Reading/Interest Level: Intermediate, Young Adult
Author: Lynne Rae Perkins
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Criss Cross is the story of several young teenagers whose paths cross over the course of a few months. Hector, Phil, Debbie, and Lenny are neighbors who like listening to their favorite radio show together. Debbie meets Peter through a housekeeping job. Hector meets Meadow and Russell in a group guitar lesson. This group of teenagers learn about friendship, growing up, and love while breaking the rules, saving lives, and finding themselves at the same time. Criss Cross focuses on the small moments that make up the people we become.
The descriptive language, similes, metaphors, and figurative language that Lynne Rae Perkins uses in Criss Cross makes each character come alive for the reader. Every new chapter is the chance to step into a different character’s shoes. For example, Hector talks about how Russell's thoughts were probably “wandering through his head like lurching strangers on a moving train.” This Newbery Award book may be difficult for readers who prefer storytelling and plot over prose, but its simple message and insight to young adulthood will be appreciated by a more subtle audience.