Genre: Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 512
In the final installment of the series, Cassia is back with the Society working as a sorter when the Rising takes control and produces a cure for a mysterious plague that the Society was trying to keep quiet within city limits. Xander is working in the clinic as a physhic and was well aware of the plague and is thrilled when the Rising takes over simply because he was always on their side and now they can cure these people. Ky, meanwhile, is working as a pilot for the Rising and his job is to deliver the cure to different locations. They all end up coming together, but the virus mutates and threatens to wipe out the entire civilization. Will Cassia choose Xander or Ky? Will they all even survive the plague? How will the Rising govern better than the Society did?
This ending was satisfying, but slow and a bit underwhelming. The first book in this series was so interesting and raised so many questions about society in general and what is considered “normal.” It seems like the second two books in the series lost their way a bit and struggled to recapture that spark the first one had. It’s not bad, but just not as good as Matched. Die hard fans will enjoy seeing what happens, but many readers will find this book tedious and cumbersome. There are still some unanswered questions as well and the ending, although satisfying, is definitely realistic which hopefully readers will appreciate.
Genre: Futuristic Realistic Fiction
# of Pages: 487
RAC Book: Yes
Beatrice lives in Chicago in the future where the entire population lives in one of five factions. Each faction focuses on a different virtue: truth, bravery, selflessness, peacefulness, and intelligence. She was born and raised in the Abnegation faction, which focuses on selflessness. At the age of 16 each person is tested to see which faction they are best suited for, but each person is given the free choice to choose where he or she would like to spend adulthood. If Beatrice should choose to leave her faction, however, she will rarely if ever see her family again. When she is tested she finds that she does not fit easily into any faction and therefore has mixed results. She can truly choose any faction she wants. The choice she makes surprises everyone and she worries she has made a mistake. Can she survive initiation in order to feel she is a true member of her faction? Can she trust the society she lives in to create a city she feels is righteous and fair?
There are many futuristic society stories out right now, but this one is a bit different and will appeal to readers who like this style of writing. Beatrice makes some difficult decisions that will affect her future, a topic many young adults can relate to. Meanwhile, there are some unexpected realizations about growing up and seeing the flaws in adults, especially those with power. As Beatrice struggles through initiation she makes new friends and enemies as she lives in a competitive environment. In the end, the story is about society and how people treat each other, which is something young adults must ponder as they reach adulthood. The story has excitement and action and will leave readers wanting more.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 367
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to Matched Cassia is trying to find Ky by getting herself sent to the outer provinces as an abberation. Of course, she is an actual citizen, but is willing to jeopardize her citizenship status for true love. Ky has been fighting the attack on the Society for some time and has seen many people die around him. One day he decides to run for his freedom and takes two friends with him. Cassia arrives at the outer provinces to discover that Ky is gone or possibly dead, but she never loses hope. Instead, she tries to follow where she believes he might have gone in the hopes of finding him and the rebel organization fighting the Society. The journey is very difficult and some of the lies she was told by the Society threaten her life out in the wild. Can Ky and Cassie find each other against all odds? If they do find each other will they be able to rekindle the spark they once had or will their future goals pull them apart?
This installment of the story moves very slow and leaves many questions unanswered, which could frustrate the readers. Cassia does learn a few things about Ky’s past and the truth surrounding the attack on the Society that they do not want citizens to know about. However, there are still many things left unmentioned and favorite characters either don’t appear at all or only for short instances. The ending was intriguing, but ambiguous and after the long journey it took to get there readers should expect more. Hopefully readers will be intrigued enough by Cassia’s overall journey to keep reading after this, but the lack of answers in this book might make them question how forthcoming the third book will be with answers.
Genre: Realistic Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 369 pages
RAC Book: Yes
Cassia lives in a perfect society where everyone has the same clothes, houses, food, and education. Everyone is watched by the officials to make sure they are behaving correctly and following all the rules. When Cassia goes to her match ceremony to find out who the officials have chosen to be her perfect match she is shocked when it turns out to be her best friend. She is even more surprised later when another boy’s face appears on her match’s ID card. Can the society make mistakes? Do they have a choice in ANY aspect of their lives?
