Summary of Chapter 13
Ky, Vick, and Eli trek further into the canyon. Ky tells them how the original Anomalies in the Carving chose their statuses in lieu of citizenship when the Society took control of the land. The Society eventually used their presence to scare citizens from running away lest they fall victim to heinous crimes when they came across the Anomalies, although in reality the Anomalies were not necessarily fearsome. Ky says that his father never brought him and his family out there because he deemed the lack of resources too dangerous. But now, Ky plans to find the Anomalies and trade information for goods so that he can get back to the Society and get a message to Cassia.
They eventually come upon a recently abandoned village. As they observe the empty buildings, Ky carves Cassia’s name into a lone tree by the stream. Evidence shows that whoever inhabited the town left in a hurry. Ky reflects momentarily back on stealing Xander’s red tablets when they were young. Eli points out that the villagers would’ve stored their resources somewhere that water levels can’t reach before leaving. The three eventually find a set of caves high up in the canyon walls. Inside are dozens of cases and containers. One contains wires and explosives. Others have food. One has inflatable plastic boats. In a separate room in one cave, Vick finds maps. They observe on one map that the canyon leads out to plains and mountains, beyond which is a Border Province. They decide to sleep in the cave for the night. At dawn, Ky steps out of the cave and notices a light on in one of the houses down below.
Summary of Chapter 14
Cassia spends the night awake, thinking about how she is no longer a citizen of the Society. When Indie wakes, they begin climbing the canyon wall. As they decide who should carry what, Indie admits that she didn’t have anything to hide on the air ship when Cassia did; she was trying to gain Cassia’s trust. Cassia gives her a few of the blue tablets, and they begin climbing.
They climb up slowly, with great care. At one point, Indie nearly falls, bloodying one of her legs, but manages to regain herself. As they climb, Cassia thinks of the poem that Ky gave her as a birthday gift, which talked about a heron diving and crossing a border. When they finally reach the top, they are horrified to see the aftermath of a firing. Dead bodies and ash litter the ground in every direction. Indie says that they’ve probably been dead for more than a week. The two run away, leaving the bodies behind.
Summary of Chapter 15
Ky, Vick, and Eli put distance between themselves and the town. While resting, they discuss the “Pilot” from the poem Ky said over the dead, and its reference to the leader of the Rising. Ky recalls out loud how his father used to disconnect the village port and hold meetings with their whole village. They were gathered for one such meeting on the night that a firing killed them all. Ky had been up on a nearby plateau waiting to watch the rain come down. Vick calls Ky lucky, saying that luck is all he believes in, despite the Society’s discouragement of it.
Later that evening, in a cave for shelter, the three come across murals of ancient paintings and carvings. Eli is amazed. One of the illustrations reminds Ky of the morning the Society took him from Oria Province. He recalls that the Officials had come silently to take him, but he’d fought back violently, and Aida, his adopted mother, had begun to scream as they removed him from the house. And then Cassia came screaming across the lawns for him. Ky is afraid that despite her promise, she’ll forget about him.
As they lay down for sleep, they go over what they each took from the caves above the village. Vick reveals a series of identical pamphlets. Ky reads one and finds that it’s a history of the Rebellion in the Society. It tells of the Society removing the majority of culture from the country in the form of the Hundred Poems, Songs, Stories, etc., in order to focus all their efforts on physical health, primarily eradicating cancer. They did not approve Tennyson’s “Crossing the Bar” for one of the Hundred Poems, which speaks of a Pilot who is said to lead the Rising and the crossing of the “bar” back to the way the Society used to be. The pamphlet claims the Rising now exists in all parts of the Society, although it remains strongest in the Outer and Border Provinces.
Vick admits that when he first heard Ky say Tennyson’s poem in the river at the book’s opening, he thought Ky was trying to tell him that he was part of the Rising. Ky corrects that he is only out in the Carving to get back to Cassia. While the other two sleep, Ky carves a compass into the rock, thinking of her. He falls asleep and has a nightmare about Cassia reuniting romantically with Xander. Upon seeing his distress, Vick wakes him.
Summary of Chapter 16
Parallel to Ky, Cassia wakes from a dream of reuniting with Xander. In spite of herself, she begins to cry, feeling fearful, wondering if Ky is dead and her efforts are meaningless. She believes herself to be sick, which comforts her, as it explains her irrational emotions. She finally gives in and takes a blue tablet, feeling exhausted and malnourished. She notices a small bit of paper in the compartment where the tablet had been. It’s a piece of information about Xander that Cassia would’ve learned on her microcard once upon a time. She opens the other tablets—although she doesn’t take them—and finds similar pieces of paper with more information about Xander. She is surprised to learn that his favorite color was red, not green, as she’d thought. Feeling invigorated, she steps outside as Indie continues to sleep.
As she walks, she comes across an artificial wall meant to look like natural rock, presumably built by the Society. There she finds the boy with whom she and Indie ran across the desert to reach the Carving. He’s dead on the ground, his hands bloodied from what appears to be attempts to get inside the artificial wall, which Cassia assumes is actually a door. Indie finds Cassia and the boy’s body and says that they should move back into the other canyon where there is water and no sign of the Society. Cassia notices that the wasp nest in Indie's bag is untouched and comments on it. This puts Indie off, which worries Cassia. They climb back over the canyon wall and use a rope to get back down into the canyon from which they originally came. Cassia sees half of an unfamiliar footprint solidified in the mud and feels hopeful.
