Guest Post by Ally Condie (Plus Giveaway*)

a few of my favorite things

Brenna, thank you for letting me post on your blog! Huge congratulations on the well-deserved success of The Replacement!

And hello to Brenna’s readers! I thought I would take this chance to introduce myself (and my book, Matched) to all of you. I’m a mother of three boys, a former high school English teacher, a runner, a reader, and a lover of art and music (though I can neither draw nor play very well myself).

One of my favorite parts of The Replacement was the way Mackie loved and hungered to stay in this world, even though it was so hard for him to be here. The way he described Gentry (even though he saw its flaws) reminded me in an aching, beautiful way of the first time I read that scene in Our Town where Emily remembers all that she loved about being alive. Though the stories are very different, that longing for a world that is either lost or in danger of being lost is a longing that I hoped to capture half as well in Matched as Brenna and Thornton Wilder have done in their work.

Like Mackie and Emily, I love the world I live in. And some of the things I love most don’t exist in the world of Matched. As things stand at the beginning of the book, my main character, Cassia, will never have the chance to go running outside, down the street, as fast as she can. I love running outside, especially in the rain. I also love making cookies with my kids, going to a bookstore to find a new book, and listening to my husband play the guitar.

But, unless things change, Cassia won’t have the chance to discover any of those things. For her, this world has already been lost. And she has to decide what parts of her current world might be worth sacrificing to have freedom and choice.

I just looked out the window and it’s raining today. I think I’d better go for a run while I still can…and I hope the rain doesn’t mean something is rotten in my little town. ;)

Thanks again for the chance to post, Brenna!

*Brenna here: Thanks so much for stopping by, Ally—I’m still blushing from all the nice things you said about The Replacement!

As before, I have two signed, finished books to give away! All you have to do is comment (make sure to include an email address or some other way contact you online if you don’t have an lj account) and you’ll be entered to win a copy of Matched. Sadly, folks, it is US only. You’ll have another chance to win on Friday, when I post my interview with Ally, so stop by and see what she has to say about Matched, writing, and my favorite topic, Ky!

68 thoughts on “Guest Post by Ally Condie (Plus Giveaway*)

  1. First of all Ally, I LOVE your cover…and all I can say is that I’ve been counting down the months/days for your book to come out. The story itself sounds wonderful…
    Brenna,
    Thanks for having Ally for a guest. I can’t wait to read the interview on Friday!
    rebekahg22 (at) yahoo.com

  2. I’m really looking forward to the interview when it’s posted on Friday.
    I read an ARC of Matched last week, and I was really, really impressed with it, including the slow build of the main romantic relationship and the crisp but descriptive prose. I would love to win a signed copy!
    Angela

  3. What a great guest post! That’s a great point Ally makes about that sense of longing and desire to live; I love stories where that’s one of the driving tensions.
    Taure
    (amadeax @ yahoo . com)

  4. Great guest post! I am so anxiously awaiting Matched…I’m loving your guest blogs and Q&A’s, though…they’re really building up the suspense!
    caldellizzi(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Matched sounds like such a great book! I’m crossing my fingers to win a copy, but either way I’m looking forward to reading it.
    zandila at gmail dot com

  6. I can’t wait for Matched to come out! I’ve been hearing about it for so long!! I’m looking forward to the interview on Friday.

  7. Yay!
    Awesome post! I’ve been counting down the days for Matched to come out! I can’t wait and I’d LOVE to win a copy! akconverse(at)yahoo(dot)com
    Kalina Converse

  8. Matched
    I’m definitely adding Matched to my want to read list. Just from what you’ve shared, it reminds me of Jonas in The Giver. What would we belling to give up to have a “perfect” world?

  9. I was lucky to stumble across an ARC of Matched when I worked
    at our library this summer. It’d be awesome to win a signed
    copy and re-read it. Thanks!
    Emily
    (emilygcannon@hotmail.com)

  10. Pick Me!
    Great post! One thing I loved about Mackie is how he spoke up about what he believed in. It was very brave. Plus his friends are pretty ninja!
    I hope Cassia gets to experience a world that doesn’t limit her so much. I’m still reeling over the only 100 of everything.
    Please enter me!
    missie at theunreadreader.com

  11. I would love to win a copy of Matched! It is also wonderful to meet you, Brenna!I have heard fabulous things about The Replacement.

