Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines

5.0 5
by Paul Volponi

View All Available Formats & Editions

Adonis is a jock. He's on the football team and he's dating one of the prettiest girls in school. Alan is the new kid. He wears lipstick and joins the Fashion Club. Soon enough the football team is out to get him. Adonis is glad to go along with his teammates . . . until they come up with a dangerous plan to humiliate Alan. Now Adonis must decide whether he wants


Adonis is a jock. He's on the football team and he's dating one of the prettiest girls in school. Alan is the new kid. He wears lipstick and joins the Fashion Club. Soon enough the football team is out to get him. Adonis is glad to go along with his teammates . . . until they come up with a dangerous plan to humiliate Alan. Now Adonis must decide whether he wants to be a guy who follows the herd or a man who does what's right.

From critically acclaimed author Paul Volponi comes this discussable and finely wrought story of bullies, victims, and the bystanders caught in between.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Message trumps story in this chronicle of homophobia set on the gridiron. High school jock Adonis (really), a formerly pudgy kid, operates cautiously, constantly worried he'll be the next target of the bullies on his team. But they've got their hands full torturing Alan, an openly gay transfer student who, perhaps bolstered by the fellow members (all girls) of the school's Fashion Club, has started wearing lipstick and dresses to school. This is more than the football players can abide, and a takedown is planned. For Adonis, it's a no-win situation. If he outs the planned attack, he'll become a pariah among his teammates; if he remains quiet, he'll alienate his sister and girlfriend, who know Alan through Fashion Club. While the bullying issue has gravitas and Volponi (Rikers High) creates a believable atmosphere of masculine one-upmanship and pervasive homophobia, his characters are stereotypes: Alan's father is a no-nonsense military colonel, while Adonis's mother preaches tolerance and acceptance. The denouement is predictable, and Adonis's sudden location of a moral compass by story's end meshes with the after-school special tone of the narrative. Ages 12–up. (June)
VOYA - Lynn Evarts
Adonis believes he only has one line to cross, the goal line. He dreams of getting his hands on the football, making a touchdown, and doing a dance to celebrate. Little does he know that someone else who crosses a line will become an important player in his life. Alan, the new student, is obviously feminine, and he very quickly becomes the target of harassment by the jocks. The problem Adonis experiences is that his sister, mother, and new girlfriend have become fast friends with Alan and expect Adonis to protect him from his football friends. When Alan finally crosses the line and comes to school in a dress, Adonis has to decide where his loyalty lies. Interestingly, Alan is not the center of the story—Adonis is—and Volponi gives his gay-bashing story a twist by letting us see it from the point of view of someone who is honestly torn. Adonis knows the harassment and the name calling are wrong, but he also has to maintain his place within the football player hierarchy and with his father. To make things even worse, by doing so, he crosses his mother, sister, and new girlfriend. As in Volponi's other books, the reader wonders for a time on what side of the ethical dilemma will Adonis fall? This is an effective book on a very timely topic. Reviewer: Lynn Evarts
Children's Literature - Jody Little
High school senior and football lineman, Adonis, is surprised by the arrival of Alan, a new student at his school. Alan is openly gay and joins the school's fashion club which includes Adonis' sister, Jeannie, and his girlfriend, Melody. The entire football team despises Alan, and they taunt him when he wears lipstick and dresses to school. Adonis laughs with his team, yet his sister and girlfriend repeatedly defend Alan. When Adonis is put into a group with Alan for a class project, he sees a different side of Alan, one he didn't initially consider. He learns about Alan's overbearing and intolerant father, and he begins to recognize that Alan is trying to find his true identity, just like any other student their age. When Adonis learns about a cruel plan concocted by his football teammates, he must decide which side to take. Does he stand by his teammates who have had his back for years, or does he stick up for the Alan, a boy who has done nothing but attempt to be true to himself? Volponi writes a novel for young adults that asks tough questions, and challenges readers to think about their own reactions to others, particularly those individuals who may appear different in some way. Reviewer: Jody Little
Kirkus Reviews

An unsubtle and old-fashioned exploration of homophobia.

The football team is grossed out when Alan, flamboyantly effeminate, transfers to their high school (cue a relentless stream of homophobic jokes). The novel's narrator, varsity player Adonis, battling a negative body image from chubbier days, is no exception. His homophobia is nurtured by his firefighter dad and frowned on by his teacher mom and sister Jeannie, the school's Fashion Club VP and Alan's friend. That Alan, the club's sole male, is its president goes unnoticed; gender bias is beyond the one-issue scope. Alan's dad is an Army colonel and clueless bigot. Manliness here equals homophobia; the one tolerant male adult is Adonis' hippie, ponytailed English teacher. Adonis' dilemma propels the action. (Oddly, he's never teased about his name). Melody, the girl he's pursuing, believes, approvingly, that Adonis belongs to the pro-Alan faction. Adonis' football-team peers will reject him unless he treats Alan with ridicule and contempt. Chief among these one-dimensional stereotypes is Alan—kind, noble and the dullest drag queen ever to wear dresses and lipstick. Is he gay, transsexual, cross-dressing or questioning? We're never told. Nuanced distinctions of character don't exist in this curiously retro world in which no one watches Glee and gays in the military aren't on anyone's radar.