This book resembles societies in books like The Giver, but delves a little deeper into a world where literally everything is chosen for you and nothing is really yours. Everyone must follow orders about every aspect of their lives down to how they spend their free time. Disease, pollution, and drug dependency are all a thing of the past, but is it okay to live people’s lives for them? Condie creates a great series here with characters that readers will want to know more about. It also encourages readers to think about the choices they make everyday and the way they choose to live their lives. This book is bound to find a following and could be great for classroom reads as well.
Genre: Historical Fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 405
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to Rumors Elizabeth and Diana Holland are still reeling from the shocking murder of Elizabeth’s husband, Will, as well as the surprising wedding of Diana’s beloved Henry to Penelope. Elizabeth refuses to be seen in public despite the urging of her mother who wants her to get back into society. Diana is refusing to receive any correspondence from Henry as he tries to explain his behavior. Eventually, Diana relents and believes his reasons for marrying Penelope, but quickly realizes that it is unlikely they will ever be together. As hard as Henry pulls away from the marriage, Penelope finds ways to force him back in and eventually they must face off in order to see if the marriage will last. Meanwhile, Lina must find a way to hold onto her newly acquired status and is surprised at what lengths she will go to in order to live in the same circles as the Holland sisters. Finally, as Elizabeth deals with her unending sadness over losing Will she starts to wonder if there might not be another reason for her poor health.
This third installment of the Luxe series picks up where Rumors left off and reveals everyone’s motivations as they struggle to keep what they want in this elite Manhattan society. The ending again packs a punch as two main characters make surprising choices. Readers will look forward to the fourth installment when it will be revealed if any of these characters will actually get to be happy in this difficult society.
Genre: Historical fiction/Romance
# of Pages: 423 p.
RAC Book: Yes
In this sequel to the Luxe, the wealthy elite of New York in 1899 continue to socialize and gossip through life. In the last book Elizabeth faked her own death in order to head west with her true love, Will, who is considered beneath her station. Meanwhile Diana, her younger sister, has fallen for Elizabeth’s former fiancee, Henry. He is reluctant to start a relationship because he does not know Elizabeth is really alive and believes that one day Diana will come to resent him for marrying his fiancee’s sister. Penelope is still trying to decide how to get Henry to marry her and will stop at nothing to get what she wants. Lina still plans on chasing Will, but is having a little fun with some newfound money first. She wants everyone to forget she was once a maid and to accept her as one of their own, but simply having money does not get you accepted in this elite world.
For those that enjoyed the first installment of this series, this is a must read. The action in the plot moves along at a quick pace in a way to keep readers interested right up to the end. Nothing is as it seems and twists and turns keep the characters from getting what they really want. Plus, a surprise at the end will leave everyone wondering what is next for the Holland sisters (Elizabeth and Diana). All in all, a fun and interesting story that will leave readers wanting more. Fans of Gossip Girl and other books about the young and wealthy in today’s world will like this similar story set at the turn of the century.
Age Level: 14 and up
# of Pages: 548 p.
RAC Book: Yes
Iowa High School 2008 Award Winner
Gemma, Felicity, and Ann are living in the year 1895 struggling with their families, boarding school, and of course the magical realms they discovered in A Great and Terrible Beauty. Gemma is responsible for the magic she released at that time and must find a way to bind it all together so that not just anyone can abuse the magic. Gemma knows she will need help along the way, but it is unclear who she can trust. Miss McCleethy, their new art teacher, seems very interested in Gemma and her secrets, but Gemma is not sure if she can trust her. Miss Moore, the teacher Gemma got fired in the last book, surfaces again and Gemma wonders if she is the one who is supposed to guide her into the realms. Finally, Pippa, the girls’ former friend and schoolmate is now trapped in the realms and seems to be the same, but Gemma is not so sure she has not been corrupted.
In addition to all of their worrying about the magical realms, there are other issues at hand as well including Gemma’s father’s addiction to opium, a prospective suitor, and Ann’s lack of family during the holidays. Bray does a nice job of balancing life in the late 19th century with the fantasy world they often visit. The problems of both worlds seem equally alarming and disastrous. Bray moves the story into a much more exciting path than the previous book as Gemma, Felicity, and Ann try to control the magic they set free in that book. The characters, both secondary and primary, develop a lot more in this book so that the reader can understand more about their backgrounds and motivations throughout the story. A page turner for fantasy readers, much more compelling than the first book.