Wednesday, November 16, 2011

CROSSED by Ally Condie

I have been waiting for CROSSED for a full year. CROSSED is the second book in Ally Condie's MATCHED trilogy. MATCHED was a great book-a YA novel that I read and then both my 11 and 20 year old daughters read.  We have all been looking forward to CROSSED and have had the date of its release on the calendar for months.

Somehow, I was the first one in the house to get to read CROSSED!  I finished it this week and LOVED it. I have to say, I didn't love it from the start.  I was disappointed at the slowness and the quietness of this book during the first half, I kept jumping on Goodreads to see what others had said and was not surprised at how many people saw it as so much different, and less engaging than the first book.

But, then I got to the last third of the book, and I now realize I love this book even better than MATCHED.  A conversation on Twitter helped me mid-book.  Katherine (@katsok) had finished the book and tweeted, "Liked the second 1/2 better than the first 1/2. Also enjoyed the journey of each character." When I mentioned that I wasn't liking Ky during this part of the book, she said, "Aw, I still loved him at the end. Both Cassia and Ky are flawed at times. Need to figure out who they are."

And Katherine was so right. I realized soon after that twitter conversation that CROSSED is one of my favorite kinds of books. It is a book about character and characters' personal journeys.  I think MATCHED was such a plot-based book that I was reading this one as the same kind for a while.  But when I realized that plot wasn't the key, I read for character and I loved it.

In this book, Ky and Cassia are on a journey. A physical journey. But each is also on a personal journey-one that helps them live out the stories of their lives--a journey that lets them be truthful to themselves about those stories of their past.  There are so many lines I wanted to mark in this book--lines that were hugely powerful/  This is a book of growing and a book of choices. I don't want to give much away, but now that I finished this book, I realize that it is actually a much deeper, more intense book than MATCHED was. We learn more about the characters and who they are.  We have different hopes for who they might become.  That is huge for me as a reader.  There is still a good plot and definitely a cliffhanger ending but thinking about it, the book is about Ky and it is about Cassia--who they are together and who they are apart. When I finished MATCHED,  I loved it and was happy to pass it along. But when I finished this book, I wanted to talk to others about it. Condie left us with so much more to think about in this one.

So, if you've read MATCHED, know that this is a different read. Know that you might be disappointed during the first bit of the book. But also know that it is worth it because it is no less of a good story.  You will come out of the book knowing and understanding each character so much better than you did before.  And you'll have lots to think about--so many ideas that Condie has planted about growing and changing and crossing over to who you are.  (brilliant title on so many levels, I think) And when you close the book, you will again hate the idea of waiting a full year for the final book in the trilogy! What a LONG wait!

Now time to let the 2 girls fight over who gets to read it next:-)

(And for those of you who haven't read MATCHED, I would HIGHLY recommend both of these!)

Ally Condie has a great blog tour with more insights into the trilogy. The tour posts are listed on her site.

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