Author: Ally Condie
Release Date: November 1, 2011
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin imprint)
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 to find Ky - taken by the Society to his certain death - only to find that he had 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, a rebellion, a betrayal, and a surprise visit from Xander change the game once again. Nothing is as expected on the edge of the Society, where crosses and double crosses make the path more twisted than ever.
Crossed was everything I expected, made me feel all the emotions I wanted to feel.
When Matched first came out last November, I read it and loved it, oddly relishing the sad and emotional way I felt after I turned the last page. But I didn't review it. I couldn't. I had no words that could adequately express how I felt after reading it. It made me think about how we look at the world, how we are sorted, and how I would feel if somehow my life because that compartmentalized, that controlled, that closed off from spontaneous events and utterly pointless things like flowers and books and chocolate that only serve to make people happy.
With this book, I have somehow found the words I couldn't a year ago. This book, like Matched, is one I can't talk about in terms of plot and character, even though I enjoyed them. I can only think of this book in terms of the message it gives you as you read it.
In a dystopian society, there will always be a rebellion, an uprising, a group fighting to free the majority of society from the controlling hands of its leaders. There will also be those caught in the middle, somehow wrapped up in a rising, who must decide whether or not they'll continue to be a part of the society. Look at Awaken or Delirium or Nightshade (this last one isn't dystopian but it has a similar situation). Every main character in those books learned some truth about the society they lived in, learned some horrors, and with their new-found understanding made a very difficult choice. In Crossed, we have Cassia, somehow involved with her rose-coloured glasses stripped away from her eyes, and we have Ky, always just on the edge without an actual purpose just looking for an escape, a place where he doesn't have to lie about what he is.
I think the reason Ally Condie's series, like other dystopian novels written for a young adult audience, is because the tough decision of following blindly without question or opening your eyes to discover the truth so you can make your own decisions about the world is what teenagers deal with all the time. Do they want the kind of life their parents have? Will they discover they really want to be an artist or woodworker or a guitarist instead of an accountant or a chemist or a doctor?
I don't know what I would do if I were Cassia or Ky, if I would go back to the Society and be taken care of or go off and join the Rising. I'm having a hard enough time figuring out what I'm supposed to do with my own life, but I'm eager to read the next book next year to discover what Cassia and Ky, and yes, Xander, have decided to do with theirs.
Thought-provoking, honest, and surprisingly believable, Ally Condie's Crossed continues Cassia's journey into the truth behind the Society and gives us new insight into Ky, the guy who finally makes Cassia think outside the box. This is their journey away from the Society, away from work camps and battles against the Enemy, their journey towards the Rising. Their journey to find themselves and each other.
(I received an advance copy of this book from Penguin Canada for the purpose of reviewing it.)