Weighed down by earnest good intentions, this tale of high-school homophobia falls flat. (Fiction. 12 & up)

School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Adonis is a football player. He's not the quarterback. He's not a leader. He's not the star. So when an effeminate transfer student named Alan starts at his school, and all his football-player friends resolve to make fun of him, Adonis is trapped. He can't go against his friends because he doesn't want to be ridiculed, too. Things become even more complicated when his sister Jeannie and girlfriend Melody form a close friendship with Alan, who eventually starts coming to school wearing lipstick and calling himself Alana. When they are paired together in a school project, Adonis gets to know Alana better and realizes that, while he's still struggling to discover his identity, he's not the monster that his friends make him out to be. When a foul plot to humiliate Alana during a public fashion show is revealed, Adonis has a decision to make. Does he say nothing? Or does he stand up for what he thinks is right? While this title highlights the relevant issue of LGBT bullying, Adonis's crisis of conscience comes a little too late. He spends the early half of the story thinking that Alan is disgusting and wrong, so much so that his redemptive turn at the end seems almost out of character. However, focusing neither on Alan/Alana nor the true bully, Ethan, the story convincingly presents the perspective of the guy uncomfortably stuck in the middle.—Ryan Donovan, New York Public Library

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
810L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Meet the Author

Paul Volponi is the author of the critically acclaimed young adult novel Black & White. From 1992 to 1998, he taught adolescents on Rikers Island in New York City to read and write. Mr. Volponi worked at a day treatment center like Daytop teaching students and helping them prepare for the GED. Mr. Volponi lives in New York City.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Write a Review

and post it to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews >

Crossing Lines 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I start writing this review, I should add that I am a girl that grew up with a gay uncle and an anti-gay step father so I have seen both "sides" of the gay "issue". I think that this is a story every teenage boy should read because not only is a well written story but a lesson that all boys should learn if not understand. Now, I know that in a perfect world this book would become famous and all boys would read it and suddenly a generation of accepting people would emerge from this. But lets be realistic for a moment, thats not going to happen. All that I can hope that you (most likely a boy I hope) take from this is that they are not inferior to you in anyway. Or any other thing like that. Please, read this book for yourself if not anyone else, you will be a more accepting, advanced man versus all of you brainless jock friends.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I really liked that it explored both sides: thes sides of being who you are and who everyone thinks you should be. Alan is gay and Adonois is a varisity football player and is dating one of the cutezt girls in school. Alans dad is an army colonel and dosent want his son to act like a girl. When Adonis learns of a plan that could hurt Alan, he has to choose between helping the football players, or helping Alan.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Adonis is a popular football player with an attractive girlfriend. That's what he considers normal - until he meets Alan. Alan is the new kid, and it is obvious from the start that he is different. It turns out that Alan is popular with the girls but in a different way. He has a keen interest in fashion and all things feminine. When Adonis's sister and all of her friends create an official high school Fashion Club, Alan becomes a loyal member. The girls accept him with open arms, and with their encouragement, Alan feels comfortable enough to reveal his true self. Alan has been the victim of taunts and teasing since the day he arrived, but the harassment escalates when he shows up one morning wearing bright, red lipstick. Adonis is shocked and confused that Alan would be so bold. He observes from a distance as his fellow football players make life miserable for Alan. Life becomes a delicate balancing act for Adonis as he tries to let his guy friends think he despises Alan as much as they do, while at the same time attempting to please his girlfriend and his sister, who are staunch defenders of Alan's right to display his transgender lifestyle. The day Alan appears at school wearing a dress, the administration makes contact with his father. Finding no support at home, Alan moves out and the girls step up to offer him a place to stay along with their continued support. Although Adonis tries to remain on neutral ground about the whole situation, he finds his feelings changing. When he learns about a plan to humiliate Alan, Adonis fears he will need to take a stand on one side or the other. Paul Volponi's novels are always a success with my students, and CROSSING LINES is sure to be popular, too. Bullying, especially when it involves gay and transgender topics, is an increasing problem with teens today. CROSSING LINES will help those struggling with their own sexual identity and how it frequently changes relationships. The story will also help teens struggling with how to interact with fellow students whose lifestyles differ from their own. I'm very excited to have this one in my classroom collection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was an excellent book that I read for a project in English. It is about a boy named Adonis who is a high school jock football player with everything going right. He has a pretty girlfriend, he is popular with the guys and is starting for his second year on the football team, except for one thing. There is a guy named Alan who is a homosexual and is constantly expressing it, whether it be his choice in color of lipstick, the dresses and blouses he wears, his interest in the fashion club or his long, feminine blonde hair. Adonis' teammates and friends are constantly teasing Alan and giving him a hard time, while Adonis' sister and girlfriend Melody and other members of the fashion club are open and supportive to Alan and his cause. Adonis is constantly having to balance on both sides between receiving his girlfriend's approval, and having to match his friends and teammates hate towards Alan. Throughout the story, Adonis tries to remain neutral about the whole situation until he finds out that his teammates are planning to publicly humiliate Alan in front of hundreds of people. Will Adonis do what is right and defend much hated Alan, or follow the crowd? Read the book to find out!
mw311 More than 1 year ago
A superb ant-bullying book. The narrator (Adonis), a macho high school football player is forced to be around Alan (the only boy in the high school fashion club who eventually dons a dress and lipstick)because he is a close friend of Adonis' sister. Adonis must keep the nastiness coming towards Alan for the sake of his football friends' approval. But when things go to far, will Adonis cross the line and come to Alan's rescue? Simply, Paul Volponi's best YA novel yet.