Summary of Chapter 17
Ky, Vick, and Eli climb out of the Carving. As Vick manually catches a fish in a nearby stream, he tells the other two that he’s from Camas Province, where the mountains are bigger. That night, they go back into the Carving to light a concealed fire and cook the fish. Vick asks Ky if his parents were Officers, which Ky laughs off. Vick admits that his own father was. Eli tells them that his family got sick and died in a medical center in Central, and that he, as an Aberration, was sent to the villages. Ky finds this highly unlikely, but Vick seems less surprised. Eli then shows the other two what he brought from the caves above the Anomaly village: two large books, one of which is a very old children’s book. The three read the stories together until Eli decides it’s time to sleep. Once he’s out cold, Vick tells Ky about a girl he loved back in Camas named Laney. She was the one who told him about the Pilot. He asks Ky to carve her name into a piece of wood, which Ky does as they talk. Vick admits that Laney was an Anomaly, and that they celebrated a contract together (the Society’s equivalent of getting married). He’d found a beautiful rainbow fish in the water one day and interpreted it as a sign that he should contract with her. When the Society found out about it, they took the two of them away, separately. Vick was brought to the Outer Provinces. He admits to Ky that when Ky said the Tennyson poem over the dead body in the river, he thought Ky had come to rescue him, as he expected his militant father to send someone to do. Vick hopes that Laney and her family ran away before they were captured. Ky finishes the carving of Laney’s name and gives it to Vick. Vick thanks Ky for getting them this far, gratitude that Ky reciprocates.
Summary of Chapter 18
As they walk through the canyon, Indie notices Cassia weakening, but Cassia insists that she’s fine. She comes across Ky’s carving of her name in a tree and feels hope. They come across a small apple orchard and Indie climbs in to get food. Cassia protests, saying the blue tablets will provide enough sustenance, that she already took one. Indie is aghast and tells her the blue tablets are poisonous and not to take anymore. She fills Cassia’s bag with apples and tells her to eat one immediately. Cassia is frustrated because she doesn’t believe Xander would’ve given her something poisonous. Indie insists that Cassia should rest, but doesn’t push back when Cassia refuses.
Farther along beyond the settlement, Cassia hears but does not see footsteps indicating that they are being followed. Indie, hearing nothing, attributes this to Cassia’s poor health status. As night encroaches, the sound of the follower fades. When Indie isn’t looking, Cassia opens another blue tablet but drops it and the slip of paper concealed beneath it to the ground. She is too exhausted to chase after either of them.
Analysis of Chapters 13-18
Through this section of chapters, we begin to see the importance of having part of the book told from Ky’s perspective, from hearing his experience on the day he was taken from Oria Province to his thoughts on Cassia’s actions that day and how he worries she’ll forget about him. There was much about Ky that remained a mystery in Matched, and for plot development purposes this was appropriate—learning all about the Rising, the circumstances of his parents’ death, and his specific thoughts and feelings about Cassia would’ve given the reader a window into his mind that they didn’t necessarily need yet. In Crossed, however, with Ky’s actions so far from Cassia yet so crucial to the story, and with the details of a rebellion against the Society incrementally revealed, his input is paramount.
Cassia and Ky’s simultaneous dream about Xander serves to remind the reader that Xander is still an influential part of this story. For Ky, he represents Cassia forgetting about him and choosing to live her life with the man to whom she was originally Matched, a great point of pain for Ky. For Cassia, Xander represents a simple life of love now sacrificed, and the guilt she feels for longing for him in a lonely, desolate place despite her devotion to Ky. The dream reminds the reader that there is still very much a love triangle at work here, albeit with Xander at a considerable distance from the other two.
Cassia’s discovery that Xander’s favorite color is red, not green, the way she thought it was, may be interpreted as symbolic foreshadowing. Xander was the primary focus of Cassia’s affection for much of Matched, in which the color green was a strong theme. In Crossed, the book of blue, he is less of a focal point as Cassia’s love has seemingly switched over to Ky. The fact remains, however, that the story is not yet finished, so with the trilogy’s first book focusing on green and the second on blue, it follows that the third will feature red as a prominent theme, and with it, a potentially more salient role for Xander.
There are several points in this set of chapters in which Cassia holds tightly to hope in the face of intense stress. This is particularly true when she finds Ky’s carving of her name in the tree. Despite her dim odds of survival or of finding Ky again, she remains stubborn and persistent, traits which even begin to get on Indie’s nerves. Another example of Cassia’s iron hope comes at the end of chapter 16 when she sees a footprint in the mud: “This mark is recent. I have to believe that. I have to believe that someone else is alive here. And I have to believe that it might be Ky.”
Vick’s relationship with Laney presents a parallel with Ky’s relationship with Cassia. In Matched, Cassia was the law-abiding citizen of the Society who happened to fall in love with someone outside of the law, someone who was never supposed to have a life partner. In Vick’s scenario, he was the unassuming citizen, and Laney was his Ky. She was even the one to tell him about the Pilot, the way Ky very slowly let Cassia know about the Society’s corruption from stories of his past life. This new information humanizes Vick and gives him and Ky something new in common: a longing for a girl from whom they’ve been forcibly separated.