What I’m Reading: Reached by Ally Condie

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Reached (#3 in the Matched Trilogy) by Ally Condie

I don’t like writing negative reviews since I know people will inevitably write them about my books if/when I publish them someday. I wish I could say I loved this book. I really enjoyed Matched, and Crossed was a lot of fun. Unfortunately Reached had several big problems that ruined the finale of this series for me.

First off, Crossed is unnecessarily long. Condie drags out the story over 500 pages. I read whole chapters where nothing happened. The book could have been cut in half without losing anything. It took me well over a month to read it because if I ever put it down, I’d forget I was reading it. I finally finished it trying to cure a bout of  insomnia. Not a good sign if I read a book to lull myself to sleep.

Second, I did not like Xander. He could have died ten pages in (or in Crossed for that matter), and I wouldn’t have minded. That may have more to do with my personality than Condie’s writing, but for me any semblance of a legitimate love triangle fell apart in book two.

Third, Crossed was confusing. I’m still trying to figure out what actually happened. I spent months anticipating a finale with a big exciting battle for control, but what I got was a tiny whimper and a bunch of people in comas. Usually I can give you a detailed outline of the plot of a novel complete with character arcs. My memories of Crossed consist of Xander trying to help people in a makeshift hospital, Ky flying around a lot with What’s-Her-Name, and Cassia murmuring poetry under her breath. Oh, and there was the Pilot. And Ky got sick toward the end. I still don’t know who won, who was actually fighting who, and why anyone cared!

Last, and closely related to the confusion issue, was a lack of resolution. The series is over, and the characters have made their relationship choices. That’s fine and dandy for them, but absolutely nothing else was resolved. I want to know who won! I want to know what happened to the Society and the Rising and the big election! But at the same I didn’t really care because this book was such a trek to get through.

I really hate writing a negative review. Matched was so good, and I am disappointed that the trilogy ended with Crossed. Condie hooked me with the original dystopian concept and the fun characters. I wish she could have sustained my excitement and interest through the finale.

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What I’ll Be Reading, 2013 Edition

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I love writing this post every year. I discovered Goodreads a few months ago, so this list will be considerably longer than previous years. I still love post-apocalyptic and dystopian YA, but I rediscovered my love of nonfiction this fall. I’ll start with fiction and move to nonfiction. Grab a cup of tea or coffee. This is a long list.

Shades of Earth, final book in the Across the Universe trilogy by Beth Revis

I confess that this trilogy started out less than stellar for me, but the second book changed my opinion. I cannot wait to see where this story ends.

 

 

 

Fragments, sequel to Partials by Dan Wells

From the first paragraph of Partials, I was hooked. I must know what happens to Kira. Must. Know. Immediately.

 

 

 

 

Reached, final book in the Matched trilogy by Allie Condie

It’s sitting on my bookshelf. I just need to pick it up. I’m procrastinating because it is a longer book than the first two, and just looking at it makes me tired in anticipation of late nights trying to finish one more chapter.

 

 

 

Through the Ever Night, sequel to Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
I am very curious to see what happens in this book. So many possibilities for Aria and Perry. So many plot threads that could be followed. I can’t wait. Here’s hoping I win the ARC giveaway on Goodreads!

 

 

 

Crewel  by Gennifer Albin

Read this description and try tell me you don’t want to read it too:

“Sixteen-year-old Adelice Lewys has always been special. When her parents discover her gift—the ability to weave the very fabric of reality—they train her to hide it. For good reason, they don’t want her to become a Spinster — one of the elite, beautiful, and deadly women who determine what people eat, where they live, how many children they have, and even when they die.”

 

 

Scarlet, sequel to Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Little Red Riding Hood, retold as sci-fi and somehow Cinderella is involved. The first book was so good that I have complete confidence in the sequel. I can’t wait!

 

 

 

 

Infected by Scott Sigler

I got this for Christmas. I’m very curious because this is the first book from a writer has previously done podcast-only audiobooks. It’s about a deadly bio-engineered parasite that makes people go insane with rage.

 

 

 

 

Starters by Lissa Price

Another Christmas gift! A teenager allows her body to be taken over by a senior adult who wants new lease on life. Then she wakes up in that person’s life with fancy clothes, lots of money, and a conspiracy that she had no idea about when she let that senior adult borrow her body.

Sounds  little ridiculous, but it should be good fun.

 

 

The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley
I started reading this a few years ago, but I didn’t finish because the library wouldn’t let me renew it. I love Flavia de Luce and want to get to know her better. Hopefully my new local library will let me keep it longer.

 

 

 

The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood
This is Goodread’s fault. I’ve never read this classic book but suddenly wanted to after seeing it on a thousand lists. I’m also trying to stretch my reading horizons.

 

 

 

The American Plague: the Untold Story of Yellow Fever, the Epidemic That Shaped Our History by Molly Crosby
I said I rediscovered my love of nonfiction. I also realized how much I don’t know about American history and felt this would be a good place to start.

 

 

 

 

The Disappearing Spoon by Sam Kean
I love trivia, and this seems like it will be a veritable smorgasbord. Using the periodic table, Kean tells the bizarre stories connected to the elements, such as why gallium is the favorite element for geek pranksters.

 

 

 

Monsters from the Id by Michael E. Jones
I follow Douglas Wilson on Goodreads, so there’s going to be some oddities on my list this year. This is about horror in fiction and film. I’m not a horror reader, but I think this will be an interesting read.

 

 

 

100 Cupboards by N.D. Wilson

I know this is a middle-grade book. I happen to be a huge Nate Wilson fan without having read any of his fiction. Why? Because in this article and this interview he said everything I’ve been thinking about writing for years. I really hope he does writing conferences because I want to meet him. I’m in the middle of Notes from the Tilt-a-Whirl, his nonfiction work for adults, and it is both irritating and amazing, sometimes in the same paragraph. He’s also writing a screenplay for C.S. Lewis’ The Great Divorce. I’ll probably wait to read 100 Cupboards until after I’ve finished Tilt-a-Whirl, but I’m very curious to see what he can do with fiction.

 

Lord of the Flies by William Golding

One of those classics that I’ve never read. I’m going to remedy that this year.

 

 

 

 

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
My creative writing professor used this book many times, and I finally own it! I intend to read the entire book slowly and systematically with pencil and highlighter close by.

 

 

 

 

As you can see, I have a lot on the docket. I should be an interesting and fun year!