Friday, November 11, 2011

CROSSED by Ally Condie Review

Ok, so I wrote a review for this book for Amazon and I try to keep the gushing and to a minimum over there. I don't always succeed, but I try because now I have a blog for that sort of thing. :)
Here's what I wrote:
I loved Matched, and I was a little nervous Crossed wouldn't live up to my high expectations. I'm happy to say it met and exceeded them.
Crossed takes the characters we got to know in Matched and gives us even more of their stories. Cassia grows into the strong and decisive person we saw hints of in Matched, Xander proves to be an even more complex character than I first believed even though we don't see much of him in this book, and Ky's backstory is more fleshed out. There are new characters added as well, each with his or her own complicated and intense personal reasons for wanting to fight against the Society.
I really admire how Ally Condie shows the deepening of Ky and Cassia's relationship, complete with insecurities, hurts, and doubts. Her portrayal of imperfect and flawed young people who still love each other is a refreshing change from the common YA couples who seem to be together for no reason other than one or both of them thinks the other is hot.
The book remains character driven, like Matched, although there is more action in this book. I loved all the little surprises and bits of info Condie wove through the book that answered questions from Matched and also set up more discoveries to come in book three. While I would've liked a little more info and explanation about the Society, the Enemy, and how the Rising operates, I have faith Condie will wrap it all up in the final book.
Finally, I would like to say how much I admire the cleanness of this book. No profanity, no drinking or drugs, no sex. It would be appropriate for even younger teens. Themes of love, duty, sacrifice, loyalty, honor, regret and redemption are explored and handled beautifully. I can't wait to see what happens next.

Here's what I REALLY want to write:
This book is a poem in and of itself. It makes the former English major in my soul want to stand up and confess my love for everything about its perfect self, preferably in iambic pentameter. I want to sit in swivel chair with other fans of Crossed around a long oak table in a room with floor to ceiling windows and watch the leaves fall and discuss foreshadowing, allusions, symbolism, character development, and Emily Dickinson references. In short: it makes me have a total English lit fangirl geekout of joy and I can't even help it. *Pete, if you're reading this, you're invited to my fictional book club meeting.*
See, if you put that kind of stuff on Amazon, you get lots of down votes on the Helpfulness of your reviews. But here....well, I can rhapsodize the beauty of Mrs. Condie's book all I want.
Some have said they found the book slow. I can see how this might be an issue, especially considering it is loosely classified as a dystopia. And if you've read any YA dystopias, you've probably grown used to a cutthroat pace, and maybe some literal throat cutting depending on which books you're encountered.
But Crossed, like Matched before it, is very much a character driven story. Sure, there's a plot and things happen to move the action long, obviously. But for me, these books about the people we get to know and how the events that happen to and around them affect who they are and their relationships with one another. Please allow me one more moment of starry-eyed adoration: Y'all, in Matched, when Ky gave Cassia that snippet of Dylan Thomas' "Poem in October" I was IN. There was no way I'd ever not love a guy who would give the girl he loved poetry for her birthday. And right now if I think about that poem too much, I'm going to get teary-eyed.
OK, with that said....and if you're still miraculously reading this post, all five of you who actually read this blog :) Please go get CROSSED and read it and report back with your thoughts.


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