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Criss Cross

3.34  ·  Rating Details ·  7,333 Ratings  ·  1,064 Reviews
She wished something would happen. Something good. To her. Looking at the bright, fuzzy picture in the magazine, she thought, Something like that. Checking her wish for loopholes, she found one. Hoping it wasn't too late, she thought the word soon.
Hardcover, 337 pages
Published August 30th 2005 by Greenwillow Books
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Shaleh It's about the dynamics of friendship when you are growing up, and how easy it is to accidentally miss someone because you were in the wrong place.

It's about the dynamics of friendship when you are growing up, and how easy it is to accidentally miss someone because you were in the wrong place.

It's almost philosophical, but I found it very easy to read. It draws you in with a summer breeze, and at the end, you are left feeling wistful. The chapters do diverge onto strange paths, but it keeps things interesting.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jackie "the Librarian"
Aug 21, 2007 Jackie "the Librarian" rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Thoughtful girls
I LOVED this book. YOU may hate it. This story is subtle as heck, and while it resonated with me down to my toes, it is a peculiar tale that some people will throw across the room and rage to the heavens "Why in the world did THIS win the Newbery Award?"
Funny, insightful, and wry. Yes, things DO happen, although not everyone will agree with me on that. I loved the start, where Hector, 14, experiences satori at a coffeehouse concert. And now, I know what satori means. Thank you, Lynne Perkins!
Sep 12, 2007 Melody rated it it was amazing
This book won the 2006 Newbery Medal, and I am for once in complete accord with the Newbery Committee. Perkins' prose is spare and clean. Some of the passages simply glow, especially when they are highlighting the ways in which we try to communicate and fail. Characters who love each other are at cross purposes with the best intentions in the world. The characters are sympathetic and believable, there are no emotional pyrotechnics, no huge tragedies these kids have to recover from, they are ordi ...more
Well now I better understand the fuss about disappointing Newbery Medal winners. This book was boring, not memorable, and the characters did not interest me one bit. I don't know if perhaps it was the "listening" rather than actual "reading" that made it unejoyable, but this story just didn't grab me in any way.

As I struggled through the 2 1/2 discs that I listened to, I was trying to figure out why it won the Newbery. Hmmmm....
Criss Cross is a beautiful story of what it is really like to be a teenager.

It doesn't need the drama of violence or break-ups to show how fragile the world is when you are in a cocoon, waiting to be a butterfly and without a clue what your wings will look like.

It is full of small steps, some leading to new experiences and others just leading nowhere. The author's illustrations are a wonderful complement to the randomness of the story lines.

My favourite quote from the book sums up what makes it
Dec 16, 2008 Jackie rated it really liked it
A book without much plot, but with beautiful writing and convincingly drawn characters. Set in what appears to be the 70's, Perkins tells the criss-crossing stories of a group of friends on the cusp of adolescence. Constantly shifting point of view between characters suddenly awkward as they consider the possibilities before them, and the selves they might become, Perkins focuses not on the life-changing moments, but on the small events when a piece of oneself comes into greater focus. This won' ...more
Wonderfully written, and a rare example of the omniscient mode in middle-grade/YA fiction, where first-person point of view has been king in recent years, it seems. The warm tone of the narrator follows a group of middle school kids, 14 years old, and some of the adults around them, as they go about their lives in a smallish town in a time before the Internet and cell phones. The narrator has a playful side, dipping briefly into the point of view of an inanimate object, such as a necklace, or an ...more
Sep 01, 2008 Wendy rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Laurie, Aggie, Shelley, Melissa, Betsy
Shelves: newbery
I just loved this. It reminded me of the great fiction I read in Sassy magazine when I was a young teenager, before it went bust. I honestly didn't expect to like it, but it wasn't nearly as weird or quirky as I expected--I'd heard that parts of it were "told in verse", for instance, but there's just one short chapter of that and it isn't esoteric.

The setting made me think of what Laurie said about the Penderwicks--if you're going to write a book set in the forties, SET it in the forties. The wo
Nov 27, 2011 Kirsti rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
"She wished something would happen. Something good. To her." keep wishing! This was just a random collection of memories, most of them not contributing towards the story in any way. Kirkus Reviews says 'A poignantly funny coming-of-age story'. Not only did I not find it funny, most of the characters barely changed and were just as childish at the start as at the end.

I picked this book up because of the interesting cover, and the reviews and blurb on the back. I was under the impression something
Nov 10, 2014 Hallie rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I wasn't even on Goodreads when I read this, and the five stars is just a guess, but I do know I loved it. Copying and pasting (and cutting) from two LJ write-ups below.

