I "borrowed" this perfect image from Ally's blog.
Do you know what day this is? Do you? It’s November 30th, the day MATCHED by Ally Condie is finally released to all of us mere mortals. People have been talking about this book. Lots of people. Lots of talking.
The Wall Street Journal said THIS.
Entertainment Weekly said THIS.
Publishers Weekly? Kirkus? Booklist?
Kirkus, Starred Review–”Condie peels back layer after dystopic layer at breakneck speed, Dylan Thomas reverberating throughout. If the Society’s at war, who’s the enemy? Of the three tablets carried by everyone, what does the red one do? …A fierce, unforgettable page-turner in its own right.”
Publisher’s Weekly, Starred Review. –”Condie’s enthralling and twisty dystopian plot is well served by her intriguing characters and fine writing. While the ending is unresolved (the book is first in a trilogy), Cassia’s metamorphosis is gripping and satisfying.”
Booklist. –”The stunning clarity and attention to detail in Condie’s Big Brother–like world is a feat. Some readers might find the Society to be a close cousin of Lois Lowry’sdystopian future in The Giver (1993), with carefully chosen work placements, constant monitoring, andpills for regulating emotional extremes. However, the author just as easily tears this world apart while deftly exploring the individual cost of societal perfection and the sacrifices inherent in freedom of choice.”
The Independent Booksellers of Indie Next?
I know, right? It’s a big, big deal.
Here’s what I want to tell you about the book. It is lovely. Lyrical. Elegant. Exciting. Intriguing. Cerebral. (I work really hard not to be spoilery around here, and it may happen that I don’t tell you anything about the book at all. That is not my intention. Just want to whet your whistle, so to speak.) Characters (especially Cassia, Ky, and Xander) are shaded, in great ways. I found myself not sure what I wanted to happen, because I wanted to sort of protect everyone from The Effects, you know? I’m giving this book my fullest recommendation. Go ahead and pick yourself up a copy or two or three.
How about one for free?
Why, sure. The generous folks at Penguin have offered two copies to people who read this here blog. I’m not kidding. If you want one, leave me a comment. We’ll do the random winner draw on Friday morning.
But Wait! There’s More!
We’ve seen how many people think MATCHED is awesome, and now I’m here to tell you how Ally is awesome. (It’s not the same thing, you know, for an author to write a fabulous book, and to be an excellent person. When it happens, it’s a lucky and wonderful coincidence. Like this one.)
Boys and girls, I’d like you to meet Ally.
Photo Credit: Brook Andreoli. Thanks, Brook!
I know. Isn’t she lovely? Ally agreed to do a little interview with me, which is so great of her, because I happen to know she’s neck-deep in Book 2 revisions. And before you read the interview, there are a couple of things I’d like you to know about Ally. She is funny. She thinks she’s not, but she’s wrong. Very funny. She has a terrific husband and three beautiful sons. She is gracious. She loves food like I love food. She is modest and humble and unassuming. She is, really, one of the loveliest women I know, and I am grateful to be able to call her my friend.
So, on to the interview:
Becca’s Question: If you had three uninterrupted hours (I know, just come with me to the land of make-believe), what would you love to do?
Ally’s Answer: *Okay, that would be awesome. Here’s what I would do: I would go running(in the daylight!) and then I would have a really long shower. Then I would write something for fun. Then I would go to lunch with a great friend. 😉
(Do you think she means me? I’m going to totally assume so. Feel free to assume the same.)
B: How do you quantify a good writing day? Word count? Tears produced? Kids ignored? Ache in the joints? Some other method?
A: *I like to feel like the manuscript moved forward somehow. Whether that’s writing a new scene, or deleting a bad one, or having a new idea–anything that makes me feel that progress is being made!
B: When you were seven years old, what did you want to be when you grew up? How about when you were 12?
A: *When I was seven, I wanted to be an animal protector. I don’t know what that is but it is documented in the journal my parents kept for me. When I was twelve I wanted to be a writer or a teacher.
(I love that her parents still kept a journal for her when she was seven. I should be such a mom. Also, she is a writer and a teacher – wow. What if I did what I thought I’d do when I was twelve? I wanted to be a National Geographic photographer. Yeah, not so much.)
B: Sweet or salty snacks?
B: When you write, do you prefer music or silence?
A: *I prefer silence but I love to listen to music before I write or while I’m editing to set the mood.
B: Be honest – when you saw the mock-up for MATCHED’s cover, did you cry?
A: *No, I didn’t, but my heart started pounding and I kind of couldn’t breathe because I loved it so much.
B: What did you do to celebrate your book deal with Dutton?
A: *First, I cried. Then my husband came home and we cried and then giggled. Then we got takeout from the Bombay House and ate that and cried some more because it was so delicious. Seriously, though, it was so surprising and wonderful and overwhelming and there were a LOT of tears.
(So there are the tears. I knew they’d be there.)
B: What books did you/will you buy as gifts this year?
A: *I think everyone should have the chance to read Where the Mountain Meets the Moon and The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie. I have been giving away a lot of copies of both of those books and will be giving away more for Christmas!
B: Do you have a favorite film adaptation of a book?
A: *Cry, the Beloved Country. Such a great book, and the movie feels very true to it but stands on its own as well.
B: How do you relax?
A: *I love to run and read and hang out with my husband. He always makes me laugh and that really helps.
B: When will we see Books 2 and 3? And what should we call the series?
A: *The books should be released a year apart, so November 2011 for Book 2 and November 2012 for Book 3. Right now we’re calling it the Matched Trilogy, which is great, but feel free to let me know if you think of something sexier.
B: Have you put up your Christmas tree yet?
A: *Yes! It’s tilting to the side a little but it is fully decorated, mostly on the bottom half because the kids are short.
B: Do you love the travel you’ve started doing (for promo reasons)? Or does it stress you out?
A: *I love the being there part. I love being in new cities and meeting new people and talking books. But it is hard for me to leave my kids. They are still very young. Luckily, Penguin is great about working with me and they always make the time away as easy on my family as possible (they help me work around my mom’s schedule so she can always come help out with the kids; schedule things efficiently, etc.).
B: Shall we talk about Launch Parties?
A: I’m so excited because I’ve never had a launch party before and now I get to have two!
Let us party with Ally: At the King’s English Bookshop (Saturday December 4th) and the Provo Library (Tuesday December 7th) Get yourselves to Utah, friends.
And in the mean time, let’s give away books. Leave me a comment, and you’re in the game for a copy of MATCHED. Several will enter, two will win. If you live in my house, you’re out. Contest closes at midnight on Thursday (except seeing how I only stay up till 10, the contest is open until I get up about 5 on Friday). Thanks again to the generous Penguins who are donating copies of MATCHED.
And a thousand thanks to Ally for coming by on this very cold morning in the Frozen Mountaintops (negative 5 this morning – mmmm, yeah). We love you , Ally, and we can’t wait for the whole world to fall in love with Cassia, Ky, and Xander!
(CONTEST IS CLOSED. WINNERS ARE NOTIFIED. TRY AGAIN TO WIN, OR GO BUY YOUR COPY. VISIT ALLY AT HER LAUNCH PARTIES. COME AGAIN. ANY TIME.)