Ally Condie does it again in Crossed, book two in her Matched series. This was the one book I had to have at BEA, and I waited in line for an autographed galley. I loved Matched, and I couldn’t wait to see what the author did with the characters and the world she had created. And though it got off to a slower start, Crossed was a great read: intriguing, romantic, and full of adventure.
Book one took us into Cassia’s world of the Society, where things were planned based on statistics, everything from how much you run to whom you will marry. Cassia started to break free of this at the end of Matched, thanks to her love for Ky who isn’t her Match, and her grandfather’s forbidden Dylan Tomas poem which reminded her not to go gentle into that good night.
This bit of rebellion explodes in book two. The book starts out with Cassia working away from her parents, on farms with other girls, trying to get to the Outer Provinces to find Ky. He was sent away, and the more she hears about what’s happening out there with the Enemy, the more worried she becomes. She doesn’t even know if he’ll be alive by the time she gets to him. Cassia never gives up hope though, and eventually winds her way into the Carving, the large canyons of the southwestern desert, in order to reunite with him.
A little bit different from Matched, we hear from Ky in this book. Every other chapter is from his point of view, so while Cassia works to get to him, Ky is in the trenches pretending to be a villager in the outer provinces, watching boys (many younger than him) dying all around him on a regular basis. He finally escapes with two friends, also heading into the Carving, to hopefully reunite with the farmers who live there, men and women from the rebellion who help those trying to escape the clutches of the Society. And, if he’s really lucky, he’ll figure out a way to return to his love and get away from this horrible life.
This book was a book that got better the more I read. I didn’t mind the first half, and hearing what Ky was going through while trying to escape was heart-wrenching and incredibly interesting. Cassia’s part didn’t excite me quite as much, since she was just figuring out how to stop farming and get to Ky, though there were some gems with her reflecting on the past and her choices that made it interesting enough that I wanted to see what happened next. But things really start moving once they meet up. Once they get together, hidden truths start getting revealed, secrets that I didn’t see coming at all, which made the book extremely captivating. The second half of the book flew, and the things I found out made me ponder the story of book three, wondering what would happen, and who Cassia would end up with: Xander, her match, or Ky, the guy she gave up everything for.
I must say that I am really impressed with the covers of these books. Having re-read Matched before I tackled Crossed I really saw the imagery that the covers represented in the words, and I loved how the simplistic, colorful covers really capture the feel and essence of Cassia’s struggles. At the end of Crossed Ky paints Cassia in a red dress, so here’s hoping that’s the cover of book three!
Though I didn’t think it was as revealing as Matched was, Crossed had a lot of wonderful sections that should satisfy the Ally Condie fans. She keeps up with the great, influential poetry, and the information that is revealed (about the rebellion, secrets all the main characters have kept, and new revelations from the Society) propels the story forward and makes for great cliffhangers. I think the author has set herself up for a fantastic conclusion to the YA dystopian hit.
Crossed by Ally Condie hit stores on Tuesday, November 1st, 2011.