Saturday, August 10, 2013

Crossed by Ally Condie

Summary:   The second book in the Matched trilogy, Crossed continues the tale of mistakenly matched Cassia and Ky after their separation by the Society.  Cassia uses her connections to be sent to a work camp hoping she will be able to find Ky while Ky's Aberrant status lands him in the Outer Provinces to be a target for enemy fire.  Using ingenuity and opportunity, they find their way to each other.  Rumours of the Rising against the Society continue to build and when Cassia and Ky have their chance to join, new truths come to light threatening to tear them apart.

Dystopian Issues:  Class System, Totalitarian Government
Part of a Series: The second book in the Matched series
Next in Series:  Reached
Age of Main Character: 17
Number of Pages:  367
Year of Publication: 2011
Publisher:  Dutton Books, an imprint of Penguin Group Inc.

Review:  As the story of Cassia, Ky and Xander builds to the final book in the trilogy, I'm left with many questions along the way.  Who exactly is the Enemy is Condie's books?  Is it possible the Enemy is an elaborate ruse by the Society used to strike fear into the hearts of its citizens and keep them in line?
     I like how Condie expands the narrative to include Ky's point-of-view because I identified with him more than I did with Cassia.  I have to admit that Cassia has grown as a character since the first book, but she still strikes me as having blundered into her current life as opposed to choosing a path like Ky.
     Is Cassia's love for Ky simple the result of the novelty of having a choice, or will it stand the test of time?  I'm sure the next book will answer my questions.
     Condie uses Crossed to define the class system of the Society: farmers who remain apart, Aberrations, Anamolies and Citizens.  As one would expect, not everyone agrees with how Society runs things but the Society definitely has way of shutting those people up.
     The themes of choice, self-determination and the act of creating instead of sorting are also further developed, and Condie skillfully uses poems and legends from our past to fuel the rebellion in Cassia and Ky's present.
     Crossed contains a surprising lack of Xander though.  While he appears near the beginning of the book and provides Cassia with the means to get to Ky that is his only appearance.  When it is revelled Xander is assigned to be a medic and that he is part of the Rising, I found it difficult to believe he did not know the true purpose of the blue tablets.  Is it possible there is a darker side to Xander and he was trying to stop Cassia from getting to Ky?  Again, only book three will tell.

Real Life Dystopias:  In the Society, Aberrations are people who are classified as dissenters of the system.  I recently read an excellent book called People Who Said No by Laura Scandiffo.  In it she features true stories about people who would have been considered Aberrations of their times - during Hitler's reign in Nazi Germany, apartheid in South Africa and the dictatorship in Burma.

Memorable Quotes: "I fought because I had found peace in Cassia.  Because I knew I could find rest in her touch that somehow both burned me up and washed me clean."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 150

     "It's beautiful and it's real, but our time together could be as fleeting as snow on the plateau.  We can either try to change everything or just make the most of whatever time we have."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 210

     "There is something special, irreplaceable, about the first time living."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 260

     "To go from discarded to chosen - it's all Aberrations want."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 282

     "Good-byes are like this.  You can't always mark them well at the moment of separation - no matter how deep they cut."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 335

     "When you first love, you look blind and you see it all as the glorious, beloved whole, or a beautiful sum of beautiful parts.  But when you see the one you love as pieces - you can love those parts too, and it's a love at once more complicated and more complete."
     -  Crossed by Ally Condie, pg 346

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