By Matt Berman,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Lyrical tale of small-town teens in a '60s summer.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Focuses intently on the small, mundane things in life, but really shows the beauty in them.
Positive Role Models
Characters aren't defined and are difficult to keep track of, but they seem to all be well behaved and thoughtful.
One instance of s--t.
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Products & Purchases
A soft drink brand is mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A character uses chewing tobacco, which is depicted as being disgusting.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Criss Cross is a Newbery-wining novel by Lynne Rae Perkins about small-town teens whose paths cross one summer in the 1960s. There's one instance of swearing, and a teen character uses chewing tobacco, which his friends find revolting.
Where to Read
Based on 3 parent reviews
Beautifully written. So why isn't it likable?
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Didn't like, but prove me wrong
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What's the Story?
This book is about one '60s-era summer in the lives of an assortment of very nice small-town teens. Just like a real small-town summer for teens, not very much happens. Life is pleasingly slow and languid. They listen to the radio, wonder about the opposite sex and about themselves, hang out, talk, grow a little, change a bit, come to a few understandings they didn't have before.
One boy is inspired by a college coffeehouse to take some guitar lessons in the basement of the church. A girl befriends and helps out an elderly woman. Paths cross, connections are made, or missed. It's real life, lyrically rendered.
Is It Any Good?
CRISS CROSS is an intriguing book, absolutely deserving of major awards. It has no plot, only slightly defined characters who are hard to tell apart or keep track of, no hero or protagonist or clear point of view, no action or suspense or mystery, just a touch of gentle humor. And yet ... it is a deeply lovely book, profoundly observant and wise about the little things in life that most books, children's or adult, ignore, or perhaps don't even notice. So what keeps the pages turning? Is it the gorgeous writing, the penetrating insights, the little bits of philosophy and keen observation?
It's something of a little miracle, really -- the author spends three whole pages describing a boy looking at himself in the mirror, and it's almost impossible to put down. Either this kind of thing grabs you, or it doesn't -- and for most kids age 10 and up, it won't. A few, those with a thoughtful or poetic or mystical bent, will find it enthralling.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about the many little observations and insights in the book.
How do people connect, or miss connecting?
What are the moments that push our lives in different directions?
Is there only one person out there for each of us?
- Author: Lynne Rae Perkins
- Genre: Contemporary Fiction
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
- Publication date: February 21, 2006
- Number of pages: 337
- Available on: Paperback, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, Kindle
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
- Last updated: December 4, 2019
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