Ideas for Learners Promoting Literacy, Inquiry, and Meaningful Learning Experiences
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins

Book Summary

This book is told from multiple perspectives, and it's about several fourteen year olds who are trying to figure out how they should act and why they aren't yet who they want to be.  Hector tags along with his older sister to a coffee house, and decides he wants to take guitar lessons.  Debbie just wants something good and non-ordinary to finally happen.

Criss Cross book cover
Criss Cross

Book Review

This book is a unique experience.  Many of the characters hit on startlingly familiar truths expressed in new ways. Many readers can identify with the awkward uncertainty that comes with being fourteen.  In spite of its universal topic, or perhaps because it is so unsatisfyingly realistic, I found it less accessible and inviting.  The most interesting character is closest to a stereotype--the others have some interesting revelations and worries, but their personalities blur.  There is not a lot of action to propel the story; it is subtle, with characters who discover things which go unsaid.  The book is creatively crafted: one chapter is told simultaneously in two columns from two points of view; another opens with a song the character has just made up; one includes a conversational exchange in which the identity of each speaker is unknown and irrelevant. It may not be for everyone, but it offers something to think about.

Topics and Themes for this book:

  • Growing up in 1970s America
  • Changing Policies; How Changes Affect Different Groups
  • Peer Relationships
  • Discovering Yourself
  • Atypical Text Treatment (novel)

Discussion Questions for this book:

The best discussion questions, of course, are generated by and contemplated by readers. These questions are designed to avoid major spoilers about the book, and to provide a starting point for teachers, parents, and student reading groups.

**Questions coming soon**

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