Book Reviews

[review] Crossed – Ally Condie


Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Age Group: Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: Hardcover
Source: ARC received from publisher

In search of a future that may not exist and faced with the decision of who to share it with, Cassia journeys to the Outer Provinces in pursuit of Ky – taken by the Society to his certain death – only to find that he has escaped, leaving a series of clues in his wake.

Cassia’s quest leads her to question much of what she holds dear, even as she finds glimmers of a different life across the border. But as Cassia nears resolve and certainty about her future with Ky, an invitation for rebellion, an unexpected betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander – who may hold the key to the uprising and, still, to Cassia’s heart – change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.

Discovery: Matched enchanted me when I first read an ARC last year, so it’s been a long wait for the next book. The poetry was responsible for keeping my interest and I hoped that there would be another nod to Tennyson and his colleagues in Crossed.

+     Realism. One thing I admired about  Matched was the care Ally Condie took in portraying a realistic dystopian society. Not much has changed for the citizens of Cassia’s Society, and I appreciated Ally’s attention to the small details. While the events of Crossed take place outside the Boroughs, that same care and attention can still be found in the descriptions of the mountain villages where Ky works and the details of Cassia’s search for him. Cassia doesn’t develop superpowers–she simply learns to work with the world around her, and that’s always been my favourite thing about her. She is willing to take risks and make intelligent decisions and it’s easy to sympathize with her because of her thoughtful nature.

+     Themes. This is one instance in which I have to commend the author for her choice of title. Crossed has multiple layers which hint at the true nature of the book and its characters, just as a proper title should. At first glance, it seems to tell the reader that yes, this is not the sedate and leisurely story that Matched was. Sure, there’s romance, but the tension is much more palpable and real. Cassia, Ky and Xander cross lines they never dreamed they would see, and yet it is that connection to each other that makes them strong.

The meaning of leadership and courage is also explored in this novel. Cassia and Ky are both led by poetry, and yet they seem to become leaders of a revolution themselves. Condie gracefully eases this dilemma into the text and the reader is left to slide a careful eye into the conflicts and problems that Cassia, Ky and Xander face. I look forward to the choices that they will have to make in the final book, because they have found the courage to do so.

Lastly, the use of poetry and language and art in this series is, once again, impeccable. As a lifelong admirer of poets and the beauty they can create with the simplest of words, this trilogy has always impressed me. More writers should take a chance on poetry.

+     Romance. Of course, I can’t talk about the Matched trilogy without mentioning the even-more-complicated relationships between Ky, Cassia and Xander. I don’t believe in teams and I genuinely enjoy both boys. Either of them would be a wonderful partner for Cassia. It seems almost a shame to consider that she’ll only end up with one of them. For most of the novel, Ky and Cassia are far away from each other and I enjoyed the fact that this distance meant they both had to reconsider their respective decisions and futures. I would have appreciated a little more thought on Cassia’s part in regards to her family, but Xander’s presence is a fine substitute.

Recommendations: I have yet to purchase an actual copy of Matched, but rest assured that I’ll be buying one along with Crossed. Lovers of poetry and lilting prose will adore this book.

Rating: Excellent.

Crossed now has an official trailer! Watch it below:

Go visit Ally Condie at her website and follow her on Twitter @allycondie.

You can check out Crossed on Goodreads and order it over at Amazon and Book Depository.

Next review: Past Perfect, Leila Sales

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6 replies »

  1. Ahh yess, I loved Crossed so much ❤ more than Matched even! The biggest thing for me is the themes Ally Condie brings up in her books- especially the idea of love. That part when Ky questions how to keep the one you love safe totally broke me. SUCH a good question, and that idea is actually brought up in A Million Suns by Beth Revis too (if you liked AtU). I find the Matched trilogy to be very subtle in the way the characters develop and transform- absolutely brilliant on Ally's part.

    Brenna from Esther’s Ever After

  2. I am so pleased that you used the word “lilting”

    I’ve not read these books, but you makes them sound more appealing than some other blog reviews I’ve seen.

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