Title: Crossed [Amazon|GoodReads]
Author: Ally Condie [Website|Twitter|Facebook]
Series: Book 2 in the Matched trilogy, following Matched.
Genre: Young Adult, Dystopian, Romance
Published: November 1st, 2011 by Dutton Juvenile
Format: Hardcover; 367 pages.
Source: Borrowed from my local library.
Spoilers!: This review contains some spoilers for Matched. So go read that first.
Cassia's time at the work camps is almost up, and she'll soon be sent to Central, the biggest city in the Society, for her final work assignment. She came here with the hopes of getting closer to Ky, of finding him. So far, she's managed to keep the stock of blue pills from Xander and Ky's compass secret and safe, but if she's going to go she needs to go now. When the morning to be moved arrives, Officers come to collect selected Aberrations and take them away. Cassia decides to sneak into the group as this might be her only chance to get to the Outer Provinces.
Ky has been sent to die. The Society seems to be killing off its Aberrations as they are sent to live in abandoned border villages of the Outer Provinces. Nearly every night there's fire, and the boys in the villages have been given nothing but blank ammunition with which to defend themselves. They're told if they complete a mission of six months they'll be welcomed back to Society as full Citizens. The boys figure out pretty quickly that nobody has ever lived that long, and Ky's already been there longer than most. If he's going to live to see Cassia again, he has to get out now. Luckily, they have just been stationed in a land that is familiar to him. When he was a child he called this place home, and with the Carving in sight Ky knows there is a chance to reach land the Society won't easily enter, and even possibly find help among the Farmers who live there.
Like it's predecessor, Matched, Crossed is written with the voice of a poet. Ally Condie's writing is lyrical, enchanting, and it reads with the feeling of a very long and beautiful love letter. Part of the reason I loved Matched so much was its quiet sense of danger and urgency always lurking just below the surface. Everything about Matched was so careful. The entire book was spent dancing on egg shells, and so much was said in small actions, stolen moments, erasable words. Crossed maintains the underlying feeling of the story, but kindles it with something new. Unlike the first installment of the series, which was narrated in first person by Cassia alone, Crossed is narrated in first person perspectives alternating between Cassia and Ky. It is so heartwarming/heartwrenching to see things from Ky's perspective. We are able to see his love of Cassia through his own eyes, learn more of his story, and reread portions we already knew from his perspective. I did occasionally have an issue where I would get a page or so into the chapter and realize I wasn't sure whose chapter I was on, their voices were so similar. However this wasn't an overarching problem (and probably a personal one created by my attempting to pay attention to football while reading).
While Crossed shares a voice with Matched, the tone and setting couldn't be more different. Taking place largely in the wilderness of the Carving (inspired by Utah, where Ally Condie lives), Crossed becomes less about emotional survival and more about physical survival. Cassia is a Society girl, with all the naivety that comes with that, and Ky is facing some demons being so near his past. Cassia has found a new hope, and unfortunately, it's the one thing Ky isn't sure he's willing to give her. Besides which, there's the question of Xander--he's still her Match, her best friend, and someone she loves dearly. Not only that, there's a secret Xander has yet to tell Cassia, and Ky is pretty sure he knows what it is...and that if she learns it, she might choose him instead.
Check out the official Crossed playlist created by Ally Condie!
Likelihood that I'll be back for more: 100%. Crossed was a notable read of 2011, and the third installment (as of yet unnamed), is one of my top 10 most anticipated reads of 2012.
Recommended for: People who like poetry, romance, dystopian societies, and roughing it in the wild.
Real life repercussions of reading this book: You will probably have images of 127 Hours running through your head through half the scenes. Don't worry, nobody will have to drink their own urine.