Wendy's Reviews > Crossed

Crossed by Ally Condie
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Aug 24, 2011

it was ok
bookshelves: 2012-reads, audiobooks, cpl, dystopian, young-adult

This book took me forever to read, partly because I was having library issues and partly because it was kind of a snoozefest. What follows are some issues I had with it and a summary if you just want to know what happens without reading it...


THE POETRY
Now, I like poetry. But not as much as the author apparently does. I have trouble imagining, for example, that even in some world where poetry is banned it would be valuable enough to trade electronic equipment for, or that it would be the key to a rebellion.

I think putting poetry in your work of fiction is just a tough thing. Here's my rules for doing it:

1. Poetry must be relevant to the story.
2. Relevance must be clear or clearly explained at some point.
3. Whether you use someone else's poetry or write your own, it had better be dang good poetry.

This book kinda fails at all three.

A line here or there is taken out of context from some poem and pumped up to a grand status. We're expected to think it's meaningful, deep, and/or beautiful just because a character likes it. Or even worse, just because it's poetry. There's a fine line and a great divide between good and bad poetry and I'm afraid the stuff in this book is often on the wrong end of things.

If I'm reading a whole collection of poetry, first of all I'm more in the mood for the stuff, and second of all I'm more forgiving if I read a clunker. I just think, well, that one didn't resonate with me. But thrown into a book, the stakes are raised. (To see poetry, both new and old, done right in fiction, I recommend A Ring of Endless Light.)

THE EVIL SOCIETY
It's just not that scary or evil. Apparently the Society is chasing the kids throughout the book, yet it never catches them even when they are in a secret Society facility. Really?

Also I'm not sure what all they are up to. Maybe there's more going on than I realize. But if the big thing the Society does is narrow down poems people can read to 100 then maybe they're just doing everyone a favor. Seriously, I have more reservations about the rebellion and what they're up to after reading this book.

THE LOVE TRIANGLE
How is this even continued when one of the dudes in the triangle is absent for most of the book and the other two are not together for much of it? I dunno. But this is a YA cliche I'm getting right sick of, as is...

THE ALTERNATING FIRST PERSON NARRATION
Back and forth between the boy and girl works OK when they are apart, but once the two characters are together it becomes very difficult to remember which "I" is speaking/acting. I had to glance back several times to remember whose head I was supposed to be in when I found things not making sense. If either character had a stronger voice, that might have made it better!

DUMB CHARACTERS
Cassia especially just makes me crazy. I get that she's probably supposed to be a bit naive and all, but there's major hints about things that she is just so clueless on. Like she doesn't see something's up with Indie? Or that no one reacts to her precious blue tablets the way they should? Or that not all poetry is good poetry? Come on, Cassia!

THE PACING
It's just SOOO SLOW. Painfully slow. Then there are times when the characters double back. They spend a ridiculous amount of time going through old papers like they will find something really meaningful. A page of random, life-shattering poetry, perhaps? But then at the end everything is rushed forward to sum it all up and get us ready for the next book.

THE TITLE
Who got crossed here? I kept waiting for some huge betrayal but nothing much showed up. Is it about them crossing the canyons? I don't really know.


Here's my brief summary if you want to hit the FF on this trilogy without investing the time in book two.
(view spoiler)
Definitely not making my list of 100.
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Comments (showing 1-6 of 6) (6 new)

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message 1: by Lidia (new)

Lidia When you finish, email me what happened in this book so I don't have to read it, lol Thanks!


message 2: by Lidia (new)

Lidia Please.


Wendy OK :-) (I would have done it even if you didn't say please.) It's pretty meh/forgettable so far, and you didn't even like the first one as much as I did. So yeah, you'll probably want to skip it.


Wendy Ugh, so the library I had borrowed the audiobook from changed their policy for reciprocal card holders (me) and I had to return it unfinished. Then my local library got it on loan for me but I ran out of time to pick it up. Am I just destined never to finish it?


message 5: by Lidia (new)

Lidia Thank you so much for that! :) Was much more satisfying than reading the book... :)


Wendy You're welcome! I think writing it was more satisfying than reading the book as well!


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