Desert Crossing

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Overview

For fourteen-year-old Lucy Martinez, that moment comes one night during a long road trip with her older brother, Jamie, and his friend Kit. They’re on their way to Phoenix to visit Lucy’s father for spring break, but never quite make it. While driving across northern New Mexico during a blinding rainstorm, their car hits something — an animal, they think. But after backtracking, they find a girl, dead, on the side of the road.

With amazing insight and compelling prose, Elise ...

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Desert Crossing

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Overview

For fourteen-year-old Lucy Martinez, that moment comes one night during a long road trip with her older brother, Jamie, and his friend Kit. They’re on their way to Phoenix to visit Lucy’s father for spring break, but never quite make it. While driving across northern New Mexico during a blinding rainstorm, their car hits something — an animal, they think. But after backtracking, they find a girl, dead, on the side of the road.

With amazing insight and compelling prose, Elise Broach charts a suspenseful journey full of danger, loss, and painful self-discovery. What will happen to the lives of three teenagers who can suddenly no longer pretend innocence?

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature
Spring breaks are supposed to be full of excitement and fun! That is exactly what fifteen-year-old Lucy thought this road trip would be about. Lucy's break consisted of going to Phoenix to see her dad with her older brother, Jamie, and his best friend, Kit. Driving through New Mexico had something else in store for these three. When Jamie was driving (and drinking), he hit something. Assuming it was a coyote, they decided to stop the car and see. On the road was not a coyote--but a dead girl. Scrambling on what to do, Kit and Lucy head to a nearby house to get help while Jamie waits by the girl in the rain. Beth, an older adult, calls the cops and drives Lucy and Kit back to the spot where the accident happened. Their plans are derailed when they have to stay in town for the investigation. Meanwhile, Beth takes the three into her home. As she does, the events unfold and Jamie falls for Beth. As awkward as that might be, Kit and Lucy discover a bit of a romance too. Nevertheless, Lucy is fixated on the dead girl. She has to find out who she was; and what she does find may surprise you. Could they possibly end up in more trouble? Do they ever make it to Phoenix? Find out in this easy-to-read gripping prose. 2006, Henry Holt and Company, Ages 12 to 18.
—Kelly Grebinoski
VOYA
Fourteen-year-old Lucy Martinez is enduring a torturous road trip with her brother, Jaime, and his handsome but annoying friend Kit when their lives change in an instant. In a rare desert rainstorm, their car hits something. They do not know what they hit, but Lucy convinces her brother to investigate. The boys reassure her that it was no doubt a coyote, but as they backtrack they find a dead young woman on the side of the road. Could they have hit and killed her? Kit and Lucy drive to a nearby home to call the police, where they meet Beth, a woman whose life will become painfully intertwined with Jaime's. Upon the arrival of the police, they are pulled deeper every moment into life-changing decisions and events they never expected. This book blends several genres into a compelling, fast-moving tale. There are elements of true crime and forensics, romance, mystery, and self-discovery. The characters are realistic and the dialogue and situations ring true. There are some painfully beautiful turns of phrase invoked, as the characters are about to plunge into life changing events. Reluctant readers of both genders will find much to enjoy. The many moral dilemmas, bad decisions, and unexpected twists in the story keep the book moving at a steady pace toward a satisfying and cathartic conclusion. This book is strongly recommended for public and school libraries serving students age twelve and above. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P J S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Henry Holt, 288p., Ages 12 to 18.
—Sherrie Williams
