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Criss Cross Hardcover – August 30, 2005


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Criss Cross + Kira-Kira (Newbery Medal Book)
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 337 pages
  • Publisher: Greenwillow Books; 1st edition (August 30, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060092726
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060092726
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 6.1 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #769,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Starred Review. Grade 6-9–The author of the popular All Alone in the Universe (HarperCollins, 1999) returns with another character study involving those moments that occur in everyone's life–moments when a decision is made that sends a person along one path instead of another. Debbie, who wishes that something would happen so she'll be a different person, and Hector, who feels he is unfinished, narrate most of the novel. Both are 14 years old. Hector is a fabulous character with a wry humor and an appealing sense of self-awareness. A secondary story involving Debbie's locket that goes missing in the beginning of the tale and is passed around by a number of characters emphasizes the theme of the book. The descriptive, measured writing includes poems, prose, haiku, and question-and-answer formats. There is a great deal of humor in this gentle story about a group of childhood friends facing the crossroads of life and how they wish to live it. Young teens will certainly relate to the self-consciousnesses and uncertainty of all of the characters, each of whom is straining toward clarity and awareness. The book is profusely illustrated with Perkins's amusing drawings and some photographs.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. This lyrical sequel to All Alone in the Universe (1999), a Booklist Editor's Choice, begins with one of many black-and-white drawings and a caption that reads, "People move back and forth in this area like molecules in steam." As the title and caption imply, this story reads like a series of intersecting vignettes--all focused on 14-year-old Debbie and her friends as they leave childhood behind. Perkins writes with subtle, wry humor about perceptive moments that will speak directly to readers: universe-expanding crushes, which fill the world with "signs and wonder"; scornful reappraisals of childhood things (Debbie's disdain for Nancy Drew is particularly funny); urgent concerns about outfits, snappy retorts, and self-image. Perkins adds many experimental passages to her straightforward narrative, and she finds poetry in the common exchanges between teens. One section of dialogue, written entirely in haiku, reads, "Jeff White is handsome, / but his hair is so greasy. / If he would wash it--." A few cultural references set the book in the 1970s, but most readers will find their contemporaries in these characters. Best of all are the understated moments, often private and piercing in their authenticity, that capture intelligent, likable teens searching for signs of who they are, and who they'll become. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Customer Reviews

I greatly enjoyed reading this book.
michmarr
This book was pleasant, however the characters were quite ordinary, and I did find some parts so boring I just had to skip them to get through it.
Rachel C. Suddeth
This is a lovely book and I am FINALLY pleased with a Newbery winner again.
E. R. Bird

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

71 of 79 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on April 15, 2006
Format: Hardcover
First of all, I noticed a lot of reviewers complained that "no kid would ever read this". Being twelve-years-old, I can happily prove them wrong! I read "Criss Cross", and, unlike most people who reviewed the book, actually understood why it won the Newbery Medal! Let me tell you why.

