Parents' Guide to

Criss Cross

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 10+

Lyrical tale of small-town teens in a '60s summer.

Criss Cross Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 11+

Beautifully written. So why isn't it likable?

This book is definitely what Common Sense describes it as-depth with no plot. This book is beautifully written, with a lot of truth, morals, and values tucked in. Yet it's virtually wasted, because no middle schooler is going to get past about Chapter 5. The book is hard to follow, and weird at times. The end is less then satisfactory, with a very real-life-and depressingly boring-interpretation of middle school relationships. The only thing my daughter-and me, too-liked about it was two quotes, the one on the cover (she wished something would happen, something good, to her etc), and the one on the back (she was thinking the grass really could be greener on the other side of the fence. It depended on who was standing in the grass. Maybe you had to go take a look). Overall, not a good choice. As an adult, you might find it valuable, but no kid will get through it.

This title has:

Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
age 17+

Didn't like, but prove me wrong

I feel dumb, because I am a teacher and should be on board with medal winners--but I didn't like this book at all. It was slow, dull, and lacking in much culmination of anything--which I believe was by the author's design, making it worthy of deeper understanding. Still, though I did sense philosophical value worthy of some discussion, it was obscure and not something I'd be interested in analyzing and discussing with kids; there are much better books to read for these purposes. I do not see why it was worthy of an award at all, much less publication, BUT I have been proven wrong before about art. Sometimes things are not visible in art with the first experience of it, so I would be open to learning why others like it so much and be persuaded to the opposite opinion.

This title has:

Educational value

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3):
Kids say (9):

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.

Book Details

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