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Grade 8 Up–From the dramatic opening scene, in which three teens driving across the New Mexico desert in a blinding rainstorm hit something on the highway and go back to investigate, to the satisfying conclusion, when they resume their overdue spring break, this book is a gripping page-turner. Fourteen-year-old Lucy Martinez, her 18-year-old brother Jamie, and Jamie's friend Kit are on the way from their Kansas home to spend their vacation with the siblings' father in Phoenix when the accident occurs. Expecting to see a dead animal on the road, they are horrified to find a dead girl close to their own age. The nearest resident is Beth, a middle-aged, somewhat reclusive artist who summons the local sheriff and allows Lucy and Kit to stay at her house while Jamie, the driver, is taken into custody. As the investigation progresses, they learn that the girl was clearly dead before being placed on the road. Although the teens are now free to go, Lucy is determined to stay and try to discover more about the victim. She insists that Kit accompany her on a wild and eventually dangerous journey in pursuit of clues leading to a local man whom she becomes convinced is the killer. Although at this point the plot becomes somewhat improbable and filled with convenient coincidences, readers are so caught up in the story that suspension of disbelief is easy to achieve. Subplots involve a mild romance between Lucy and Kit and a more intense and far-more-troubling one between Jamie and Beth. A great choice for booktalking to middle and high school students.–Ginny Gustin, Sonoma County Library System, Santa Rosa, CA
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Gr. 9-12. While driving through a desert rainstorm, 14-year-old Lucy, her older brother, Jamie, and his friend Kit hit something in the road. In the blinding rain, they find a dead girl on the highway. Beth, a prickly sculptor in her thirties, calls for help from her nearby home and agrees to shelter the teens until the investigation concludes. The teens learn they didn't kill the girl, but Lucy feels a responsibility to uncover the anonymous victim's name and story. The ensuing mystery is suspenseful, but it isn't as developed as the jittery relationships between the characters. Beth and Jamie flirt and sleep together; then Kit kisses Lucy. Lucy's narration sometimes alternates shakily between the voice of a teen and that of an adult looking back. Still, Broach explores with acute psychological insight the connections between pivotal events and the meaning found in the smallest human exchanges. Like Garret Freymann-Weyr's Stay with Me (2006), this provocative, often beautiful novel, from the author of Shakespeare's Secret (2005), examines identity, responsibility, intimacy, and the charged, blurry divide between teenagers and adults. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
I have enjoyed Elise Broach's books, starting with masterpiece. I love the art history and her stories. Desert Crossing was not only entertaining but fun! Keep them coming!Published on February 11, 2012 by Debbie Williamson
Wow! This was a very good book! :) If you like, murder mysterys this is a perfect book for youuu! :) loll. it was great i just couldnt put it down! Read morePublished on January 10, 2009