Author: Ally Condie
Series: Matched, book 2
Genre: Dystopian YA
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Published: November 1, 2011
Summary: 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.
**THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS IF YOU HAVE NOT READ MATCHED, THE FIRST BOOK IN THIS SERIES. You can check out my review for MATCHED here**
I was fortunate enough to snag a copy of CROSSED at Book Expo this year, and I read it and its predecessor, MATCHED, back to back. In truth, if I hadn’t gotten a copy at Book Expo, I don’t know that I would have actively pursued the second book in this series after my less-than-stellar view of MATCHED. It was fortuitous then that I did stand on that crazy line for Ally Condie because I enjoyed CROSSED much more. To be clear though, an improvement over MATCHED, while welcome and pleasing, still means that CROSSED leaves a little to be desired.
CROSSED is the second book in the Matched series and, while I still found it to be lacking in ways, it was a big improvement over MATCHED for sure. I think this was mostly because a lot of my issues with MATCHED concerned the Society and the confusing rules that the author set up for that world. Because CROSSED takes place completely outside of the Society, those frustrations were almost completely absent, and the story was tons better because of it. Plus, the plot was more exciting. Things happened in this book all throughout the story that were miles more gripping than anything in book 1, which was mostly about the romance. CROSSED was about other things, and that was more fascinating to read.
The relationship between Ky and Cassia is good, I guess, but nothing fantastic or panty-melting, or even sweet and heartwarming. This is, I would assume, partly because of the situations these two find themselves in in this book; it’s not really the ideal environment for lovey-dovey crushing. We do get a sense of the intensity of Ky and Cassia’s relationship changing as a byproduct of that environment, and that gives us some great pacing and puts our lovebirds in jeopardy, which is exciting.
There were still a few things that bothered me, though. As in MATCHED, I felt that some of the plot twists or secret reveals were a little rushed and/or kind of glanced over and then left behind. I didn’t always think that some of the reveals were given their due, most notably, “Xander’s secret.” (Side gripe about this: I have no problem with the fact that Xander has a secret. It makes him even more interesting and less like the person I thought he was, in a good way [in general, I think the guys are more interesting in this story than Cassia]. I have no problem with the fact that, for most of the story once we find out that Xander has a secret, we don’t know what the secret is. There’s no need then to keep reminding me of it, always with the same words: “Xander’s secret.” It felt a little like beating a dead horse. Side gripe over.) When we were told what Xander’s secret is, though, it felt to me like it got short shrift. I missed Xander in this story and, thankfully, it sounds like he’s going to have to play a much bigger role in the third book. He is quickly becoming the most interesting character in this series for me.
Another little bugaboo about some of the secondary characters here: they were all interesting on the surface, but I found myself wishing I had felt more connected to them, knew more about them–Eli, Hunter, Vick. Even Indie, who we got to spend a good deal of time with. I’m looking forward to seeing how some of these characters fit into the next book. And, of course, where things end up with Ky, Xander and Cassia.
CROSSED was indeed a big improvement over MATCHED, but as always when I read these books, I am left with a sense of potential unmet. The idea behind the Society is interesting, the relationships could be intense, and there are still lots of things unexplained about the world these characters live in that may yet make me eat my words, but somehow it seems like we only get 80% of the greatness when 100% would, obviously, be better. Lots of “shoulda, coulda”, you know? And that’s such a shame, really, because I wanted these books to be great. My hopes for the third book are higher, though, after reading CROSSED.