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up-From the dramatic opening scene, in which three teens driving across the New Mexico desert in a blinding rainstorm hit something on the highway and go back to investigate, to the satisfying conclusion, when they resume their overdue spring break, this book is a gripping page-turner. Fourteen-year-old Lucy Martinez, her 18-year-old brother Jamie, and Jamie's friend Kit are on the way from their Kansas home to spend their vacation with the siblings' father in Phoenix when the accident occurs. Expecting to see a dead animal on the road, they are horrified to find a dead girl close to their own age. The nearest resident is Beth, a middle-aged, somewhat reclusive artist who summons the local sheriff and allows Lucy and Kit to stay at her house while Jamie, the driver, is taken into custody. As the investigation progresses, they learn that the girl was clearly dead before being placed on the road. Although the teens are now free to go, Lucy is determined to stay and try to discover more about the victim. She insists that Kit accompany her on a wild and eventually dangerous journey in pursuit of clues leading to a local man whom she becomes convinced is the killer. Although at this point the plot becomes somewhat improbable and filled with convenient coincidences, readers are so caught up in the story that suspension of disbelief is easy to achieve. Subplots involve a mild romance between Lucy and Kit and a more intense and far-more-troubling one between Jamie and Beth. A great choice for booktalking to middle and high school students.-Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Three teens move from innocence to experience when their spring break takes an unexpected detour crossing the New Mexico desert. Fifteen-year-old Lucy is fed up with her older brother Jamie and his best friend Kit because they ignore her and flirt with every waitress between Kansas City and Phoenix. But everything changes when their car hits something on the highway during a nighttime cloudburst. Instead of finding an injured coyote, they are stunned to discover the body of a dead girl lying beside the highway. Forced to stay in the area while police investigate the unidentified girl's death, Jamie becomes involved with an older local woman and a bewildered Lucy finds herself gravitating toward the irritating Kit. Obsessed with uncovering the identity of the mysterious dead girl, Lucy winds up on the trail of a strange man in a blue truck. Eventually, Lucy, Jamie and Kit resume their trip, having traveled much further than they ever imagined. Satisfying suspense and self-discovery in the desert. (Fiction. 12-18)
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 8 Up—Spring break has just begun for 14-year-old Lucy Martinez. She's traveling with her 18-year-old brother, Jamie, from Kansas to Phoenix, AZ, to visit their dad. Riding shot gun is Jamie's best friend, Kit. While traveling through a very remote part of New Mexico during a fierce rainstorm, they hit a bump. Jamie and Kit are convinced it was a coyote, but Lucy isn't sure and convinces Jamie to turn the car around. They find a dead girl lying on the side of the road. A solitary house in the distance, owned by an artist named Beth, has the only phone for miles. A preliminary investigation proves that the girl was dead prior to her body being dumped. Yet the girl's open, empty eyes haunt Lucy and propel her to help find the murderer. The relationship between Lucy and Kit leans toward normal, but the sexual fling between Jamie and Beth, a 30-something divorcee, stretches the line pretty thin. The tone and pace of Amy Rubinate's narration is perfect, especially when voicing the range of Lucy's emotions. Elise Broach's page-turner (Holt, 2006)—part mystery, part love story—reminds us that in the blink of an eye, encountering a detour in life's path can change you forever.—Cheryl Preisendorfer, Twinsburg City Schools, OH
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781441813572
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 6/21/2011
  • Format: MP3 on CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Age range: 12 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.37 (w) x 7.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Elise Broach is the author of the acclaimed novel Shakespeare’s Secret, as well as several picture books. Ms. Broach did graduate work in history at Yale University. Her nonfiction research and writing projects have taken her to the deserts of the American Southwest several times. Ms. Broach lives with her husband and three children in Easton, Connecticut, where she writes, edits the library newsletter, and is active in town government.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 10 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2012

    I love elise broach books!

