“Wanna go to the movies?” he asked.
No one had ever asked Debbie this question before. She had imagined, often, being asked this question, but not by Lenny. He was the wrong person. Wasn’t he? She had never felt that way about him.
His question caught her off guard, and she didn’t know what to do with it. The part of her that was open to the universe was facing in another direction just then. She felt disoriented and uncomfortable and there was Lenny, waiting for her to say something back.
“I think it’s better if we’re just friends,” she said.
To her relief Patty arrived with a lighting bug. As she flicked it into the jar, Lenny said to her, “Do you wanna go to a movie?”
“Okay,” she said, “What movie?”
Debbie wasn’t sure what had just happened. She didn’t know if she had gotten out of an awkward situation or invented one. Or missed an opportunity. She felt an impulse to say, “Can I go, too?” Instead she handed Patty the jar and said, “Can you hold this for a while? I’m going to go catch some.”
But when she had walked away into the darkness, she just stood there.
Criss Cross is Lynne Rae Perkins’ Newbery Award winning story of Debbie, a girl waiting for something good to happen in her life, and Hector, a boy who decides to take up the guitar. Through the course of the story, both make decisions, some significant, some not, which decide the course that their lives will take.
I felt like the story started of fairly slowly…I wasn’t sure where it was going, or if it was going anywhere at all. It was more of a slice of life type story, which is, of course, how life mostly feels, especially at 14. Criss Cross seems to be the antithesis of the type of story where houses burn down, siblings and friends die from cancer, parents divorce or suffer from alcoholism. This is more of an average story, more the kind of story things that happen in reality than so many young adult stories. About half way through, I felt like the story really hit its stride…not that a lot more happened (though some things did), but just that the slices of life that sometimes intersect, sometimes miss, are more poignant in the second half.
I would recommend Criss Cross to teens and tweens, and to any adults who enjoy young adult fiction. I very much enjoyed it.