“Criss Cross” by Lynne Rae Perkins

“Criss Cross” by Lynne Rae Perkins is a fascinating Newberry Award Medal book that captures the relationships and experiences of a group of teenage friends.

What I enjoyed most about this book was the excellent character depictions. Perkins reaches deep into her characters and shows us their feelings and dreams. For an example of this, I will quote one of my favorite portions of the book:

“He waved to a couple of girls he knew, across the street. Their lips were shining, their arms were folded in front of them, sheets of hair swayed gently behind like a hypnotist's pocket watch, in a way that related to how they moved as they walked. They were changing from caterpillars into butterflies. Hector felt himself changing, too, but into what? Not a butterfly.

All he could think of was a dog. Friendly, loyal, with shiny eyes. They're changing into butterflies, he though, and I'm changing from a puppy into a young dog. Could that go anywhere?”

“Criss Cross” is characterized by such rich descriptions, both of scenes and of characters. Perkins skillfully develops the story in subtle, pastel moods that are easy to visualize. In addition, she employs some very unique writing methods. For example Chapter 22 shows the same scene from two different points of view. The chapter consists of two columns, the first one showing a scene from the one character‘s mind, the second depicting the same scene from another character’s mind. This marvelous omniscient viewpoint allows the reader to see both characters through the other’s eyes and make connections between the two different minds.

The book’s plot isn’t overly exciting or unique, but this is because “Criss Cross” has its own unique aim. It isn’t a book that needs a plot, because it’s about real life. Reading the book feels like watching a slide show where each picture comes into view, rich and vibrant, before floating away. It’s easy to see why “Criss Cross” won the Newberry Award Medal, for it offers a memorable experience to all who read it.

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Inkweaver Review 2008-03-13T15:15:00-05:00

8 replies so far. What are your thoughts?

Anonymous said...

The Best Book Ever

NathanKP said...

I'm glad that you enjoyed it.

Thanks for commenting.


Anonymous said...

my friend read it not me but i think i might cause she said it was a really good book

Emma said...

I thought it was a good book but had very little plot. I'm doing a book report on it and I find it very hard to write about the plot and setting, and it's also very hard to say who the main character is because there are so many. It was strong writing, but I got bored of it and am surprised it won a Newbery.

Emma said...

I have read many books that are better

Anonymous said...

I dint think that review was accurate at all...the book went no where and i didn't get the plot line.

Cheri said...

I appreciated the experimentalism, but it was really rather dull and felt like a waste of time. I would not recommend it, let alone give it an award, except as a study in form and philosophy.

sasha said...

this book is shit