Okay, so probably most people have read Criss Cross by now - or at least, everyone in the States, as for some bizarre reason, it STILL hasn't been published this side of the Pond, which seems ridiculous. But there's not a huge amount to say about the plot of this book, anyway, aside from its being mostly about a - or maybe two -
Nov 08, 2014 Beth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: reviewed
This may be the most fascinating Newbery book I've ever read. It manages to be about nothing, and also everything, because it's a book about the ordinary moments most people don't think to write about. It's about ordinary characters who aren't special or different, who might live next door. And so it's quiet - and yet it's not really contemplative in its quietness, because doesn't reach for much. It is content to chronicle an ordinary summer.

The prose can be beautiful, by the way. It's an achiev
Nov 19, 2007 Christian rated it did not like it
One of my little oddities is my inability to not finish a book. I know that many people don't understand this little obsession. A number of years ago, I took a children's lit class wherein we had to do a buttload of reading. I started reading Ginger Pye by Eleanor Estes because I thought it would be good to read all the Newbery books. But I utterly despised the book. My professor, baffled, asked me why I would finish reading such a horrendous book considering how many wonderful books there were ...more
Apr 27, 2008 Kathleen rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kids-ya
I loved this book. It's funny and touching. It actually reminded me of what it was like to be 14. The tag line drew me in immediately: "She wished something would happen." I definitely remember spending my teen years wishing "something would happen." I still feel that way! The author writes so simply and perfectly. For example:
"Whatever her name was, she was pretty. She had a thick, careless braid of chestnut hair, a quick smile, and dark, merry eyes. She wore some kind of a fuzzy lavender pullo
Feb 18, 2008 Jean rated it it was amazing
To some readers, "nothing happens" in this story. But to me there is a whole universe of wonder in that "nothing"! It was as real to me as my own Junior High days, as if Lynn Rae Perkins lived in my neighborhood, hung out with us and could see into our dreams. I loved the illustrations; they seemed so genuine, with a home-grown, sometimes droll feel. Pieces of the text are like that too--unfettered expressions, as if created by an exploring young diarist.
I think this book especially speaks to po
Lars Guthrie
'Criss Cross' leads with its quintessential sentence: 'She wished something would happen.' Quintessential because the reader may often find himself wishing the same thing.

Perkins makes clever use of different styles of text and illustration in this novel about teen-age lives intersecting during a lazy summer in a small town. And the kids are interesting characters with depth. I was particularly fond of Hector, who actually does something (learns how to play the guitar). For the most part, howev
Jul 06, 2009 Janis rated it did not like it
It's not entirely terrible -- the author has a good sense of the inner life of early teens. And the plot, sweet and slow, had potential. But the book is just a mess. The writing veers wildly from childish to sophisticated. The author introduces new points of view far too often -- even on the very last page. There are too many techniques and tricks showing and they got in the way of the story, and the use of illustrations to supplement the text didn't work at all for me. And very few of the chara ...more
Jun 08, 2007 Anna rated it liked it
Shelves: childrens
Not a bad read, but disappointing for a Newbery medalist. A lot of the writing seemed too meta-literary for the target readership to comprehend or appreciate, and even some of the vocabulary I thought was too esoteric. The book also uses a multiple-narrative perspective throughout, which I find too fragmentary. At the end the auther pulls together the pieces (somewhat) for the reader, but not enough to justify a novel that felt like random camera angles shot for the sake of being "artsy". I get ...more
Taya graves-landry
Jun 18, 2015 Taya graves-landry rated it did not like it
I very much dislike this book. its a very messy book which its title explains it criss crosses. for example it tells you that someone is at a cafe and then the next page they are at their friends with a hole new subject on your hands. So if you like a criss crossing kinda of book this is yours. I cant quite figure out the genre of this book there is no suspense yet barely any comedy and no adventure so if you can find out its genre please tell me. I read this in a group and none of us enjoyed it ...more
Carl Nelson
Sep 01, 2014 Carl Nelson rated it did not like it
Shelves: newbery-winners
2006 Newbery Medal recipient.

Given that I'm down to only 11 to go, I can fairly safely say that this is my least favorite Newbery book. Page after page of introspective navel-gazing drivel. An example that demonstrates everything that is wrong with the unreadably terrible writing in this book:

