Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins, Hardcover | Barnes & Noble
Criss Cross

Criss Cross

3.2 100
by Lynne Rae Perkins
     
 

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She wished something would happen.

Something good. To her. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, he felt as if the world was opening. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots. He felt himself changing, too, but into what?

So

Overview

She wished something would happen.

Something good. To her. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, he felt as if the world was opening. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots. He felt himself changing, too, but into what?

So much can happen in a summer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Through narrative that has the flavor of stream-of-consciousness writing but is more controlled and poetic, Perkins (All Alone in the Universe) captures the wistful romantic yearnings of three friends on the brink of adolescence. There's Debbie, who makes a wish that "something different would happen. Something good. To me." There's Hector, who hears a guitarist and quite suddenly feels inspired to learn how to play the instrument. Then there's mechanical-minded Lenny who feels himself drawn to Debbie. The characters spend spring and summer wandering about their neighborhood, "criss crossing" paths, expanding their perspectives on the world while sensing that life will lead them to some exciting new experiences. (During a walk, Hector feels "as if the world was opening, like the roof of the Civic Arena when the sky was clear. Life was rearranging itself; bulging in places, fraying in spots.") Debbie forms a crush on a boy from California visiting his grandmother. Hector falls for a girl in his guitar class. Lenny hints at his feelings for Debbie by asking her on a date. All three loves remain unrequited, but by the end of the novel, Debbie, Hector and Lenny have grown a little wiser and still remain hopeful that good things lie ahead if they remain patient. Part love story, part coming-of-age tale, this book artfully expresses universal emotions of adolescence. Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
KLIATT
This quirky, delightful novel ambles, meanders, and strolls its way towards a plot. Told in a series of short vignettes (38 in all), the story centers on a group of 14-year-old neighbors and friends finding their way to adulthood. Their stories meet, crisscross, diverge, and then come back together again over the course of a summer. On Saturdays, the teenagers get together in Lenny's father's truck to listen to a radio show. Lenny teaches Debbie to drive a stick shift in his driveway. Hector learns to play the guitar in a church basement and tries to impress a beautiful girl he meets there. An older sister offers wise advice though she, too, is still feeling her way. Patty and Debbie discuss the merits of Nancy Drew in the middle of the night. Debbie wants something wonderful to happen. Dan, a handsome football player, veers between turning into a decent human being or a shallow, charming egomaniac. All of them are asking how they fit in the universe, whether they are controlled by destiny or whether they control their destinies. Accidents happen. Beneficial events occur. They communicate and mis-communicate. Opportunities are missed and taken. But through it all, they are growing and becoming more aware of the world around them and the excellent possibilities that await. The text is dotted with charming illustrations by the author, who has written other tales for both YAs and children (e.g., All Alone in the Universe). This is not a novel for those addicted to adrenaline, but rewards those who patiently explore the story's treasures. KLIATT Codes: JS*—Exceptional book, recommended for junior and senior high school students. 2005, HarperCollins, Greenwillow, 352p. illus.,Ages 12 to 18.
—Myrna Marler
KLIATT - KLIATT Review
