Monday, October 24, 2011

Review: Crossed by Ally Condie

During our most recent Book Blogger get together, I won one of a stack of copies of Crossed by Ally Condie.  Having read Condie's first novel Matched earlier this year, and then having selected it for a book circle read in my Popular Fiction class, I really wanted to get my hands on a copy!  Besides, I had students who mentioned it all the time, asking me when it was going to come out, etc.  Thanks to Suey at It's All About Books, we had a wonderful chance to win a copy, so I wanted to thank her for arranging to bring a bunch of them to give out as prizes.  I read and really enjoyed this second book, and now several students in my classes are passing it around already.  (I love when they are that excited about a book!)

Synopsis:  From Goodreads, "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."

Review:  Following on the heels of Matched, we know that Ky has been sent to the Outer Provinces and Cassia has watched her friend, teacher, and love be taken away from her.  For any reader of the first book, we have been anxiously waiting to find out what Cassia was going to do and where exactly Ky went.  Beyond that, what in the world is going on in this controlling society and what were we not being told?  In essence, it was all such a mystery that this follow up novel was highly anticipated for the answers it held.

Without giving away much-anticipated information, I can say that Cassia sets off to find Ky.  The opening of the book was actually a little slow as it set up what had and was happening to both Cassia and Ky.  The narrative is split into chapters that tell each of their stories, so we are allowed to hear what they are both thinking and what they are witnessing.  Honestly, these opening "journey chapters," as I like to call them, give us a bit more information about the society that we just have to have.  Sadly, it's still not enough information!  With what little we know, it gives the novel this foreboding, ominous tone.  There is this sadness and anxiety that hangs over the story as our two main characters narrate their journies and travel along different, but hopefully converging paths.

Although the opening chapters have a lot of story to cover and build up, I felt that it was all necessary to the story and helped me wrap my head around what this society was trying to achieve.  It still feels odd and needs A LOT of explaining, but we're finding out little bit more in this installment.  The final 1/3 of the novel is where the real crux of the action takes place, and many questions are answered, while even more questions are born.  I love that these characters are thinkers, that are complex and emotional.  At times I felt they were unreal, but so is this entire society, so it allowed me to give them their reactions.  With a new list of characters, a most surprising direction to the plot, and an ending that leaves me thinking and wanting answers now, I felt that this second novel in the series was a really surprising addition.  I can see that some readers might not like the slow pacing, and might even be upset by some of the twists revealed, but I thought they added a complex layer to the story that will have me eagerly waiting book three.  Now, when does that book come out?!?

*FTC Disclosure:  This review is based on an ARC of the novel obtained by another reader.

Watch for Crossed in stores on November 1st! 


  1. I'm hoping to review this one this week too. And agree... there's still so many questions unanswered!

  2. Suey--Thank you again, SO much for sharing these! The girls in my class are lined up, waiting to get their hands on it. I have to check tomorrow to see who has it now. :) I'll say thank you for them as well!

  3. I have heard good things about these books. I am glad you are enjoying them!

  4. I'm glad you liked it and I love that your students are so excited!