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Crossing the Tracks Hardcover – July 6, 2010


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 680L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books; 1 edition (July 6, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416997032
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416997030
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,001,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Gr 6-8–Iris, a 15-year-old living in 1920s Missouri, is sent away for the summer by her father to become a live-in companion to a doctor's elderly mother. She has felt unwanted since her mother died when she was six, and now that her father has a new girlfriend, soon-to-be fiancée, Iris knows that there is no longer a place for her in his life. Her position as a caregiver in a rural community doesn't promise to improve her situation, but in Doctor Nesbitt and his mother, Iris finds compassion and friendship, and a place where she belongs. Thought-provoking and tender-hearted, Iris's story is one of a mature young woman who faces life with courage and common sense. Subplots include a romantic attachment, an abused and pregnant young neighbor, and a family death. This thoughtful novel offers strong character development and an engaging protagonist.Debra Banna, Sharon Public Library, MA
© Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

Set in Kansas and Missouri in 1926, this novel tells the story of 15-year-old Iris Baldwin. With her mother dead for 10 years, Iris feels unwanted and unloved by her no-nonsense father, feelings that are exacerbated when he unexpectedly sends her to rural Missouri to work as a companion for an elderly, invalid woman. Her new home offers its share of sometimes predictable surprises for Iris, who for a time feels torn between two worlds as a kind of hobo, a word—she learns—that means “homeward bound.” Though somewhat slow in its pacing and occasionally saccharine in tone, this first novel is really two stories in one that operate in sometimes uneasy and even anticlimactic parallel. That said, the book is also richly atmospheric in its setting and quite successful in its careful development and delineation of character. Grades 7-12. --Michael Cart

More About the Author

Barbara Stuber lives in Kansas City. Barbara is a docent at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art. Her first novel, "Crossing the Tracks," was a finalist for the American Library Association Wm. C. Morris Award for Best Debut Novel 2010. Her second book, "Girl in Reverse," released May 2014 combines her love of art and the written word.

Visit me online at http://barbarastuber.com

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
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I imagine many 6th grade girls would enjoy.
Amazon Customer
This is one fine, smart, witty, and very humble author.
Aardvark
I really enjoyed Barbara Stuber's new novel.
Ruth

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on August 27, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Don't you love discovering a wonderful new author? I was so mesmerized by debut novelist Barbara Stuber's Crossing the Tracks that I just couldn't put it down, even when it was time for lunch, doing the laundry, or walking the dog. I fell in love with the main character, 15-year old Iris Baldwin; when the novel opens, it's 1926, and Iris' father, a shoe-store owner and widower who's soon to remarry, hires Iris out for the summer to be a companion to a country doctor's invalid mother in rural Missouri, far away from her only friend, Leroy. Iris, who narrates the novel, lost her mother when she was five, and isn't at all close to her father. He's going to Kansas City to open a new shoe store, and clearly doesn't want her along.

When Iris arrives at the Nesbitts, nothing is as she expects. Mrs. Nesbitt has fiery eyes, gold silk slippers, and a bamboo cane named Henry. Dr. Avery Nesbitt is as kind as can be, even saving an injured dog from the train tracks. Although Iris is wary of the Nesbitts' violent and abusive tenant farmer, Cecil Deets and his nasty 13-year old daughter, Dot, she begins to settle in to life at the Nesbitts, even helping Dr. Nesbitt out when he goes to deliver a neighbor's twins. The Nesbitts try to make her feel welcome and let her friend Leroy come to visit. During the course of the novel, their friendship develops in new and more romantic directions.