    Ever since i started reading elise broach books i just felt like i understood them,I stared reading shakespears secreat first,but then i started reading masterpiece and i just got conected

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 27, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Reviewed by Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky" for TeensReadToo.com

    DESERT CROSSING is a teenage road trip gone wrong. <BR/><BR/>Lucy Martinez is headed cross country to her father's for spring break. She is in the backseat, her brother is driving, and his best friend is hogging "shotgun". They are driving through the desert of New Mexico on their way to Phoenix. It's dark and rainy, the guys have been drinking, and they hit something in the road. Lucy convinces her brother to turn around and check it out. When they retrace their path, they discover a dead girl. <BR/><BR/>Oh man, now what? The three teens are in shock. The nearest house is owned by an artist named Beth. She helps them out by dialing 911 and taking them in out of the rain. The police arrive and begin the investigation. Due to the presence of beer fumes in the car, Lucy's brother Jamie is hauled to jail for the night. Beth agrees to let Lucy and Kit stay the night at her house. <BR/><BR/>The teens are soon cleared of any wrong-doing when it's discovered that the girl died of a heart attack and was probably already dead when her body was left at the side of the road. Jamie is released from jail, and the three remain at the artist's house until the investigation is wrapped up. Meanwhile, Lucy can't sleep and believes she must help catch the person who left this girl on the side of the road. <BR/><BR/>DESERT CROSSING grabs the reader right from the start. Lucy's first-person narrative is real and honest. Many things complicate the teens' situation. Jamie is attracted to Beth the artist, Kit and Lucy begin a questionable relationship, and there are tense phone calls to update Lucy's parents. All are surrounded by questions about the dead girl, but Elise Broach keeps things flowing so smoothly, the pages seem to fly by.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2008

    I LOVE THIS BOOK

    This book is the best book I think I have ever read I mean I read the book 5 times already and I just got it like 2 weeks ago. I can't let go of it. If your the type of person that likes murder, adventure, and romance all in one book you just have to read it......Elise Broach PLEASE write a sequele!!!

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2008

    Two thumbs way up.

    I could not stop reading this book. It was a mix of almost everything.I finished it in one night, 12:00 in the afternoon till' 4:00 in the morning hah with breaks of course even though i did'nt want to take any :D. Anyone who likes mystery,thriller, and a bit of romance should read this. I'm sure you'll love it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 5, 2008

    Great Book

    This is a great book, you could not stop reading it, you can't stop reading because you want to know what happens in the next chapter. I recommend this book to everyone. Probably one of the best books I've ever read.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    marvelous

    i reccomend it to everyone..I hope the story continues.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted October 21, 2007

    Courtesy of Teens Read Too

    DESERT CROSSING is a teenage road trip gone wrong. Lucy Martinez is headed cross country to her father's for spring break. She is in the backseat, her brother is driving, and his best friend is hogging 'shotgun'. They are driving through the desert of New Mexico on their way to Phoenix. It's dark and rainy, the guys have been drinking, and they hit something in the road. Lucy convinces her brother to turn around and check it out. When they retrace their path, they discover a dead girl. Oh man, now what? The three teens are in shock. The nearest house is owned by an artist named Beth. She helps them out by dialing 911 and taking them in out of the rain. The police arrive and begin the investigation. Due to the presence of beer fumes in the car, Lucy's brother Jamie is hauled to jail for the night. Beth agrees to let Lucy and Kit stay the night at her house. The teens are soon cleared of any wrong-doing when it's discovered that the girl died of a heart attack and was probably already dead when her body was left at the side of the road. Jamie is released from jail, and the three remain at the artist's house until the investigation is wrapped up. Meanwhile, Lucy can't sleep and believes she must help catch the person who left this girl on the side of the road. DESERT CROSSING grabs the reader right from the start. Lucy's first-person narrative is real and honest. Many things complicate the teens' situation. Jamie is attracted to Beth the artist, Kit and Lucy begin a questionable relationship, and there are tense phone calls to update Lucy's parents. All are surrounded by questions about the dead girl, but Elise Broach keeps things flowing so smoothly, the pages seem to fly by. **Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka 'Readingjunky'

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 5, 2007

    Fantastic

    I love this book. It was so awesome. I hope everyone reads it.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted August 25, 2006

    Awsome

    I absolutely LOVE this book. It was sooo real like. U could understand it all and I've never read anything like it before. It had a mystery part, it was a thriller, a romance and it was awsome.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 1, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

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