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Criss Cross

Criss Cross

3.2 100
by Lynne Rae Perkins, Danielle Ferland, Christina Moore
     
 

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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:
9781419394508
Publisher:
Recorded Books, LLC
Publication date:
05/05/2006
Edition description:
Unabridged
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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Criss Cross 3.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 100 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is the 84th Newberry Medal Winner. I believe it stays true to the values of this prestigous award. Simply put, I loved this book as I did all of the others. This book gives teens the insight to life and love. It gives me the opportunity to discuss our thoughts and favorite passages with my daughter. An excellant way to cultivate my realtionship with my children.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I am a very picky reader and I found this book Fascinating. I read the whole thing in less than a week! That was how good it was.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I got 100 pages into the book and just couldnt go any further. It got way to confusing and some parts didnt even make sense! I bought this book because it had an award on it and thought it might be a great story. I am a 13 year old who is in love with reading, so i almost never give a book a rating lower than a 3, but this was just a big dissapointment to me. Please try some of my recomended books. I'm sure you wont be dissapointed.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Perkins does a great job of grabbing all ages attention with this book. Rather it be a middle school child or someone in college you can some how relate to the book. Each kid is coming to a crossroad of childhood and adulthood and are facing decisions dealing with relationships and friendships. I think this book relates more to those at ages between 11 and 16 years old, because they're going through that strange age when you're transitioning from middle school to high school. As I read the book I found myself saying 'I use to do that' and being able to relate my passed experiences with those that the characters experienced through out the book. I don't think the author could've ended the book in a better way. The inclusion of fireflies was perfect considering that when I looked for a symbolic meaning I found that most of the time only the adults glow. When Perkins said, ¿The lightning bugs knew what to do. They flew out into the night air, every last one. Blinking, ¿Here I am.¿ she was letting us readers know that through out the one summer the kids had turned over a new leaf and were ready to be presented to the adult world.
Guest More than 1 year ago
i thought this book was amazing. it is one of my favs.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
"She wished something would happen. Something good. To her. Looking at the bright, fuzzy picture in the magazine, she thought something like that." Have you ever queried for a more-than-ordinary happening in your day-to-day life? Might you have found yourself feeling hopelessly common? In Criss Cross, teenagers Debbie, Hector, and Lenny are each led on their own quests for meaning in bleak and average lives by author Lynne Rae Perkins. The threesome of drastically different adolescents who all share only a quirky radio station called Criss Cross, must discover what else they have in common as they take on their own individual struggles. Soulful Hector becomes intrigued by the guitar at a college coffeehouse, then deciding to take lessons that will lead him to a girl he loves. Debbie finds love too, in a free-spirited boy while working for an old woman. Meanwhile, Lenny is alone, loosing his childhood brilliance to his more rough mechanical side fueled by a knack in fixing cars. However, with luck on their side, and their daily meetings in Lenny's old truck to listen to Criss Cross, this group of teens just may discover the more-than-ordinary excitement they crave in the most average moments of life. Criss Cross is the one of the most thoughtful and relatable books that I have ever read in my life. This touching story by Lynee Rae Perkins captures the thinker in all of us through the struggle of three realistic teenage characters. In a mix of wishes for excitement, lost calls for love, and hope for a better tomorrow, quests for meaning begin in three mundane lives. Lenny, Debbie, and Hector come alive as the text constantly switches to show readers the parallels of the three kids, which is riveting from the first page turn to the last. Rapid-fire action and quick conversations keep children on their toes to manage the growing plot of the story. Relatable text is also a key factor in Criss Cross. Unlike other books that deliver messages with deeper meaning, Criss Cross uses realistic characters and everyday events to communicate a powerful message. This shows teens that truly anyone can find meaning where they least expect it. Criss Cross, overall, is the best read I have had in a long time. It balances thoughtful messages and life lessons with the basic factors of teenage-hood. Realistic and relatable stories win you over early on, and the character's unexpected actions keep you fully entertained. Criss Cross would truly be the perfect book for any adolescent who wants to, for just a few minutes, escape their own ordinary life to look a little further.
Myrtz More than 1 year ago
