Remember when I read Matched by Ally Condie? I was okay with it until the very end when it became hella interesting, and then the book was over. I’ve been anxious to see what happens to Cassia and Ky ever since. I finally got Crossed from the library last week, and I dove right in. It’s possible that I was not in the right frame of mind for reading this book. I don’t really love romance novels, so I should have mentally prepared myself for this before jumping in. In my defense, I forgot that this was going to be a romance. I was remembering the part where they are fighting against the Society’s oppression, not the part where Cassia is trying to find Ky because she loves him so. Or the part where Ky is being brave and sacrificing himself for Cassia’s own good. I forgot the angsty-ness of it all. They’ve declared their love and they are teenagers, so they think about each other all the damn time. They pine, they yearn, they are totally focused on each other. This is probably appealing to a less cynical person than me. I don’t have a lot of patience for this. Cassia wants to write a poem for Ky, but she’s having trouble getting it going, and it’s HEARTBREAKING. Ky stops to carve her name into a tree while he’s running for his life from the Society. I’m sure that this is all very romantic to teen readers (the actual target audience of this book), but I find it very tiresome. Let’s take the moment that they reunite as a little example. Setup: Ky has been sent to the outer provinces to pose as a farmer until he gets blown to bits by the Enemy, so he runs away when he sees his chance. Cassia finds herself in a similar situation a few days later, and she goes after him. They’ve been running for days, and Cassia finally catches up to Ky. She’s on top of a hill and he’s down in a valley. Their eyes meet. They start running towards each other as fast as they can. They meet and it’s like NO ONE ELSE IN THE WORLD EXISTS. (Picture this in slo-mo. There is no way that a screen adaptation of this bit would not be in slo-mo.) Except that there are other people there, and it has to be awkward for them. Ky has been traveling with a kid named Eli who reminds him of Cassia’s younger brother, and Cassia has been traveling with another girl from her work camp, Indie. It’s really not surprising that Indie and Eli would become friends other shortly after this. No one can watch something this melodramatic and not bond with the other people who are suffering through it, too.
The whole book is in the same vein. Cassia and Ky spend a lot of time dwelling on how much they love each other and how great their bf/gf is and how they never want to be apart again. There’s poetry. There is a little tiff, but it’s resolved pretty quickly and easily an in such a way that they don’t have to separate for all time. They almost die a few times, but they survive. The whole thing is fine. As usual, I’m more interested in the marginal bits than the main storyline. For instance, who is this supposed Enemy that is raining hell down on the Outer Provinces? Is there really even an Enemy, or is this Society’s convenient way to dispose of Aberrations and Anomalies? This seems more likely to me since they’re not even giving the kids (no adults out here on the front lines) real guns to fight back. Nor are they sending actual soldiers. Also, we find out that there is a rebellion. How many spies does the Rising have in Society? How organized are they? The brief time that we get with the Rising makes me think of the Rebel Alliance of Star Wars fame. I hope that it turns out that way. I also want to know what happens to Hunter, the farmer living outside of Society’s iron fist. Obviously I will have to read the next book in hopes of finding these answers. Next time I will gird my loins for the teen puppy love first, though.