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Dark, unsettling second installment in dystopian saga.
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What parents need to know

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

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.


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.


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.

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Drinking, drugs, & smoking
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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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Author:Ally Condie
Genre:Science Fiction
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Dutton Books
Publication date:November 1, 2011
Number of pages:364

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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 talking about Hunter having a daughter, yeah it never said he and Catherine were married, but it never said they weren't. I thought the whole middle part was a oxymoron because Cassia and Ky were separated again, but the cliffhanger will keep you begging for the final novel.
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Teen, 14 years old Written byrebma97 November 7, 2011

More violent than the first book

After reading Matched, I was excited to read the sequel. I don't like it as much as the first. It's slow on some parts, Cassia and Ky bicker a lot, and it was a little confusing. There is a lot of mentions of dead bodies, and some people bleed. There is some kissing, but I don't remember anyone having sex. At one point Cassia says that she strips down to her underwear when she is changing her clothes. They use d*mm, but mostly it says people cursed instead of saying the language (like in Matched). I personally think Matched was better.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much swearing
Teen, 13 years old Written byUseursense November 30, 2013


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 alone in the Carving. This isn't THAT violent, and it doesn't go into much detail. This one is VERY fast paced, so if you think the first one is slow just keep pushing through it to get to this one!