“Crossed” – A Dystopian Novel Which Introduces Poetry To Young Adults

Book Review : Crossed by Ally Condie

Spoiler Alert!

Cassia is at a work camp hoping to find her way to Ky. Simultaneously Ky is in the Outer Provinces wanting to find his way back to Cassia.

Xander is able to visit Cassia, as her match, and go on a chaperoned date where Cassia trades for information. She doesn’t get what she initially was hoping for but, instead, learns about the Pilot being the leader of the Rising, a faction rebelling against the Society. When a few of the girls are called to go to the Outer Provinces Cassia takes the opportunity to orchestrate her own passage out of the work camp.

Ky and Vick know they are living a farce engineered by the Society, and the Outer Provinces is really a death warrant. Ky rewires the blank guns to work again, and uses an attack from the Enemy to escape with Vick and Eli into the Canyon.

Cassia, with the help of Indie, quickly make their own escape into the Canyon where Cassia begins to see signs of Ky. Upon being reunited, Ky and Cassia feel a great happiness, but that happiness is marred by so many factors. They are plagued by their past, the Rising and Society. Cassia must follow her dreams and Ky doesn’t know if he can follow.

Adult Point of View

I love how Condie has used poetry in Matched and Crossed because it introduces valuable literature to young adults. At first I thought it strange to combine the beauty of poetry with a dystopian world, however, it also makes sense because restrictive societies repress the arts. Poetry becomes the perfect means of rebellion.

I also enjoy the lyrical quality to Condie’s writing. I love the vivid descriptions of the Canyon and details of the landscape. There is a jarring difference in the beauty of the writing against the background of senseless violence, which highlights how wrong it is that so many innocent people are dying. Reading Crossed is a bit like traveling along a wide river, it is beautiful and leisurely. I did have to pay close attention since the voice flips back and forth from Ky and Cassia to know who was speaking.

Even though I am tired of love triangles in ya novels, this particular love triangle works fairly well. Ky and Xander seem very similar, one more refined by society and other rough edged. Neither of the boys are overtly antagonistic to their rival, and actually respect each other which is refreshing. Thankfully Cassia is not whiny! I am intrigued by Indie because she is holding back her motivations for her actions, why does she want to be part of the Rising? Crossed is quite self-reflective for Cassia and Ky, giving us a better view of their inner workings and might give us a clue to their future actions. Readers have asked if Cassia and Ky have sex on the night when Ky asks if it is too much to ask for them to forget about the Society and the Rising for one night. This section is written ambiguously and I believe people will read it the way they want to read it. With that said, I would say that they did not have sex because the language is not suggestive enough or conclusive, and their relationship does not change after that night. They seem like teenagers trying to figure out where they fit in the world together. Who will Cassia finally choose?

I was hoping to have a better understanding of the mechanisms of the Society, who the Enemy are that they are fighting and a sense of the goals of the Rising. I have even wondered if the Enemy is a fabrication of the Society in their quest to gather data to prevent death. The Enemies attacks don’t make sense from a strategic point of view.

I enjoyed Crossed though not as much as Matched, and I was hoping the action would move forward a little bit more. I will look forward to the next novel.

3.25 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

Teen Point of View

I loved this book. It was beautifully written and had a wonderful story line. I love this author sooo much! I can’t wait for the next book. This is a series I suggest for all teenage girls who love a romance with some action.

4.5 out of 5

– the Teen

“Reached” – Does the “Matched” Series Come to a Satisfactory Conclusion?

Book Review : Reached by Ally Condie

Spoiler Alert!

Cassia and Ky have found the Rising, but they have each been assigned different roles and are separated again. Cassia has been sent back into the Society to continue sorting waiting for a unique sort that the Rising will send to her. Ky has been trained to fly planes and awaits the day when the Pilot will call for the Rising to reveal itself to Society. Xander is now trained as a physic and is also part of the Rising.

The rebellion seems to run smoothly as the Rising moves against Society until the plague mutates and there is no sure. Cassia, Ky and Xander all fall under suspicion of treason and have to find a way to redeem themselves, and save the remains of all they know.

Adult Point of View

I have been considering what I actually thought of Reached for several days prior to writing this review. I didn’t love it, but I liked it more than Crossed. The real problem is that I loved Matched so much that the other books in this series have not lived up to the first. Reached is filled with poetry and esoteric values that I enjoyed. The sentence structure is simple and clean which I believe can be justified in that Society has limited independent thinking through a narrow scope of reference (like the 100 songs, 100 paintings, 100 science lessons, ect.). I like Cassia as a character, but I don’t feel like she has a lot of growth in this book. Xander actually changes and develops the most as he comes to understand his own moral compass that he must work for a cure to the mutated plague even if it means he cannot pursue Cassia.

I was bothered that the point of view flipped between the three main characters and had to periodically verify which character was speaking. The climax of Reached hits quickly when the Rising is successful in taking over the Society, and then the rest of the book centers on solving the mutated illness. I was not very happy when I read that there was a rampant disease taking over because I was instantly reminded of The Maze Runner series. When it is revealed that the Society was aware of the Rising, and embraced the revolution to remain in power as the governing force, I was very discouraged feeling as though everything leading up to the Rising was futile. Somehow this line of reasoning reminded me of the Foundation series by Asimov. Finally, I was glad that questions were answered, but as the same time I felt like everything was tied up a little too neatly. Examples would include, Cassia had changed the pool for her Match adding Ky under the direction of the Rising, that Nea Lei was  Laney, whose love had died and is now the new love interest for Xander, Ky’s cousin had not died but had left for the Otherlands and that Cassia’s great grandmother had been the Pilot. I was satisfied that the ending did not resolve the final vote on who would be the new ruling “president” to reform their civilization.

3.5 out of 5 stars

– the Mother

The Teen is reading this novel and will add in her perspective when she has the chance. Check back for her addition.

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About Tales Untangled

I am a mother of four children and have a passion for reading. I love sharing my treasury of books with my kids. I also do experiments in cooking which includes such things as Indian Tandoori Chicken slow cooked in a tagine. Weekly I get together with friends and go to yoga for a bit of mommy time. Some may find me quirky, I prefer to think I am one of a kind.
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