALL FRIGHT DINER, too.

    Have a great week, Roland


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