To quote the review of the hardcover in KLIATT, September 2005: This quirky, delightful novel ambles, meanders, and strolls its way towards a plot. Told in a series of short vignettes (38 in all), the story centers on a group of 14-year-old neighbors and friends finding their way to adulthood. Their stories meet, crisscross, diverge, and then come back together again over the course of a summer. On Saturdays, the teenagers get together in Lenny's father's truck to listen to a radio show. Lenny teaches Debbie to drive a stick shift in his driveway. Hector learns to play the guitar in a church basement and tries to impress a beautiful girl he meets there. An older sister offers wise advice though she, too, is still feeling her way. Patty and Debbie discuss the merits of Nancy Drew in the middle of the night. Debbie wants something wonderful to happen. Dan, a handsome football player, veers between turning into a decent human being or a shallow, charming egomaniac. All of them are asking how they fit in the universe, whether they are controlled by destiny or whether they control their destinies. Accidents happen. Beneficial events occur. They communicate and mis-communicate. Opportunities are missed and taken. But through it all, they are growing and becoming more aware of the world around them and the excellent possibilities that await. The text is dotted with charming illustrations by the author, who has written other tales for both YAs and children (e.g., All Alone in the Universe). This is not a novel for those addicted to adrenaline, but rewards those who patiently explore the story's treasures. (Winner of the Newbery Medal.) Age Range: Ages 12 to 18. REVIEWER: MyrnaMarler (Vol. 42, No. 1)
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9-The author of the popular All Alone in the Universe (HarperCollins, 1999) returns with another character study involving those moments that occur in everyone's life-moments when a decision is made that sends a person along one path instead of another. Debbie, who wishes that something would happen so she'll be a different person, and Hector, who feels he is "unfinished," narrate most of the novel. Both are 14 years old. Hector is a fabulous character with a wry humor and an appealing sense of self-awareness. A secondary story involving Debbie's locket that goes missing in the beginning of the tale and is passed around by a number of characters emphasizes the theme of the book. The descriptive, measured writing includes poems, prose, haiku, and question-and-answer formats. There is a great deal of humor in this gentle story about a group of childhood friends facing the crossroads of life and how they wish to live it. Young teens will certainly relate to the self-consciousnesses and uncertainty of all of the characters, each of whom is straining toward clarity and awareness. The book is profusely illustrated with Perkins's amusing drawings and some photographs.-B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY Copyright 2005 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Debbie, from All Alone in the Universe (1999), returns in a poignantly funny coming-of-age story. Set in the town of Seldem (conjuring up "hardly ever") in the leisurely era of double-knit bell-bottoms (fully illustrated), this limns crisscrossing moments in the lives of teen friends. It begins with Debbie's yearning for something to happen. What happens is a poetic melange of sweetly ordinary moments in a summer of block parties, fireflies, warm apple dumplings, romance and social awkwardness as the characters try to "find all their pieces" and watch life rearrange itself. Told by an omniscient narrator (who may be the author), this offers multiple perspectives and diverse formats including photographs, exquisite and funny drawings, haiku and a dialogue written entirely in questions. It comes full circle as the two introductory characters, Debbie and Hector, almost wake up to each other at a summer party: "Their paths crossed but they missed each other." Written with humor and modest bits of philosophy, the writing sparkles with inventive, often dazzling metaphors. A tenderly existential work that will reward more thoughtful readers in this age of the ubiquitous action saga. (Fiction. 12-16)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780786287284
Publisher:
Gale Group
Publication date:
07/28/2006
Edition description:
Large Print
Pages:
325
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

