Crossed

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
Crossed Book Poster Image
Dark, unsettling second installment in dystopian saga.
Popular with kids

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 12+
Based on 26 reviews

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Poems by Dylan Thomas and Alfred Tennyson preface the book and support the entire narrative. The symbolism of the Tennyson poem proves critical to Cassia’s growing understanding of the rebellion she seeks to join. Books and the arts, essentially those banned by the Society, are treated with reverence.

Positive Messages

For these teens, resignation means death. At this stage of the story, they have little choice but to fight on -- and to do so requires the difficult task of looking out for their own interests while working as a team. They're acutely aware that every action has consequences, and that the most meaningful relationships can be the most complicated ones.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Cassia, Ky, and the companions they meet along the way are brave and spirited. Trust isn't easy for any of them, but they find the courage to put their faith in each other (some more than others). Cassia and Ky aren't hardened by the violence they witness; they remain empathetic throughout.

Violence

This book is much more brutal than the series opener, putting readers in the thick of the violence alluded to earlier. It opens with Ky disposing of the body of a boy who died of thirst. Children sent the Outer Provinces are effectively given a death sentence, facing lack of food and water and deadly attacks. A friend of Ky’s is killed in an explosion; Cassia and her companion find a plain covered with burned bodies after an attack. Condie doesn’t linger on these scenes, but they recur often to underscore the severity of the teens’ situation and the stakes.

Sex

Mostly kissing. Cassia and Ky slip off alone for a night together, but that’s all the detail given -- readers can infer what they will. There’s also the strong suggestion that a young boy and a young girl have sex, but again, nothing explicit.

Language
Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this book is much more violent than its predecessor. The violence can be gruesome, including a scene with dozens of charred bodies after an attack. Young children, orphaned or taken from their families, are put into extraordinary peril by the Society that supposedly is caring for them.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byElarinya L. August 28, 2016
This second book has the action some of my students were asking about when they considered reading the first book. Now that the characters have ventured out of... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byHeq073198 November 3, 2011

Just a tad disappointing...

Some violence and a lot of kissing. I think it was a little disappointing in comparison to Matched. I don't remember anybody having sex. If they're ta... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written byUseursense November 30, 2013

BETTER THAN THE FIRST ONE! I GIVE IT 20 STARS!

I found this one was the BEST in the series! There is some language, the d word a couple times, and I don't really like how Ky and Cassia spend the night a... Continue reading

What's the story?

CROSSED, the second book in the dystopian MATCHED trilogy, finds Cassia in a work camp, far from home, searching for her love, Ky, who is fighting to survive amid the violence in the Outer Provinces and plotting to escape in search of Cassia. Their paths eventually lead them first to parallel canyons and finally to each other, with traveling companions in tow. Amid a backdrop of violence and death, they piece together information about the Rising, the rumored rebellion against the Society. Cassia is eager to find the Rising, but it’s the one place Ky feels he can’t go. All the while, the absent Xander -- Cassia’s Society-chosen betrothed -- is revealed to have a surprising secret of his own.

Is it any good?

Told from the alternating viewpoints of Ky and Cassia, this is the journey stage of the saga, and while the getting-there can be plodding, there’s much to discover on the way. The tone is very different from the first book, set in the polished, controlled Borough. The action -- and there’s a lot of it -- is now in the wild Outer Provinces, where the Society uses its undesirables as cannon fodder. Away from Society oversight, the love story that blossomed in Matched grows thorny: Cassia and Ky had united against the Society’s plans for them, but now they grapple with conflicting desires.

Ally Condie continues to write with a poetic voice, returning often to the poems that preface the novel. Yet after all the drama of the journey, the hurried conclusion is emotionally flat. Crossed is unlikely to seduce new readers, but fans will be fascinated by the farmers and their caves stuffed with treasured books, clues to the Society’s sinister workings, and Xander’s tantalizing secret.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the poems used in the book. What do you think Tennyson was writing about in "Crossing the Bar"? Do you think the Rising views it in the same way, or has it offered a completely new interpretation?

  • The farmers salvage a treasure trove of print materials, from classic works to piles of pamphlets. What works of art would you want to save?

Book details

For kids who love science fiction

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