But suddenly tragedy strikes, and Iris' life is turned inside out. She is forced to confront the real meaning of family; is it the people related to you by blood, or the people who cherish and nurture you?
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Mina O. Steen on July 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Crossing the Tracks has an authentic voice and a clever style, making the most of its truly engaging characters. A tale of healing through the gentle, caring presence of others, this story is both powerful and rich with detail. This is a rare find for the teen or young adult reader seeking both romance and substance. However, readers of all ages will relish Barb Stuber's portrayal of an era not so long ago - yet vastly different from today. The charm and subtleties of this story merit much thought and discussion. The general good feeling it provides is a rare pleasure. Don't miss meeting Iris Baldwin and the other "good folks" inside this cover!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Marends on October 30, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Even though I am way, way past young adult, I loved this book. As a lifetime resident of Kansas City, with a father who lived in Atchison, Ks in the early part of the last century, I could visualize everything Ms. Stuber talked about. Some of my own ancestors were "farmed out" to earn money to help support the family. Their stories and Iris's stories bear distinct similarities. I love this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mistyake on July 28, 2010
Format: Hardcover
As a first-time author of a youth novel, Barbara Stuber has shown that she knows how to write a fascinating story. Every chapter takes the reader around another intriguing bend in the tracks. It's tough to put down! The main character, Iris, has spunk and tenacity and is inspiring to girls and women of any age. In a word, get this book-- for your daughter, your sister, your friend, even your mother!
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Format: Kindle Edition
John Griffith "Jack" London, an American author, journalist, and social activist, has quoted remarkably about "HOBOs", i.e. homeward-bound;

"They were hobos, and with every word they uttered...
It all spelled adventure."

Let me be clear one thing, homeless people are not exactly "hobos", "hobos" are more interesting with lots of experience in life. "Hobos" have got a direction in their life and generally people coin "Hobo" in a negative way, but it's actually a positive word! The author, Barbara Stuber has shown that in her award-winning book, Crossing the Tracks. Yeah, I know sounds very hobo indeed, but it’s not, although, in the end, the protagonist is left as homeless and living off in some body else’s home, still, the title is so fitting with the protagonist, Iris's situation, who resided in Atchison, in Kansas, but all of a sudden we see her as a hobo living in a farm in Wellsford. This tale is so profound that it takes away your heart and makes your heart ache for Iris's journey towards her home, to where her heart belongs.

I can't thank enough to the author, Barbara Stuber, for giving me this opportunity to read and review her novel.

Iris is 15 years old, after her loving mother's death, her father, who happen to own a very luxurious and quite famous shoe-store, turns sour towards her. This man you would love to hate him, I mean seriously, which father asks her daughter to suppress her from coughing, since her cough irritated him, and since he was too traumatized after his tuberculosis-affected wife's death.
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Format: Hardcover
After Iris lost her mother to tuberculosis, she spent all of her free time working in the family shoe store. She planned on spending even more time working with her father once school was out for the summer. Much to her surprise, Iris learns that her father has other plans.

Iris is going to be taking the train to live with a doctor and his aging mother for the summer. She will be helping with patients and caring for the old lady. While she is away, someone else will be running her father's store, while he and his girlfriend spend time in Kansas City opening a new store.

Iris finds herself living in a strange town with people she's never met. It is painfully obvious that she doesn't know the first thing about housekeeping and cooking, much less about helping the doctor care for patients. Fortunately, Dr. and Mrs. Nesbitt understand and are willing to give her time to adjust. What follows is a summer filled with new and different experiences.

It is soon clear that Mrs. Nesbitt is not as helpless and ailing as Iris thought. Young Iris seems to be just what the doctor ordered. His mother and Iris become fast friends as she teaches Iris the things she missed due to the early death of her mother. Iris feels a sense of family she has always missed, and it allows her to discover just how strong a person she really is.

Author Barbara Stuber creates Iris's story using both humor and tragedy. CROSSING THE TRACKS illustrates how Iris takes what appears to be an uncomfortable and unwanted situation and turns it into the experience of a lifetime. Readers will be touched by Iris as she changes from a shy, unsure young girl into a confident young woman.

Reviewed by: Sally Kruger, aka "Readingjunky"
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