Read an Excerpt

Criss Cross


By Lynne Rae Perkins

Greenwillow

ISBN: 0-06-009272-6


Chapter One


The Catch

She wished something would happen.

She wished it while she was looking at a magazine.

The magazine was her sister Chrisanne's; so was the bed she was sitting on and the sweater Debbie had decided to borrow after coming into Chrisanne's room to use her lip gloss. Chrisanne wasn't there. She had gone off somewhere.

Thinking she should be more specific in case her wish came true, even though it wasn't an official wish, it was just a thought, Debbie thought, I wish something different would happen. Something good. To me.

As she thought it, she wound her finger in the necklace she was wearing, which was her own, then unwound it again. It was a short necklace, and she could only wrap her finger in it twice. At least while it was still around her neck.

The article she was looking at was about how the most important thing was to be yourself. Although the pictures that went with it recommended being someone else. Looking at them together made it seem like you could do both at the same time.

Debbie checked her wish for loopholes, because of all those stories about wishes that come true but cause disasters at the same time. Like King Midas turning his daughter and all of his food into gold. Even in her own life, Debbie remembered that once, when she was little, she had shouted that she wished everyone would just leave her alone. And then everyone did.

The trouble with being too careful about your wishes, though, was that you could end up with a wish so shapeless that it could come true and you wouldn't even know it, or it wouldn't matter.

She wrapped the necklace around her finger again, and this time it popped loose, flinging itself from her neck onto a bright, fuzzy photograph of a boy and a girl, laughing, having fun against a backdrop of sparkling water.

Debbie picked up her necklace and jiggled the catch. It stuck sometimes in a partly open position, and the connecting loop could slip out.

Something like that, she thought, looking at the photo. Wondering if it would require being a different person.

In a way that doesn't hurt anyone or cause any natural disasters, she added, out of habit.

Fastening the chain back around her neck, trying to tell by feel whether the catch had closed, she thought of another loophole. Hoping it wasn't too late to tack on one more condition, she thought the word soon.

The wish floated off, and she turned the page.

Meanwhile, in another part of town, Hector's sister, Rowanne, was upstairs in her bedroom, changing her clothes or something. Hector could hear her humming, and the sound of drawers opening and closing.

He was crossing the front hall on his way to the kitchen and, as he passed the mirror, he glanced in and gave himself a little smile. It was something he always did; he didn't know why. For encouragement, maybe.

This time he smiled hello at himself just as a slanted ray of sun shot through one of the diamond-shaped windows in the front door at the side of his face, producing a sort of side-lit, golden, disembodied-head effect in the mirror. It struck him as an improvement on the usual averageness of his face; it added some drama. Some intrigue. An aura of inter-estingness his sister's face had all the time, but his did not, which mystified him because when he compared their features one at a time, a lot of them seemed identical. Or almost identical. There were some small differences. Like their hair. Their hair was different.

They both had auburn hair, but while Rowanne's auburn hair plummeted in a serene, graceful waterfall to her waist, Hector's shot out from his head in wiry, dissenting clumps.

And while both of their faces were slim, freckled ovals with a hint of roundness, Hector's was rounder. Rowanne had slipped away from her roly-poly childhood like a sylph from a cocoon, but Hector's was still wrapped around him in a soft, wooly layer.

Their eyes were blue-gray, behind almost identical wire-rimmed glasses resting on very similar slender noses. But Rowanne's eyes-glasses-nose constellation somehow conveyed intelligence and warmth. Hector's conveyed friendly and goofy. Why? What was the difference? Maybe it was his eyes, he was thinking. Maybe they were too close together. Maybe they would move farther apart as he matured, like a flounder's. Although when he thought about it, he seemed to remember that both the flounder's eyes ended up on the same side of its face. He tried to remember what made that happen, if it was something the flounder did, and if maybe he could do the opposite. Perhaps it would help that he wasn't lying on the bottom of the ocean watching for food to float by.

He definitely felt unfinished, still in process. He felt that there was still time, that by the time three years had passed and he was seventeen, as Rowanne was now, he, too, might coalesce into something. Maybe not something as remarkable as Rowanne, but something. It was possible, he felt.

Hector took off his glasses to see if his eyes looked better without them. He looked blurrier, which seemed to heighten the cinematic, enigmatic quality lent by the falling sun's sideways glance. His clumpy hair dissolved softly into the shadows, and the effort he had to make to see gave an intense, piercing quality to his gaze. Maybe corrected vision wasn't all it was cracked up to be. Maybe in ancient times, when distinct edges were unknown to many people, he would have been considered handsome. Though he might have had a lot of headaches.

The sun dropped a degree and the golden disembodied moment passed. Hector put his glasses back on and was about to turn away when a sharp jab of weight on his shoulder made him jump. It was Rowanne's chin. She had sneaked up behind him, and her face appeared next to his in the mirror. So much like his, but more. There was just no explaining it.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Meet the Author

Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is the author of three other novels—All Alone in the Universe, As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth, and Nuts to You. Lynne Rae Perkins has also written and illustrated several picture books, including The Broken Cat; Snow Music, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a Book Sense Top Ten Pick; Pictures from Our Vacation; and The Cardboard Piano. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.

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