Crossed by Ally Condie is the sequel to Matched, which was one of the books that sparked my interest in dystopian novels. I was captivated by the subtle romance that it introduced, as well as it's thought provoking plot.
In Crossed, Cassia has broken away from Society to travel into the Outer Provinces in an effort to find Ky. Along the way, she learns of the Rising, an organized rebellion against the society. Joining the Rising becomes her new goal in life. Ky, who has already seen the dark side of the Rising, wants more than anything never to join up again. Xander, Cassia's official match, still lingers on her mind, along with the secrets he may be keeping from her.
I still enjoy the relationship dynamics. Cassia and Ky are (somewhat inexplicably) believable as a romantic couple. I found Cassia's pursuit of him exciting. It showed the development she's undergone so far and proved, to me, that she is a strong and intelligent heroine.
I liked the new characters introduced. Vick, Ky's friend, offers a tragic love story to offset the sweetness of Ky and Cassia. Eli, who reminds Ky and Cassia of Bram (Cassia's little brother), is something of a plot moppet. He shows us the nurturing side of the older characters. Indie is by far the most interesting of the new characters. She's incredibly self serving, at times approaching unlikeable, but at least she isn't predictable.
I was honestly hoping, that after such a slow and exposition filled first book, that we'd see more action in this one. That's kind of the case. But it's still very, very slow. There's a lot of unnecessary time spent on bland and repetitive topics. As a result, the book never really gets to a satisfying climax. I understand that this is the mid-trilogy transition book, but I don't think a little more attention to pacing is too much to ask.
Seriously, what's up with all the poetry in these YA books? Now, I happen to have a disability of sorts when it comes to poetry--I just don't get it. But even if I did, and even if your average straight teenage boy also got it (ha), it would still get stale after awhile. Most teenage couples I've known have better ways to spend their time than reading poetry to one another. Maybe I'm coming across as jaded here, I don't know. But I've now seen this particular thing often enough that it's become cliche. Cut it out, YA authors.
Cassia's naivety when it comes to the Rising bugged me. As did the fact that Ky didn't really attempt to fully disclose to her what being in the rising would mean. She whines a lot about wanting to make her own choices, but she doesn't seem overly concerned with making informed decisions.
If you liked the first book, you'll get through this one just fine. It's not as good, but it still has some of the better elements from the first one. On the other hand, if you disliked or felt neutrally toward the first book, this one is not going to change your mind about the trilogy. In general, if you like dystopians, you should give Matched a try. This is shaping up to be a decent series. 3 stars.