  12. It’s interesting, to hear an author tell you what they want their book to say. Before reading any of these Breathless Reads books, hearing their authors speak here about their books, and seeing the interviews with them is nice. (Though I’ll admit I haven’t yet read one of the past three. It’s in my TBR pile.)

  13. I am soooo excited for this book. I have actually already pre-ordered a copy, but I would love an autographed copy, then I can gift the one I ordered.
    Thank you Ally for sharing about your life.

  14. I just finished an ARC of Matched last night and loved it. It amazes me how many of the simple pleasures in life I take for granted– like being able to choose what I eat for dinner or what I can read/listen to. I would love to win a copy!
    Laurie
    laurielarsen2000@yahoo.com

  15. Whoops, left my comment over at goodreads, so here goes again.
    I would love a copy of Matched!
    Kristie over at textnjava
    javaintheam at hotmail dot com

  16. Why I need a copy of “Matched”
    As a high school librarian, I have been eagerly awaiting “Matched” since the salesclerk at B&N told me about the ARC she had read and said the book was awesome. Unfortunately my library’s copy will not arrive from Junior Library Guild until March 2011. So unfair!

  17. Matched
    I keep seeing reviews for Matched and each time I want to read it more and more! I’d love to be entered for a chance to win this book.
    Lane
    moiraethefates(AT)gmail(DOT)com

  18. I may not be a fan that knows all your books, but I have read an excerpt of Matched, and truly, I love the ideas your story is based on. I love to read (I get in trouble with my parents for reading so much and are teased because I’ve read so many books! :D), and I really think this book could become one of my favorites. I can’t wait to read this book! sofiejade@gmail.com

  19. Please enter me in this pretty awesome giveaway ! Thank you a ton :)
    And I agree with you about the world we live in…Or let’s say the country we live in. We are able to do things everyday that we consider routine when people from other countries cannot do that.

  20. I cannot wait!!
    I cannot wait for this book to come out. I wish I could freeze myself until then. I would love to win but plan on buying anyways! This just looks amazing.
    deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com

  21. Yay! I’m so excited for the release of Matched. So beautiful! Thanks for the chance to win a copy!
    mimosastimulus[at]gmail[dot]com

  22. Ally, I love the cover, I’m actually reading a copy of your book right now (ARC) and it’s pretty much really awesome. <3
    It would be nice to have a hardback version with the actual cover in it (not just words from various reviews) and if it was signed that would be pretty amazing too. :D
    Name; Grace
    email; peachandblue2@aol.com

  23. totally forgot name in this one too lol
    Vivien
    attached to this email deadtossedwaves at gmail dot com
    I failed in leaving my name both times…sigh

  24. Sometimes we take our little freedoms for granted, don’t we? Great post! I’d love to win this book. :)
    rjljohnson.janet (at) gmail (dot) com

  25. “Destinations/arrivals are so easy to identify, but they aren’t always what matters most—you know?”
    So very true. The future is unknowable, and it’s so very important to enjoy the journey – I know I am :O)

  26. YAAAAAY!!
    (I’m stealing all of Tess’s excitement, because I was way too shell-shocked when The Replacement came out to get the full experience!)

  27. Suddenly, I am convinced that you are my soulmate. My awkward, non-touching, never-need-to-meet-in-person soulmate. This parallels my first boyfriend experience (and – er – several subsequent boyfriend experiences) EXACTLY. And I thought I was the only one who hates it when cute, charismatic, likeable boys suddenly start wanting to call me their girlfriend…*Shudder*

  28. Reading your high school posts make me feel many things at once, the primary three of which are: 1) That me now is very like teen-you (I’m 14), 2) That this, in some ways is not the way I want to be, because the things I identify with are things that aren’t good, and that 3) I simultaneously also kind of want to be teen-you in some ways, like the chronic journalling, for example.
    Anyway. The thing about this post is that I too have that terrible fear of getting yelled at. And when I read this I find myself wanting to learn from it, to realize that what you’re saying about it is true, but I can’t. I can’t read someone else’s account of a situation where they (almost) got yelled at and it was okay and seriously apply it to my life. I rationally know it. But acting upon it is a different story, as is the way with irrational fears.
    So that’s what I like and simultaneously dislike about these posts. They point out the folly of some of my behaviors while simultaneously failing to have the power to change that behavior, not because they themselves are faulty but because it’s just really, really hard to learn from other people’s mistakes.

