Brave, passionate, and intelligent, Cassia is one of two main protagonists in Crossed, arguably with the most dramatic transformation throughout the story. In the trilogy's first installment, Cassia was an ordinary, complacent member of the Society, excited to be sorted and Matched with a life partner like almost all citizens. As she became aware of the Society's fallibility and cruelness, her determination to fight back against it grew. Now, in Crossed, she is more daring and restless than before, risking her Society status and, at times, her life for the things she desires.
Cassia is stubborn, refusing to believe that the blue tablets Xander gave her in Matched are in fact poisonous. She's also naive relative to the other characters, having spent her life in the Society's care. This is evidenced in little things, like not knowing about dancing, and also more largely by her frustration in being unable to create art the way Ky can. That she brings herself to compose small lines of poetry for and about him throughout Crossed demonstrates her development into a more original person, rather than one confined to only what the Society showed and taught her.
Ky is an Aberration, a low-status member of the Society barred from certain social privileges; a hardened, downtrodden orphan and victim of war; and the primary focus of Cassia's affection. When Ky was young, he and his family lived in the Society, but when the government suspected that his father was in league with rebels, they were reclassified as Aberrations and relocated to the Society's Outer Provinces. Ky blames his father for the Society onslaught that killed him, his mother, and his entire village, wishing his father had listened to the Society instead of defying it outright. He harbors much anger and lack of closure on this matter. He additionally feels great guilt for running from their corpses instead of carrying them the way he told Cassia he did, and much anger against the Rising for not saving him before the Society found him alone.
In many ways, Ky is a teacher for Cassia, as he is able to show her a myriad of things that were kept from her during her upbringing, like handwriting, composing original words, and dancing. He also personifies her choice to rebel against the Society, as she was originally Matched to both Xander and Ky and decided to choose the love of the latter. That she spends much of Crossed further defying the Society in order to reunite with him only solidifies this personification.
Xander is the handsome, comforting childhood best friend of Cassia, to whom she was originally Matched but whose love she rejected in favor of Ky. Though his presence in Crossed is minimal, Xander plays a key role in Cassia's indecision as to who she really wants to be with, a continuous internal conflict for her. His presence is kept alive through the papers he conceals in Cassia's blue tablets, as well as Ky's jealousy of him and the ultimate revelation that he has been a part of the Rising all along.
Cunning, mysterious, and beautiful, Indie is an Aberration like Ky. Cassia describes her as "abrupt but with an element of gracefulness about [her] somehow. I've never met anyone so direct and unashamed about trying to get what she wants" (303). Indie travels with Cassia into the Carving in the hope of finding the Rising, a goal to which she adheres passionately despite the differing goals of the others. She is brave and hardened, with a strong dislike for the Society. However, she is not without complexity. She retells the story of building a boat to sail away from the Society as though it were her mother who did it, a demonstration of her shame at having been ultimately unable to defy them. She also reveals a love for Xander by stealing a miniport and Cassia's microcard to view him and his information every night when others aren't aware of it. These traits are submerged beneath her rough exterior, however, and rarely does the reader see Indie as anything other than calculating and quiet.
Vick Roberts is a recruit on the battlefront like Ky, and one of Ky's only friends for the first half of the book. Vick and Ky have many similarities, including that Vick has also been separated from the girl he loves, an Anomaly named Laney. In celebrating a marriage contract with her, which the Society has expressly forbidden for Anomalies, Vick was reclassified as an Aberration and sent to the Outer Provinces. He demonstrates strong leadership capabilities, though there is much for which he relies on Ky. He also harbors more hope for the reliability of the rebellion and the Pilot than Ky, particularly since it meant so much to Laney and her family. His death and therefore permanent separation from Laney in Chapter 19 represents a worst case scenario for the predicament Ky and Cassia also face as estranged, star-crossed lovers.
Naive and innocent but brave, Eli is the youngest of the characters that end up in the Carving. His parents died under mysterious circumstances from illness in Central, the Society's largest city. He looks up to Ky, Vick, and the others and relies on them for guidance. Ky and Cassia both liken his demeanor and youthfulness to Bram, Cassia's younger brother.
A farmer with little left to lose, Hunter is introduced late in the story as he buries his dead, five-year-old daughter, Sarah. He is the last of a settlement of farmers that once lived in the Carving. In the short time the others know him, Hunter proves both brave and reckless, demonstrating great anger for the Society in attempting to shatter the tubes they've concealed in the Cavern. He is, however, also a man of his word, aiding the others to the last moment in reaching the Rising.
Ky's biological father
Appearing only in flashbacks, Ky's biological father was a rebel involved with the Rising, and was in line to be the next Pilot. He caused his family's reclassification to Aberration status when this was discovered. Ky recalls that for him, enough was never enough; to teach one child to write was not enough when he could teach the whole village, as one example. He provided Ky with a great many bits of wisdom and knowledge, teaching him to write and wire. He died in a firing on their village by the Society that killed everyone except Ky.
Ky's biological mother
Appearing only in flashbacks, Ky's mother was a peaceful woman who understood the temporariness of things and didn't try to change it, demonstrated best by her hobby of painting pictures with water on rocks that would quickly dry up. Her placid nature stands in stark contrast to her husband's rebellious one. She died in the firing that destroyed Ky's village.
At the village of recruits, Cassia learns of Ky's whereabouts from an unnamed boy who eventually runs with her and Indie to the Carving. Little information is given about him, other than that he is found dead outside the Cavern, having scratched at it until his hands bled and then ingested the blue tablets that Cassia gave to him.
Crossed Questions and Answers
The Question and Answer section for Crossed is a great
resource to ask questions, find answers, and discuss the novel.