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Crossing by [Fukuda, Andrew Xia]
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Crossing Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 117 customer reviews

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Length: 225 pages Word Wise: Enabled Audible Narration:
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Editorial Reviews Review

Amazon Exclusive: A Q&A with Author Andrew Fukuda

Question: Crossing is the story of Xing Xu, a Chinese teenager growing up in a small town in upstate New York. Xing is a loner who doesn’t fit in at school and when a rash of disappearances rattle the town, suspicion is immediately cast in his direction. Where did you get the inspiration for this book?

Andrew Fukuda: I worked for a few years with immigrant teens in Manhattan's Chinatown. What really struck me was how acutely they felt isolated from society at large. Shoved out of the way, really. And they shared a real disenchantment with America. One Sunday, a group of us--we were traveling in upstate New York--decided to attend church. It turned out to be an all-white church and I still remember the cold looks of suspicion and icy stares cast our way throughout the service. Just because we were Chinese, just because we looked different. Those cold stares haunted me for a long time afterward. It got me thinking: what if an immigrant teen had to grow up all alone in this kind of community? And what if something terribly, mysteriously awful started to happen in that community?

The 2007 Virginia Tech massacre at the hands of Seung-Hui Cho added urgency to my writing. I feel that Asian American males have often been dealt an unfair hand by the media, and I was afraid of a backlash, afraid that we might get typecast as raging, hate-filled, gun-toting campus killers. For weeks after, I attacked the manuscript with renewed fervor and purpose, determined to add more dimensionality to Xing's character. Realistic complexity and nuance in characters, after all, kill stereotypes.

Question: In what way is Crossing different from the typical immigrant novel?

Andrew Fukuda: I wanted to depart from what we usually see in immigrant novels: instead of cloying and clichéd scenes of family meals, flowery mother-daughter relationships, and cathartic returns to the motherland, I wanted to layer questions of identity and ethnicity over a thriller plotline. In Crossing, this immigrant theme is propelled forward by the suspense generated in the ever-deepening mystery of the disappearances. This fusion of themes was a blend of my background: as an Asian American I was able to add depth to the ethnic theme; as a criminal prosecutor, I was able to develop nuances in the mystery aspect of the novel.

Question: Did you read much while growing up? Which writers capture your attention and imagination?

Andrew Fukuda: My parents--both university professors--encouraged me and my two brothers to read early on. Books lay everywhere at home. I suppose it was only a matter of time before I became a voracious reader. I was especially drawn to stories dealing with displacement, where characters suddenly find themselves in an alien environment with all previous reference points and cultural markers gone. Early on, that meant reading a lot of Stephen King, Ray Bradbury, and Isaac Asimov. Now it means more Kazuo Ishiguro, Paul Yoon, and, of course, Jhumpa Lahiri. Reading (and rereading) her works is like a religious experience for me.

From Publishers Weekly

This novel presents an arresting, compelling look into the heart and mind of a disaffected high school freshman. Narrator Xing Xu reels the reader in early, promising to explain his notoriety, and the story behind “the disappeared children of Prattston, New York.” He’s an outsider and the only other Asian at the school is his friend, Naomi Lee. Beset by bullies, Xing’s a loner and a misfit at an upper-middle class, all white school. A few weeks into his freshman year, high school sports star Justin Dorsey is murdered. As news of the boy’s death circulates through the school, Xing barely avoids bullies by ducking into what turns out to be the music room. The teacher assumes Xing is there to audition for the school musical and discovers that Xing has talent. He asks the boy to come to school early for coaching. School settles into a routine, winter sets in and then a second student disappears. The town is jittery and the mood turns to near hysteria when a third student, Xing’s competition for the lead role in the musical, goes missing. The author has Xing’s voice dead on, and the loneliness of the boy’s life (dead father, mother working two jobs, few adults taking an interest in his life) and his bitter demeanor makes it seem probable that he knows more than he’s telling. Xing stays one step ahead of the reader, the truth of his world kept just out of reach. --This text refers to the manuscript reviewed as a part of the 2009 Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest.

Product Details

  • File Size: 231 KB
  • Print Length: 225 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 1935597035
  • Publisher: Skyscape (April 17, 2010)
  • Publication Date: April 27, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00352B48W
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #390,368 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By AlexJouJou TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on March 21, 2010
Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I selected Crossing because it had a thriller element--a mystery component. I'm not usually big on anything that is teen angsty so felt it was important to point that out up front. I went into it expecting to just tolerate the more lone silent boy who's different than his peers part and hoped that the mystery aspect would carry the novel for me. I'm not too proud to say when I'm wrong and boy was I wrong! I found that the intricate welding of outsider and mystery, written with such a skilled hand, had me trying to understand the former and figure out the latter!

