Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Crossed by Ally Condie

Here is my review of Ally Condie's first book, Matched, from two Cannonball Reads ago.

Matched was a fantastic open to the series. I initially read it because it was compared to (Say it with me now!) The Hunger Games. It's a story about a dystopian society, a story about making your own choices instead of letting someone else decide for you. Two kids from different levels of society fall in love over poetry. It's about raging against the dying of the light. Minor spoilers on the ending of Matched ahead. Cassia had been a regular city dweller in Matched. She did all the things she was supposed to, then at her Matching ceremony she saw that second person, just for a second. Ky was her second match, and she chose him. He taught her how to write, and together they read non-sanctioned poetry. Cassia was sent to a work camp at the end of Matched. It was supposed to be as punishment for her rebellious actions, but really her parents want her to have a chance to find Ky.

This time we get chapters from Ky's point of view. We knew that he had been an aberration, one of the lower class, and that he became an aberration because of something his father did. When his cousin died, Ky's aunt and uncle adopted him and took him to the city. He tried as hard as he could to just fit in, to be unremarkable enough to stay off of the Society's radar. It didn't work, and they sent him away to fight the Enemy. They said that he would be gone for a couple of months, then he'd return with full Citizen status. They keep sending more boys, but the boys keep dying off from enemy fire, and from lack of food and water. Cassia's secondary goal is to join up with the Rising, a resistance movement. It becomes a conflict with Ky, whose father had been involved with the Rising. Ky wants nothing to do with them.

The poem in Crossed is Alfred Lord Tennyson's "Crossing the Bar."

For tho' from out out bourne of Time and Place The flood may bear me far, I hope to see my Pilot face to face When I have crossed the bar.

Tennyson's poem, not one of the approved 100 poems, is a symbol of the resistance. There are people who are opposing the Society, and they will be gathering under the Pilot. Nobody knows who the Pilot is just yet, but it will probably be one of our kids. Crossed wasn't quite as outstanding as Matched, but I still found the sequel engrossing. It brought up a lot of interesting questions about the Society. I'm hoping that we get some answers in the next book.

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