First rule of the P&P Book Club: NO SPOILERS!
My posts won't contain any spoilers and I would appreciate it if your comments were spoiler-free, too. The best part of a book is discovering it for yourself; I don't want to ruin that joy for anybody!
I picked Matched by Ally Condie for Paperbacks and Pastries' first book and baking challenge for a few reasons. I knew it would be a fairly easy read to ease us into things; it's a phenomenal book with lots of themes running through it, which would lend themselves well to an exciting baking challenge; and frankly, I just love dystopian fiction.
Since Matched was such a quick read for me, I also picked up Crossed and Reached, the last two parts of the trilogy. For me, Matched was the most interesting of the three, and after reading Crossed, I wasn't sure I was still hooked enough to want to read the third book. But, how can anyone start a series and not finish it?!? Seriously. Even if it's really bad, once I've read the first book I'm compelled to see it through to the end. Condie's series, thankfully, was not bad, so while it fizzled out a bit in book two, I was still happy enough to read Crossed, which I found I liked. The characters in the series are complex enough to fit with the dystopian nature of the story, but still appropriate for a YA audience. Without spoilers it's difficult to really talk about the best parts of the series (and yes, there were quite a few!), so I'll just say this: even if you aren't that into YA or you thought the first book wasn't really your cup of tea, you absolutely have to read this trilogy to the very end. The final book will give your real-life book clubs (where spoilers don't matter except maybe to that one person who only pretends they finished the book) a lot to talk about.
While I was reading this book, I found that the theme of control really spoke to me - the Society controlled everything from who its citizens married to what the could produce (especially poignant in terms of art and writing) to what they could eat. The descriptions of food in the book brought to mind words like bland, boring and barren (except of course at the banquets). This got me thinking about the flavours I would miss most if I was forced to start eating nutrients instead of food. It wasn't hard to come up with something - chocolate and peanut butter in a sweet and salty combination. I'd eat something sweet-salty-chocolate-peanut-buttery every day if I could. So my treat while I was reading this trilogy was a Chocolate Peanut Butter Mousse Cake with Salted Peanut Pralines (see my inspiration and a yummy recipe here).
Paperbacks and Pastries' Matched Baking Challenge: I hope you all read the entire series. If you did, this challenge will be especially fun for you. If you didn't, no worries, you can still participate using just the first book as your frame of reference. My challenge to you is to create a trio of desserts that represent one of the characters' journeys through either the series or just the first book if you haven't read beyond that yet.
You have until August 30th to bake your trio and send me a picture (with a link to your blog if you posted about it there). On August 31st I'll post all of the responses to this challenge on my blog - like our own little Gallery - so come back to see what everybody else created.
Send your Baking Challenge entries to paperbackspastries [at] outlook [dot] com or tweet them to @paperbackpastry