Last night I finished Criss Cross
by Lynne Rae Perkins. I give it one thumb down. Had it not won a Newberry Award, I probably would have given it no thumbs, or maybe even one thumb up, but I've come to expect more out of a book that has earned such an award. Criss Cross
tells the story of several 14-year-olds growing up in a small town. It's told with an unconventional, rather clever, third person omniscient point of view, which is probably what earned it the award. Each short chapter was told in a different style, switching from one person to another. What I didn't like about the book was that it dropped you into the kids lives with no background, carried you along with them for a summer, and then just stopped. There was no real story curve. At the end of the book I still didn't care about any of the characters. In fact, I can hardly remember their names. Perkins has a great talent for accurately portraying the daily lives of middle class American teenagers. The problem is that I don't care to take the time to read a hypothetical documentary about a life I'm already living (or rather, have so recently lived). If I wanted a book like this, I'd go back and read my journals from 8th grade.