I absolutely loved this book I did find it confusing at times but then I got right back on track it was from 2 different points of view so I understand if you got confused I am also 13 and i only got confused once at the beginning.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book and I think people who done enjoy it dont understand what it is about. Its a refreshing book about life, about people, about all the little random things and coincidences that happen to us. Its also about wishes and the whole scheme of things. I found this book very enjoyable and highly reccomend it to others.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Teeanagers almost always want some sort of a change in their lives. And that is what the story is trying to say. Basically, the story simply tells you the point of view of teeangers about life, about what they want, about what they feel. To do this, the author uses Debbie and Hector, with different wishes and points of view. Also, influencing the story we have Dan, Lenny and Debbie's friend. Probably the teenage mind will undertand more that the average.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was looking for a cool new book, and Im trying to read a lot of the Newberry Honor books. WHen I read this, I liked it a lot!! It had a lot of detail, and the athor sort of makes it so there are actually 3 or 4 things happening at once! the only thing i did not like was that I got confused with some parts. I didnt really get the plot, or how the story was based... but I really did enjoy it!! Recommend it to anyone who is into realistic fiction, and i would say teenage girls in high school probably would like it more than I did.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book...even tho i read it around Easter..i dont remember much but i could truely say that i fell in love with this book...but i csnt say its my Favorite book.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Yes, this book is a slow read, but for two good reasons. 1. The reader is supposed to be enjoying a long, lazy summer - parallelism. 2. As an adult, who lives a life that wizzes by, this book brought me back to the time in my life when things were slower--I observed, enjoyed 'what if' thoughts, and 'what if' talks with my friends. Most of all it reminded me what I wondered about when I was a teen, and I appreciate that. The little details in this book is what it made it so enjoyable. My heart broke when Hector's did my heart soared with Debbie after feeling 'the perfect day.' This book is a joy!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I thought that this was a very touching book and I learned the meaning of life and love (I will not tell you what it is).
Guest More than 1 year ago
Criss Cross is a great read because it's so unique. We get to hear about a teen's journey into the land of Buddhism, feel motivated to write a haiku, immerse ourselves into great artwork, and read an entertaining coming-of-age story about a delightful friendship between two quirky characters. My fourteen-year-old daughter loved this book as much as me, her not so young mother. What could be more fun for a mother and daughter than laughing about the same book, talking about the different scenes, and bringing up our own stories that the book made us think about? I can't think of anything. Read it and you'll see what I mean.
Anonymous 9 months ago
This book is about a group of friends who all listen to a radio show together every Saturday night. The friends are Debbie, Patty, Hector, Phil, and Lenny. They listen to the radio show in Lenny’s dad’s truck. The show is called Criss Cross. It is the type of radio show you would like if you liked Mad Magazine, which they all did. Other than the radio show, they also have their own personal lives. Debbie and Patty are best friends. The boys are also good friends. I give this book 2.5 out of five stars. This book was ok. At most parts it was a little boring. Other parts were interesting, but not as interesting as it could be. I liked the plot and the characters. Criss Cross was pretty boring, but other than that it was an ok book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I like the book so far but it cunfusses me a lot i don't really get it as well as i hoped to. My teacher last year reccomened this book to me i didn't read it because i did not have the time to sit down and read but now i am in the 7th grade and now reading the book was the most stupidest idea i have ever done.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Confusing! Forced myself to finish this book thinking it would get better...it didn't!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Debbie wishes something would happen just for once. Criss-Cross is about a girl and 4 friends who laugh together and sometimes get Debbie in trouble. One of them is named Hector one of Debbie’s closest friend. His new found ambition for playing the guitar is surprisingly cool. Soon Debbie realizes how she really feels about hector. The more and more they hang out Debbie starts falling in love with hectors music and maybe even him. A book about friendship, 2nd chances, music and even love. This is a book you won’t want to put down. This was a really great book. But it was confusing, because it was talking about one thing then out of nowhere it switched to something else. But I also liked how the characters weren’t afraid to be themselves except one. Crisscross was boring in some parts but it had at parts that kept you at the edge of your seat. It also had a surprising cool ending. So if I were you I would read this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Pathetic. I read the whole book and man am i regretting it! Id rather kiss a toilet.seat.than read this book again. I'm not one to complain, but this novel is ridiculous, and doesnt make one bit of sense.
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