The summary on the copyright page says something like "Teens in a small town search for the meaning of love and life". This already gives you an overview of the book and explains what "Criss Cross" is truly about-if you look. I agree with several people who commented that they didn't enjoy the fact that the publishers put Debbie's "she wished something would happen" lines on the cover. This made "Criss Cross" seem like a fairytale, when really it's the opposite. A lot of books out there seem to follow one laid-out storyline throughout the book, but real life doesn't always follow that pattern. Sometimes, we can put together certain fazes of our life into a story, but sometimes, life just goes on, without major problems like death, divorce, moves, etc. That was one thing I really liked about "Criss Cross". The author made several funny and intellectual observations, and by the end of the book I was able to smile and say, "That's so true." I think the reason this product received such low reviews is that the readers were expecting a straight-forward story kind of book, instead of one that was more about life in general than a special time in life. I can appreciate that some readers might fidget, bored by the book, but I think you just have to go in reading "Criss Cross" with an open mind. I found that it was honestly written and well...what can I say, I really liked it! It's just one of those books that you can take out and smile.
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180 of 217 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on January 23, 2006
Format: Library Binding
Well it's about time! It's been a long long time since I sat down and enjoyed a Newbery winner. About this time last year I was finishing "Kira-Kira" and finding the entire episode pitiful (and, if you read the author's adult novel, just a tad over-familiar). The year before that was a year of a book that was enjoyed by many but didn't bowl me over a tad. Where were the funny Newbery winners? The ones that had the ability to elicit at least a chuckle from a tired old (27) children's librarian? Where were the "Holes" and the "Bud Not Buddy" books of the new millennium? And if they existed, why weren't they getting credited? This year the hype was circling about "Criss Cross" long before its actual win. In a kind of preemptive strike I added it to my to-be-read pile and then waited in anticipation on the morning of the official Newbery announcement. When I heard the winner's name I was not overly surprised but I was curious. "Criss Cross" was upgraded from fifth-book-I-need-to-read to WHY-AM-I-NOT-READING-THIS-RIGHT-NOW!!! I noted the fine combination of text and illustration/photograph/found object. When I read it I laughed. I laughed and I had a hard time not continually shaking my head in a kind of remembrance of my own early adolescent years. Perkins has very carefully crafted a pitch perfect tale of figuring out who you are just as you're exciting adolescence. It sounds unbearably treacly. It is, instead, sublime.

Debbie and Hector are having a time of it. Let's talk about Debbie first, though. She's fourteen and feeling particularly dull and uninteresting. She likes boys (she likes a football player boy for one) but she freezes up when she talks to them. Fortunately she has her old friends, friends since childhood, to help her out of being uncomfortable.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Amazon Customer on June 19, 2006
Format: Hardcover
I am flabbergasted by the low reviews of this book. I feel validated in my evaluation that this is a phenomenal book by reading the reviews of young people on this forum, who mostly say "FANTASTIC!"

I couldn't put this book down in the bookstore, devouring the first 20 pages before I left. I bought the book and read it quickly, amazed that such a fantastic book would be so deservingly awarded. It's hit and miss sometimes with Newbery books.

In "Criss Cross" I loved that "nothing happens," to use the biggest criticism posters have made. That's the point. If you look at the average life of a person, on a given summer, you won't likely see huge external events taking place. More likely, you'll maybe find the characters a little different on the inside. Especially if they're middle schooler.

I read "All Alone in the Universe" after I read "Criss Cross," and I loved it as well. Both books share Seldem and Debbie, but I wouldn't call them "sequels." They're more like stories about the same person around the same time. You might understand some of the quietness and details about Debbie more if you read "Universe" first, but it isn't necessary.

Perkins is a gifted author, and I'm now a devoted fan. I will definitely use her books to teach Middle School Language Arts classes, especially "Universe," which holds as its central theme the idea of friendship and what happens when your best friend finds a new best friend and you are left heartbroken. It's beautiful.
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24 of 28 people found the following review helpful By d. on January 24, 2006
Format: Library Binding Verified Purchase
I am so glad Criss Cross won the Newberry Award because the book is artful, honest,and a step away from the norm, and it works beautifully as a novel. The book takes risks with form and technique, risks that challenge and play with the readers, leaving the readers with a different sense of image that one may normally experience after putting a book away. I believe this book will encourage teens to take risks with their own writing, and also with their own lives. Pick up a guitar. Sing a song. Do something different. It's a positive book. I just finished teaching an Adolescent Literature course, and we read several award-winning books, but when you read them one after another, often times, the books tend to feel loaded with misery, which is why it's wonderful to have an uplifting book earning this award.

Teachers will love using this book in the classroom. What a fantastic book for showing their students what life was like when they were younger, yet, be a book

that feels like it's taking place today for the students who are reading it. I love the fact that both parents and teens will enjoy reading the same book. It's a delightful book that takes the readers on a funny self-discovery journey. If it was an action-packed thriller it wouldn't be this gem of a book.
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