There has been a variety of dystopia fiction released lately, some excellent, like Malley’s The Declaration and Pfeffer’s Life As We Knew It. A new addition to the genre is Ally Condie’s Matched trilogy. Crossed is the second in the trilogy, about a future society in which all citizens have no privacy and their every move is recorded and studied. People can be rejected from society as Aberrations or Anomalies if they do not act as they are expected to. The series also has a strong romantic element with a love triangle between the main character Cassia, the shining society boy with a secret, Xander, and the damaged yet quietly confident Aberration, Ky. The first book in the series established the romantic triangle and the capriciousness of the Society, and in this book Cassia begins to rebel against it, attempting to join the revolutionary Rising.
The series is written in a poetic voice that emphasises the romanticism at the heart of the tale. It is not a highly action packed novel, but rather a contemplative, almost philosophical book, as it examines Condie’s idea of the Society and the damage it has wrought on her main players. This book is told in Cassia and Ky’s voices as they escape and rebel against the Society. It is essential to read the first novel, Matched, before approaching this one, as it relies heavily on knowledge that the reader has of how the Society works from the first novel. The significance of tablets and Aberrations will be lost on those who try and pick the story up in the middle. Crossed is also the stronger of the two books, as the romantic triangle with its fairly obvious conclusion was the focus of the first book and didn’t give Condie much scope in the narrative, while Crossed goes beyond the triangle and into the real questions that spring from the Society she has created, while her characters are explored in more detail.
This novel was probably written with the Twilight crowd in mind, so is most appropriate for the teens, but there would no problem with a younger reader picking it up earlier. The novel is probably most appropriate for wider reading, as the fact it is the second in a trilogy bars it from being good study material, unless the participants had also read the first book. Girls will be the prime audience for this story, with the heavy romantic angle, but plenty of boys enjoyed Twilight, and could be encouraged to read this as well. A patient reader is required, however, because of the lack of continuous action, and the long contemplative moments. As a result it may not be a widely popular book, but good for those students who enjoy dystopia fiction and want to read what is new in the genre.