Idgiepug’s #CBR4 Review #18: Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
One of the best things about having a kid is that I can browse the kid’s section of the library without feeling skeevy. As we stocked up on books for our spring break trip, the little pug and I looked over the Newberry Award shelves for something for both of us. He wasn’t really into anything offered there (sadly), but I picked up Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins. It’s a lovely book about being and becoming a teenager, but I wonder about how it would rate with a “real” kid.
The story follows a group of kids who live in the same neighborhood and have grown up together, but who are becoming teenagers and moving in different directions now. It captures the bittersweet nature of that point in your life when you begin to realize who you are going to be and have to decide how, if at all, your childhood friends will fit into your adult world. The novel opens with Debbie, a young teenager, who wishes that something, anything, will happen to her. Of course, things do begin happening, mostly various awkward encounters with boys and a relationship with an elderly neighbor. The novel is well-written and contains cute bits of artwork by the author. I wonder, though, if it resonates more with adults who are looking back on this time of their lives with nostalgia than it does with kids who are actually in the midst of the process. The novel has a distinctly 70s feel; the girls work on getting their mothers to buy them bell-bottom pants, and all the kids gather in and around one boy’s pick-up truck to listen to a radio program at night. I can’t imagine modern kids can relate to that.
The novel is sweet and well-written, and I found it very relatable. I don’t have a lot of experience with the targeted audience for this novel, though, and I wonder how much they’d “get” the book.