CROSSED (Matched #2)
Available November 1st
Received at BEA
Warning: synopsis contains spoilers from Matched.
Ky is gone. Taken by the Society to the Outer Provinces where death is most likely inevitable. With the help of her parents as well as her Match and best friend Xander, Cassia finds work in places that will take her closer to the Outer Provinces and give her the best opportunity to try and find Ky.
When she finally puts her plan into action and makes it to Ky's camp she finds Ky has already escaped and made a run for freedom. Deciding she's come too far to give up now, Cassia follows in Ky's footsteps hoping she's not to late to be reunited with the boy who taught her to write, to question, and to love.
What Cassia learns in her search for Ky is that not everything is as it seems, with revelations about Ky himself, Xander, and the Society making her see that change to her previous world of flawless perfection is necessary, and she's going to do whatever it takes to see it come to pass.
Crossed is one of those books that despite being made of featherlight paper and ink feels indescribably heavier, the weight of what's written both considerable and memorable. The word count on each page seems to double that found in other books with similarly-sized pages, as every line printed is compounded by the empty space between it and the line following, allowing what is to be inferred from the negative space of what’s not expressly written to carry equal weight as that which is told to us directly. As with Matched, Crossed moves very slowly, the intensity not stemming from large action sequences but from the unpredictability of Ky and Cassia’s future as they try to outrun the far-reaching shadow of the Society. Crossed does have the feel of a middle book though, picking up not long after events of book one then progressing gradually along a road lined with new questions until it concludes with very little certainty. Some secrets are revealed along the way, yet we are ultimately kept in the dark in tantalizing preparation for book three.
The quietness of Matched created a feeling of intimacy as we partook in the removal of Cassia’s Society blinders, creating a delicious tension as she and Ky engaged in tiny defiant gestures that had us riding a razor’s edge wondering if or when they’d get caught. That desirable apprehension is missing a bit in Crossed, the slowness not as savory as it was previously, instead becoming a bit tedious as Cassia and Ky literally walk circles around each other for close to two hundred pages. No longer are the extended silences and still moments charged with possibility and the potential for love, but rather they are merely seconds and minutes we spend waiting for them to find their way to one another again so their rebellious feelings can return that sense of danger, placing the seductive burden of possible exposure back on our shoulders to bear right along with them.
When the inevitable reunion finally does take place we begin to remember why this world of false perfection and happiness is so interesting, with both Cassia and Ky beginning to struggle with conflicting secondary needs and wants now that their primary goal of finding the other has been achieved. We get a disturbing look at what exists outside the pristine borders of the Society, but we are also left a bit confused as to all the different factions warring with one another to the obliviousness of the Citizens. Fighting the Society in the Outer Provinces is the Enemy, someone or something we know very little about, and then in this second installment we are also introduced to the Rising, a rebellion against the Society attempting to affect change from within. All the elements to this story become just a bit muddled, our thriving connection Cassia and Ky in Matched dimming slightly as their extended separation and opposing desires for the future chip away at the solid foundation we believed them to have.
Overall, Crossed is a beautifully written story but one that should be approached with patience and the understanding that the pages will not fly by at blurring speed nor will we get all the answers we seek. By the end we find ourselves and the characters seemingly back to square one, only with a new goal and purpose heading into book three. While Crossed doesn’t hold us transfixed quite the way Matched did, it does set us up for what will hopefully be an enlightening final installment.