‘Crossed’ by Ally Condie (2011)
The second book of a trilogy, ‘Crossed’ was described by a colleague as a ‘holding pattern’ book, like most second books in trilogies. I had never thought about it before, but when I reflect on the trilogies I have read (Hunger Games and Uglies as two examples that spring to mind), it is the perfect description. The book that gives you some resolutions, perhaps an extension of the original complication, a twist, perhaps a couple of new characters… but we all know, from the first word to the last, that this is not it, this is just the middle, nothing will be solved here.
I loved the first book, ‘Matched’. My favourite young adult genre, dystopian fiction, has provided us with some fabulous books in the last few years. I loved ‘Matched’ a little bit more because there was a Dylan Thomas poem at its core.
‘Crossed’ brings our heroes back together. Ky is dumped in the Outer Provinces and Cassia, through grit and determination (and some astonishingly good luck) finds a way to reach him. She is helped, both by obvious assistants and by some strange bedfellows. Once they are together, they have to find a way to agree on what it is they should do next. All they know is that returning to the Society is not an option.
The first book was written in first person from Cassia’s perspective. This book alternates, chapter by chapter, in Cassia and Ky’s voices. While the voices are consistent, the changes frequently caused me confusion and I needed to quickly check to the chapter number and heading of either CASSIA or KY to reorient. This wasn’t a good thing.
I will read the third book. I’m curious about a number of things. But this was definitely, as Kate said, a book that just kept me in a holding pattern. Hopefully the final book will more effectively engage me, and reward me for my loyalty.