Crossed

Posted January 26, 2012 by Tara in Challenges /// 9 Comments

Okay, now the bubble from the first book makes much more sense. I see where we're going with this.

Crossed
by Ally Condie
Dutton
Public Library E-Book from Overdrive
[#11 in my 75 book challenge]

Crossed is the second book in the Matched series, and I like Matched very much. If you’ve never heard of the series, you might want to start with my review of Matched to see what it’s about. In short, Crossed is the story of Cassia and Ky as they leave The Society and search for The Rising.

I wanted to like this book. I really, really wanted to like it. But it bored the daylights out of me. I waited 300 pages for something to actually happen. The last bit of the story was okay, but I felt like I had to sit through far too many pages of people literally wandering aimlessly around the desert to get to any real action. In addition, the shifting point of view between Cassia and Ky was really confusing. I could never tell whose story I was reading because they sound like the same person. Yes, the chapters were labeled, but I’d forget which narrator I was reading by the time I turned the page. Rather confusing.

This book sort of represents why I hate trilogies. When I read Matched, I wrote in my review that I wanted to throw it against a wall because it had no conclusion. I wanted to throw Crossed against the wall because it was far too obviously a middle story. Don’t get me wrong, I know the middle is important. Condie is telling a story, and the journey Cassia and Ky takes is important to that story. But reading that journey as a stand-alone story was dull. This trilogy is less three books in a series and more three volumes of a book.

I also couldn’t get a grip on these characters. In Matched, I wanted so desperately for Cassia and Ky to kiss. But in this book they just annoyed me. They are so dramatic about everything. Ky bothered me because he was selfishly hiding things from Cassia. And part of me just really wants Cassia to end up with her original Society match, Xander, which makes me view all Cassia/Ky interactions with a huge bias. Condie does get some props, though, for having Ky recognize that Cassia is an independent human being who has inner strength in her own right. This quote caught my eye in the middle of a long, yawn-worthy stretch of reading:

“I don’t fool myself that I hold her together- she does that on her own- but holding her keeps me from flying apart.”

The true verdict for this trilogy will come from reading the third book. Yes, I will be reading it. I didn’t push through those 360 pages for nothing! Condie better pack a big punch in the final novel and wrap this story up in a worthwhile way. Somehow I believe that she will.

Final Grade:   D   Reading this book was like doing homework. Would I buy it for my media center? Absolutely. The kids enjoyed Matched and I don’t want to deny anyone the ability to read the sequel and pass their own judgements on the series. The romance is emotional and respectful, but not explicit, so it is perfect for middle-school romance readers who can sit through the slow pacing. I imagine it will be more sellable when the trilogy is complete.

Tara

Tara is a PhD student studying education. Her dissertation will be on digital book communities as public pedagogy (ask her about it!), though she often takes a break from all of that to read books about oppressive governments and sassy teenagers. In a former life, she was a middle school teacher and middle school librarian. In her future life, she's a professor of YA lit. In her free time, she drinks a lot of coffee while planning her next grand adventure (there's always something).

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9 responses to “Crossed

  1. It’s so interesting to read reviews of books from this series! I understand a lot of what you didn’t like, but I actually liked Crossed a teensy bit better than Matched. (I’m not really crazy about the whole series to be honest, though.) I found The Society to be confusing and odd somehow, and so the fact that Crossed doesn’t have any of that really was a good thing to me. But I’m the same as you: I’ll read the third book basically because I’m too stubborn to give up now! My fingers are crossed though that it’s AWESOME.
    Great review!

  2. Miss Anderson, I agree with you that a trilogy should encapsulate at least some sub-plot resolutions and excitement in action in EACH of the three books! To use a well-known example, Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings trilogy. And what about the Star Wars trilogy? However, I also think you made the right decision in order this second book in the Matched series for your library.

  3. “I could never tell whose story I was reading because they sound like the same person.”

    YES! I had the exact same problem. They thought/talked/narrated in exactly the same way. It made it confusing and very difficult to follow at times. I did like Crossed, but I agree that it was one of ‘those’ second books in a trilogy that gives all seconds a bad name. It was slow, filler, and now I’m wondering how on earth everything could get tied up in a third book at the pace the first two went. I would have been happy with Matched as a stand alone tbqh, sometimes it’s better to not know how things end.

  4. Wow, I actually have the complete opposite opinion of you about Crossed. While I certainly liked Matched a lot more, I am absolutely in love with this second book. I don’t feel like it was boring or lacking in plot whatsoever.

    For me, I see Matched as introducing the Society and then using love as a means and a reason for Cassia realizing its imperfections. And I see Crossed as elaborating on the imperfections of Society by introducing more characters who are against it, and portraying a realistic teen romance. We have to remember that Cassia and Ky are seventeen. No matter how mature they may seem at times, they are still teenagers and are going to be overly dramatic about relationships.

    And as far as Ky selfishly hiding things from Cassia…well, I’m going to have to agree with that. Ky was being selfish, but again that’s realistic. As a teenage boy who lived in a Society where he knew he would be alone his whole life due to just being of a different class, he is going to do whatever it takes to hold on to her. I’m not happy with his actions, but I also understand the reasoning behind them. I will also respectfully disagree that Ky and Cassia’s narration sounded too alike. By the second or third time the views switched, I’d gotten into the rhythm of it. It’s not really a random switching either–they’re alternated. Ky, Cassia, Ky, Cassia, and so on. Though, part of this might just come from my having read several books by Jodi Picoult, who switches narrators often.

    As for myself, I’m excited to see what Ally Condie has in store for the final book. I’m hoping she throws in narration by Xander and plays up the love triangle–mostly because I’m a shameless shipper and get too much enjoyment out of characters with unrequited love. I’d also like to see more details about the Society and how it functions. That was probably the driving force behind what got me to originally read Matched, since I don’t normally like romance as a main plot.

  5. i actually really love the whole series i thought the Crossed did take a bit long to get to the point but i feel something would have been missing if it wasnt this way. so all in all i really did love it!

  6. I haven’t the last book yet, but this one did drag. I didn’t mind the changing perspectives of the narrative or even the trek to find each other, but when they finally found each other…..And I kind of found that Xander is now the more interesting male character. And he was barely in it! I’m still looking forward to reading Reached though.

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