  29. Hmmmm, that’s a good idea. I can imagine the frames, though I’m not sure I can capture my look of awkward, stunned, incredulity that this, whatever this is, life? is currently happening to ME. In addition, what on earth are you supposed to DO, to SAY when these things happen? I think all my lines in this comic would be “um…what?”

  30. My first kiss do over
    “Brenna at 16 does not like to flirt, cuddle, confess things, share, talk on the phone, volunteer information, display affection, or hold hands in public. She doesn’t like lovelorn sighs, soulful gazes, apologizing, being apologized to, or the question, “What are you thinking right now?” She can be quiet literally for hours. Even on car trips. Even for no good reason.”
    This is Me at 32. I wasn’t like that at 16. I was the girl who was in love with being in love, and in love with all the boys. One more than all the others. I wanted the cocky, tall, blond guys. I wanted the rebel that secretly smoked in his van and played in the marching band. (I ended up marrying a short dark haired self-conscious man. Go figure.)
    There was this guy I met before my sophomore year of high school and for three years I was his friend but I always wanted that to be a relationship and there were times we’d be together and I knew he wanted me but then there were the times he’d say stupid things like I was “too good” for him. Whatever the hell that meant. I didn’t want to be that.
    We were always together. He’d walk home from school with me before the van. We attended the same church. We spent our summers together. (I guess I should also mention that I wedged my way into his step-sister’s circle of friends because I was just that desperate to be with him… I really do consider her my friend though, it may have started out as using her, but in the end we really were friends.)
    Our Junior year I spent New Years with him and his sister and he drove me home at 2am. Of course my parent had locked the front door so I was going to have to climb through the back window (either that or go back home with him. I opted for the window.) So after finding out the door was locked I had to run back to his car and tell him to go home because I’d get in the back way. (because he was one of those boys that wouldn’t drive away until I had closed the door behind me. Totally sweet.) …
    Anyway he leaned over and said “Well I haven’t gotten my New Years kiss.” and of course I was shocked and taken aback because I wasn’t expecting this because he was currently in a *I’m pretending you really don’t exists* phase with me so I hesitated but because I wanted it so bad for so long I leaned in and gave him a closed lips kiss that made *that* kissing noise. Then I hopped out of the car a little mortified and ran around the house and climbed in the window.
    I don’t know about him, but I replayed that sound in my head for days after-wards, (and sometimes even now) thinking how horribly awkward and stupid that was. How could my first kiss with *him* be so…. Ugh! It was awful. But I still wanted him. Eventually he got over himself enough to be friends again.
    About six months later I was spending the night with his sister. It was just me and her and no one else was home so I chose to sleep in the other sister’s room instead of on the floor. Somewhere in the middle of the night *he* came home with a friend and I woke up to their annoying banging in the basement so I was wide awake when he knocked on the door and asked if I was sleeping. Of course I said “no” and he crawled onto bed with me and after a while of lying there together in silence he kissed me. And I mean he *REALLY* kissed me. Open mouthed hands in hair, tangled limbs kind of kiss. I remember cursing the blanket that was between us, and the long sleeved shirt I was wearing. I so wanted to be that much closer to him. When we finally broke for breath we laid together in the quiet room breathing rapidly, all the while we could hear his silly friend wandering through the house calling his name.
    Sad thing: I think it was after that night that we never really talked again. Not because the kiss was bad. Heavens no, it was electric… but because he went back to being a jerk. It’s been 16 years since then, and secretly I’m still in love with that boy in the dark bedroom.

  31. Having read this I thought it was rather informative.
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