by Ally Condie
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.