Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Double Whammy Review: Matched and Linger

Raise your hand if you're over the whole "snow day" thing yet. *Raises Hand*

These snow days are killing me. It's not the weather or the lack of mobility, it's the closing of schools that is making me tear my hair out in frustration. I LOVE my children, don't get me wrong, but we're all tired of the inside of our living room right now.

If I have to watch Dora fumble her way through another "adventure", I'm going to need serious therapy. Serious therapy.

My semester begins tomorrow, and with 5-6 snow days stolen from my calendar I am not as prepared as I would like to be. I changed books for my American Government class because I was just tired of the old one. That means tons of work. Ugg.

Before I depress us all, let's turn to a few reviews.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Tiny synopsis: Sam and Grace continue to fight the circumstances that threaten to tear them apart. Sam is no longer a wolf, but their love remains star-crossed. Grace is sick and nobody can figure out why. Sam has trouble adjusting to life as a human. Beck's new wolf recruits are turning out to be more than a handful.

I think the most alluring thing to me about the first book, Shiver, was Stiefvater's crisp prose. Her writing was so sharp, it felt like there was not a single extra word. I still think she's got it, but this one felt slightly less polished. I wonder how much of it has to do with expectations. You know how it is, your expectations about a book can ruin everything.
I wonder if I just put her up on such a pedestal, even she can't reach it anymore. I wouldn't be surprised if I have.
I thought Linger was charming, a good story, full of surprises, and well-written. The plotlines had a lot of twists and turns that I didn't anticipate. It ranks just below Shiver, though, for me.

Matched by Ally Condie
This is a stellar example of how expectations can alter your perceptions. I didn't know what this book was about until I started reading it. When I heard the title I assumed... tennis? When I saw the cover, I thought it was SF/F. When I dug in I was happily surprised to find it was a dystopian book.

Tiny synopsis: Cassia is thrilled to follow the rules. In her society, one is matched by the government to their perfect partner. It's just one step along the continuum of a precisely organized life. From birth to death the government manages your existence. When Cassia sees not only her match, but also a second person's face on her Matched disk, she begins to question everything.

Loved it. It reminded me in many ways of Hunger Games and the Uglies series (duh) because of the whole dystopian future thing. Having said that, I thought the writing was better in Matched than in either of the other books. Just my humble opinion.
I also thought the world was more nuanced. In Uglies, it's a lifetime of partying that awaits you once you've turned pretty. In Hunger Games, a lifetime of despair is the most you can hope for. In Matched, the world is highly orchestrated, to allow each individual just enough happiness to keep them from rebelling, but not enough to make any life unique. It was compelling, and like all dystopian tales, there are plenty of lessons about who has power and control in a society. Not to mention, Cassia's job is all about sorting. It sounded like a giant game of tetris. Though I am sure I'd get bored if that was my job, it would probably still be pretty awesome.
I am sure this will roll into a series. I will definitely read more.


  1. I loved, loved, loved Linger. I personally thought it was better than Shiver, which I also liked. The cuz got Matched for Christmas and I plan to steal it from her as soon as she gets to read it. As for the snow day commentary, I know how you feel. I was the same way when we were trapped. Good luck in getting out of that living room soon...while Dora is still safe.

  2. Uuuuugh Dora. I would rather watch the same Scooby Doo episodes over and over again that be subjected to Dora. (And we do. Ha.)

    Excellent reviews!

  3. I haven't read LINGER yet, nor MATCHED. I figured LINGER would be pretty good, but MATCHED I wasn't too sure about -- I haven't heard many good things, so it's nice to find someone who enjoyed it!

    Thanks for the reviews!

  4. I haven't read either of those books, but they're both on my list. I should get to that, huh?

    Sorry about more snow days. I'm ready for spring.

  5. thanks Quita-- Dora is still alive. For now. I did like Linger, too-- maybe I'm being too judgmental. Emphasis on mental.

    Thanks Holly-- are these old school Scooby Doo? I'll have to put those in the lineup.

    Susan, I would recommend both.

    Get with it Alicia! No, my list is long, too. But that's a good kind of problem to have, right?

  6. It is a good problem to have until it seems to take over a room. (Slight exaggeration. I repeat, slight.)

  7. I've been interested in reading both, so thanks for sharing! I think I'll check out Matched for sure now.


  8. Well I was sick of winter by January 1st!

    I've read both of these books, and loved them both.

    I thought Linger was just as good as Shiver (but not better than).

    About the writing - I think it's BETTER in Hunger Games than in Matched. I'd put Hunger Games in my top ten YA of all time. Both books are great, but I found Matched just a little too derivative.

    Glad we all have different opinions. Makes life more interesting!

  9. Matched is definitely a series -- there's an ad for book two in the back of my copy!

    I enjoyed Matched, but I think I liked THG better. For my money, Matched felt a little more distant--I didn't feel Cassia's friendships or the intensity of her emotions in the same way I did as Katniss. It definitely lingered with me, though, I was thinking about it days later.

  10. When I heard the title I assumed... tennis?<--I so LOL'd at this! Great reviews, though. im about to read matched some time after, and every time i read a review i want to read it quicklier. (is that a word...?)


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