The writing is beguiling. Xing Xu is one of only two Chinese students in a local all white high school. To say his life has been a bit tragic is probably an understatement. Xing and his parents immigrated to the USA illegally. His father, an artist, hawks his skills to tourists in the big city. After one such trip to the city Xing's father is killed. His mother ends up taking two jobs to make ends meet and falls into deep depression over her husbands death. Xing and his mom live in the same house but interact in a wooden and lifeless way merely exchanging casual greetings and non heartfelt appearing platitudes. To assist with money they take in boarders and their latest is an older lady who doesn't leave the house much. She and Xing develop an interesting nearly familial relationship as he entrusts her with his feelings.

At school Xing lives for the moments he spends with his friend Naomi Lee. Naomi is also a transplant from China. It would appear Naomi is bound for greatness - a superb intellect and porcelain beauty, Xing dreads the day she realizes her gifts and goes off with someone else. In spite of his best efforts to convince himself otherwise his love is unrequited.
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Format: Paperback
I feel pretty conflicted about this one.

I really loved some of Fukuda's descriptions of Xing's surroundings. The absolutely gorgeous cover art perfectly illustrates the atmosphere of this book--the quiet, melancholy COLD of it, and that's what initially attracted me to it. There's some real beauty here.

There's also some real ugliness, and I guess that is what I had trouble with. Somehow a lot of it ended up feeling...unbelievable, or too convenient, or...just too extreme. It brought me out of the story several times, thinking, "Wait...what? Really?" And I never really figured out certain characters' motivations.

And Xing himself...mostly I could relate to the things he thought and felt. Some of his actions made me dislike him a little, but they felt realistic to me at the same time. But every now and then something he would say would just seem...very out of character, and, again, brought me out of the story. The way he reacts to people always seems to be the way most likely to get him in trouble, but he's not consistent. In one instance he might be belligereant or antagonistic, almost cocky; in another, it's like he's paralyzed with fear and can't make himself speak at all. I felt like I never really got a good handle on who he is, because he never seemed fully formed somehow.

That said, I like the story Fukuda tells here, about a boy caught within a prison of circumstance, personal tragedy and low self-esteem. And I felt the ending fit. It's a very short book though, and I guess I wish maybe there was a little more to it--not that it needs more words, but maybe just better words in places.

It's definitely a haunting story though, and one that will stick with me.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I really hope this book and its author get the recognition they deserve. There are so many components that make this novel so compelling. Written in first person from the Xing's perspective, he narrates his life as an outcast freshman and his struggles with isolation as the only Chinese boy in an all white school. As he is agonizing over the death of his father, being bullied, and unrequited love, boys at his school start disappearing. The murders, a new girl at school, Xing's rediscovered talent (singing), his relationships and other threads are woven together so effectively. But beneath it all is the constant reminder that he is different and doesn't fit in. This racism becomes even more prevalent as the conclusion forces him to decide whether or not to concede to the preconceptions made about him.

This novel was so well written and original. The teenage angst was delivered skillfully and the author captures so many powerful emotions: terror, joy and acceptance, humiliation, resignation, and anger. I don't want to expound too much on the plot because I want other readers to be as surprised as I was. Like I said, I hope Crossing receives the praise it is worthy of.
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Format: Paperback Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
I ordered this book because I like whodunits -- and it is that, but much, much more. Author Andrew Fukuda writes so well, it's hard to believe this is his first novel. (And I certainly hope to read more from him!) The plot is a common one in this genre: A series of disappearances and murders are happening in a small town, and the victims are all high school students. Clearly there is a serial killer at work. What makes the book so unusual is that the detective is not a private eye, a retired cop, or a little old lady who likes to solve mysteries. He's a shy, unpopular student who exists as a wallflower on the edge of high school society. As one of only two Chinese immigrants in an all-white school, Xing (pronounced "Shing") not only doesn't fit in, he is bullied and ridiculed by his classmates, while many of the teachers consider him to be stupid because he is shy and quiet. Some don't even think he speaks English. But his status as a social nobody also means people ignore him to the point that he overhears things others might miss, and puts the clues together.

This book goes beyond the mystery plot, however, to paint a painful but accurate portrait of the tribulations of high school life for an immigrant boy. It tackles loneliness, stereotyping, racial profiling, first loves, petty cliques and more -- in well-written, sensitive prose that kept me enthralled to the very last page. This is not your do-gooder "Murder She Wrote" style novel, nor is it a hardcore police drama. It's a serious, sensitive story with an ending that will haunt you long after you finish it. I know it did me. Ten Stars!
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