Mar 12, 2012

Crossed, by Ally Condie (Matched Trilogy, #2)

Disclaimer: All reviews are the result of my personal opinion from a Christian stand-point. These reviews are provided for those who share my beliefs and morals, to help guide what fiction a reader may wish to pick up. For those who do not share these beliefs, please refrain from hateful comments. It is due to rude commenting that I must now include this note prior to all reviews. For more information, visit my purpose behind this blog. Thank you for your understanding.

Intended Age-Group: 14+
Issues of Violence:  War violence
Intimacy Level: Kissing on a more passionate level
Swearing: a brief mention of a rude hand gesture
Recommendation: 3 out of 5 stars.

How could I ignore the requests, the temptation, and the pleasant blue color of Ally Condie's newest release, Crossed? This is the continuation of Matched and I picked it up as soon as it arrived at the library.

Cassia is headed toward the Outer Provinces in search for Ky against all odds--the attack of the Enemy, the ploys of the Society, and the deathly embrace of the unknown land. She sacrifices emotional keepsakes for information and leaves her family behind. When her adventures take her into the Carving--a canyon of poisoned rivers and death--the obstacles only seem to grow. She's faced with starvation, exhaustion, and doubt on where to go.

Meanwhile, Ky is trying to survive the harsh 60-day-death-sentence, working and burying the dead in the Outer Provinces. No one has survived 60 days yet. He has to. He must, because he needs to return to Cassia. He makes an impossible escape attempt during an attack from the Enemy and battles memories of his childhood as he tromps across familiar wasteland.

Initial Reaction: *****
It was difficult for me to jump back into the story after the year gap and I found myself wishing I'd re-read Matched. There was very little, if any re-cap in Crossed and I felt a bit lost at the beginning. I picked it up hoping for more action and more depth than Matched. While Matched was interesting, it remained quite slow moving. Sadly, Crossed didn't pick up very much. Though there is more action, the book is more dominated by inner thoughts, musings, poems, and descriptions. The description-style is written well, just not in the same alley of my preference.

Characters: *****
We enter into both Cassia's and Ky's heads this round. I can see how they are growing; however, I felt like they weren't the same characters from Matched. Ky seemed more hardened and grown up, while Cassia seemed much more in tune with "the real world" than she was in book 1. It's nice that she puts two-and-two together faster (in most cases), but it's out of character. Also, it was very difficult to distinguish between who's head I was in. Each chapter says clearly, "Cassia" or "Ky" at the beginning, but I wanted to recognize their voices and I couldn't.

Try as I might to push past it, the characters just had too much of a lack of believability. I couldn't relate to them. So many actions/re-actions just didn't seem human. When Ky declares the one thing he won't do for Cassia, she's not shocked or sad or hurt or stunned...she just has a "softened look" because she can see that he's hurting. I understand that there's a softness in Cassia, but there should also be human desire and reaction in her. We just don't see it. Both Ky and she don't seem to have many natural responses. Even when Cassia is practically drowning in the rapids of a poisoned river, she's reminiscing about swimming with Ky and Xander back when they were kids. I couldn't help but wonder, "Why isn't she thinking, I need air! I need help! How do I survive?"

Pacing: *****
The action picks up around the 3/4 mark of the book. I read a bit faster to see how they escaped, to discover the "secrets" about specific characters, to see if Society showed up, and to see if the Rising was real. I connected with some characters in some moments, but all in all the flow of the book left me disappointed.

Plot: *****
A lot of plot-progress takes place through "coincidence". All the right clues fall into Cassia's and Ky's hands in the perfect order as they tromp through the Carving. I found the clues and coincidences over the top when Ky finds a pamphlet that explains the history of the Rebellion. It felt like an information dump and provided too much information (such as the Rebellion's password, where the Rebellion is located, and a "title" for the Rebellion's leader).  Even though he supposedly "knew" this information already, it was a little too clear-cut.

Clean Content: *****
Crossed follows the same level of "appropriateness" as Matched did. It remains clean--there's no swearing or high-level intimacy. The violence level stays rather tame. A few characters die, but the reader doesn't see it happen. A lot of dead characters are "found" by Cassia or Ky. There's mention of bombs and bodies flying. There is blood on Ky's hands and on some dead bodies, but it's really not graphic. There's a brief hint of possible suicide, but nothing more.

Desire to Read More: *****
The end of the book leaves no excitement or desire for book three. It all seems very sporadic and a month's worth of time passes over the course of a couple chapters. Instead of wanting to read more, I was left feeling even more cut-off from the characters with no desire to see the end of the story.

Spiritual Content: *****
On the God-front, there's a single mention of God and it's just in reference to a man's wife and child believing in more than just life on earth. There's nothing more--the focus on "love" and the purpose of life is folded into Ky's and Cassia's relationship. Life without each other supposedly isn't life at all. I can understand the strength behind the emotion of love, but Cassia's and Ky's love jumped from "blossoming desire" in Matched to passionate, life-sacrificing, no-doubts-whatsoever love in Crossed. It felt forced and unrealistic.

Overall Recommendation: *****
I recommend the book to younger readers looking for a small taste of dystopian fiction, mostly because of it's clean content and appropriateness despite the bland areas.

Nadine Brandes is an adventurer, fusing authentic faith with bold imagination. She writes stories about brave living, finding purpose, and other worlds soaked in imagination. Her debut dystopian novel, A Time to Die, released September 2014 from Enclave Publishing. When Nadine's not taste-testing a new chai or editing fantasy novels, she is out pursuing adventures. She currently lives in Idaho with her husband. You can find out more about Nadine and her books at


  1. Hi! I can't find a name on here to address you proper, but I do want to tell you I'm impressed with your blog. I stumbled on it while searching for the cover image of "Crossed," which I just reviewed though it won't post on my site till November. We had many of the same reactions to the book. In fact, we have a very similar worldview and purpose in blogging, so I wanted to say hello and tell you your "Crossed" review was very well thought out. :)

  2. I like your review. I also felt that the chracters in Crossed were not the same ones as they were in Matched.I also thought that the characters points of veiw (the chapters) were hard to picture.

  3. Thank you for your comment, Anonymous. It seems we all had several reactions to the book.