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CRISS CROSS by Lynne Rae Perkins Kirkus Star


by Lynne Rae Perkins

Age Range: 12 - 16

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 2005
ISBN: 0-06-009272-6
Publisher: Greenwillow

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 mélange 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)