YA Friday: Crossed by Ally Condie

Friday, October 28, 2011

Title: Crossed
Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched #2
Genre: YA, dystopian
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile, 2011
Source: Won at the Utah Book Bloggers Social
Read for: Review

Crossed picks up where Matched left off, with Cassia working far from home before she gets her final occupational assignment and Ky far away in the Outer Provinces. Cassia is determined to find Ky at any cost, and Ky is determined to escape the brutal existence as a decoy for the Enemy attacking the Society. Their goals take them further than they would have ever imagined, but will Ky and Cassia's different ambitions drive them apart? And how will both of their relationships with Xander affect their relationship with each other?

Any second book in a highly anticipated trilogy has a bit of a gauntlet to run. Obviously the first book was good, or nobody would care about the sequel. And the third book is going to tie up the loose ends, reveal all the missing information, place the heroine with one of the two boys she is trying to decide between (in dystopian fiction, right?). But the second book walks a thin line. It can't reveal too much, because readers need to be desperate and hungry for book three. However, it also runs the risk of being reduced to filler, merely bridging the intriguing beginning and the exciting end. In some ways, Crossed is a victim of second book syndrome, but the book was a decent read and maintained my interest in the trilogy.

Crossed is a very different book from Matched. In Matched, we are being exposed to the inner workings of the Society. We are watching Cassia fall for both men in her life. We are tasting the first hints of rebellion from the rigid government. In Crossed, we're skirting the edges of the Society and dealing with relationship conflicts. Those subjects are not quite as fun to read about. I really loved the world-building in Matched -- the sterile, form-fitted government that anticipated all needs and eliminated inequalities (unless, of course, you were an Aberration or an Anomaly). The world in Crossed is just as stark as that of Matched (you can really tell that Ally Condie is from Utah), but it is less developed and was for me less compelling. I felt as if I knew the Society well, despite their dishonesty and disguised intentions. However, the farmers, the Outer Provinces, and the Rising seemed vague to me. I realize that some of this may be revealed in the final installment, but it felt undeveloped enough to distract me a bit.

Other than the fact that I felt as if I was lacking information (and again, second book syndrome, but it doesn't make me feel any better!), I really enjoyed Crossed. I loved being inside of Ky's head and understanding more of his motives and his past. I enjoyed seeing Cassia displaced from the world she was used to and the fact that she was able to rise to the occasion and survive. I enjoyed getting to know the new characters -- Indie with her toughness, Eli with his innocence, Vick with his secrets. I love Ally Condie's gentle writing and the way beautiful art and poetry is prized as a precious thing -- and the way it is transformed into something more than scraps of paper and simple prints for Cassia as she leaves the Society.

In the end, I wasn't satisfied by Crossed, because I was left with more questions than answers. However, that doesn't mean that I didn't enjoy the book, and I am looking forward to the final installment.

3.5 stars

Warnings: Some war violence.


  1. I just finished this a couple of weeks ago myself but haven't reviewed it yet. At first I wasn't enamored of it--I don't like shifting points of view, for one thing. But by the time I finished it, I thought it was one of the strongest "middle" books I've read. Far more like The Empire Strikes Back (my favorite of the original Star Wars movies) and much less like Catching Fire, the middle of the Hunger Games trilogy.

  2. You're right, 2nd books can be tricky. And I was looking forward to learning more about the Outer areas, so it stinks that they aren't very well-developed. But I am looking forward to seeing more of Ky, I liked him in Matched.

    Hopefully the 3rd will be better!

  3. @As the Crowe Flies and Reads -- I agree with you that it is stronger than Catching Fire. I like this trilogy a lot but for some reason I don't quite LOVE it.

    @Sarah - I like him too. I hate waiting for books to come out!


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