Book: “Crossed,” by Ally Condie

“Crossed” (Nov. 2011) is the sequel to Allie Condie’s acclaimed 2010 book, “Matched,” which tells the story of Cassia, a girl coming of age in a dystopian society. I loved “Matched,” and wrote a glowing review in March 2011. Condie presented a truly interesting dystopian world, dribbling out pieces gradually to help the reader better assemble a clear picture.

The book ends with Cassia’s mysterious friend, Ky, being sent to the war-torn Outer Provinces. Cassia takes off after him.

“Crossed” begins with Ky and other boys, placed by the Society in a deserted town, being shelled by the faceless Enemy. Boys die. Ky is thrust into leadership. Cassia is soon put on Ky’s trail.

“Crossed” takes place entirely in the Outer Provinces, in a desert-like landscape. There is very little contact with the Society, and no contact with the Enemy, except for the night-time shelling. As a result, we learn very little to add to our knowledge from “Matched” about this world. You could guess that Condie wanted to give more attention to relationships…and yet, I didn’t see any relationships advanced. Well, I guess we learned more about Xander, whose role in this book was fairly small.

Stuff happens, but often mysteriously, senselessly, without explanation. I found myself fighting frustration the further I plodded into the book.

And frustration is what remained after I turned the last page (or whatever you do on a Nook).

“Matched” was very good for Condie, a former high school English teacher, a Brigham Young University graduate who lives with her husband and three children in Salt Lake City, Utah. Disney picked up the film rights for “Matched.” I’m happy for her. “Matched” showed that she’s a talented writer with a great imagination. The third book of the trilogy will be released in November 2012.

But if, with “Crossed,” Condie hoped to leave me wanting more, she failed. Tired of being left in the dark, I just wanted to move on to a different book.  Unfortunately, the book I moved on to was “The Scorch Trials,” the second book in a dystopian trilogy by James Dashner. It proved to be more of the same–things happening for no apparent reason.

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