"Debbie's feet were still propped up on the dashboard and, in their fronts-only sunburned state, her bare legs reminded Hector of a freshly opened, unscooped box of Neapolitan ice cream, minus the chocolate
Jennifer Margulis
Dec 13, 2013 Jennifer Margulis rated it liked it
If I could give this book 2.5 instead of 3 stars I would. It's a slow read (other reviewers call it subtle) and my daughter, who read it in 4th grade, did not like it. I read it in two days and feel like my time could have been better spent on other young adult fiction. One of the problems with the book is that it seems to be slated for younger readers but it is about teenage issues and angst. I liked Debbie, especially, and Hector. And was glad to see that Hector had a good relationship with hi ...more
Jun 07, 2011 Bailey rated it it was ok
Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins
“Criss Cross” is about a group of friends who are around 14 years old that get together every week to listen to the radio show “Criss Cross”. Hector, Debbie, and their other friends live together in the same small town during the 1970’s. The main characters are Debbie and Hector. Debbie gets her first shot at love, meets new people, and learns how to drive stick shift. Hector makes an accomplishment by learning how to play guitar and he also asks his crush out fo
Elissa Hoole
Oct 27, 2009 Elissa Hoole rated it really liked it
I enjoyed this sweet, quiet book about adolescence because of the beautiful shining moments of perfectly capturing the feeling of transformation that happens as children turn into young adults. I also really enjoyed the way the author played with form and media. The story is almost entirely character-driven; you'd be hard pressed to come up with a real plot summary, but nonetheless, there are so many small events that change the characters as they criss and cross each other all around the small ...more
Oct 10, 2009 Jennifer rated it did not like it
Shelves: juvenile-fiction
I can't believe that this book is an award winner. I couldn't even finish it! I thought it had no plot and I found the characters to be absolutely boring. I'm sure that some people enjoyed this book, but I just didn't see what was so great about it. It usually takes a lot for me to give up on a book. I just didn't find anything interesting about this one.
May 14, 2015 Mikaylam rated it did not like it
I did not like this book. I found out that this book id not very clear. Also this criss cross book can be very confusing because on one page it will be about these people are at collage and then at the second page their at someones house. I would of liked this book but reading something in your hand that's so confusing and have no idea whats going on can make sometimes frustrated.
Mar 18, 2009 Hannahlily rated it really liked it
Shelves: newbery, ya-fiction
There's a wistful, almost poetic quality to this book that I absolutely love. Not an exciting story by any means, but I found it to be a lovely examination of the sweetness of the ordinary that's a delight to read.
Mar 28, 2017 Shala rated it really liked it
3.5 stars. Beautiful writing, needed a little more plot for my taste.
Brandy Painter
Originally posted at Random Musings of a Bibliophile.

Criss Cross by Lynne Rae Perkins is a Newbery winner of the past decade that for whatever reason I hadn't read yet. I thought it was about time to change that. I can see why the committee liked it.

Synopsis (from author's website):

The people in this book are fourteen years old, and there is romance, but it’s mostly the kind of romance where one person looks at another person and that person looks at the first person, but their looks miss each o
Barbara C
Jun 16, 2013 Barbara C rated it it was ok
Shelves: edes-546, young-adult
Criss Cross. Lynne Rae Perkins. Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins, 2005. 337 pages.

Awards: Newbery Medal (2006)
Genre: Realistic fiction
Recommended age level: Young adult (13+ years)
Subjects and themes: self-discovery, growing up, fate

Set in the 1970s, this book follows a group of 14-year olds in a small town whose stories criss-cross as they discover themselves on the verge of adolescence. The plot centers on those small moments when their inner selves slowly become more defined, such as learni
Erin Reilly-Sanders
Aug 01, 2010 Erin Reilly-Sanders rated it it was ok
Shelves: fiction, juvenile
For a Newbery Award winner, I was quite confused with how the book got the medal for about the first 300 pages. Criss Cross doesn't initially seem to have much going on that holds it together or even creates an ongoing plot to induce the reader's continued attention. I found the illustrations/ cartoons especially annoying because they didn't seem to further the story but instead lamely reiterate points of the story. The setting was also especially confusing. It seemed very much modern day, excep ...more
May 15, 2012 Jessica rated it liked it
This was an interesting book. I can see why it won the Newberry - it's definitely an "arty" book. The writing is really good, but for better or worse, it definitely feels like you're reading something for English class. I liked the characters as I was reading. I enjoyed the dialog and the thoughts the characters were having about each other and life in general. But the book is completely not memorable (at least, not to me.) Two months after reading it, I can't remember anything much that happene ...more
Kate Stone
Apr 10, 2008 Kate Stone rated it it was ok
Shelves: young-adult, fiction
This is a Newbery Medal book so I of course wanted to check it out. It took awhile for me to get into it because it switches narrators so often in the beginning. However, by the end I really liked the story.

Throughout the book there are songs, pictures, sketches, haikus, etc. However, I kind of feel like they are a little above the audience (pre-teen and teen girls). I didn't even "get" a lot of them.

I was also confused throughout the entire book as to when this story takes place. There's a whol
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For So Many Reasons, NO. 4 22 Aug 01, 2014 08:28AM  
Easy read 7 29 Dec 01, 2013 06:46AM  
Madison Mega-Mara...: criss cross by lynne rae perkins 1 3 Aug 23, 2012 11:51AM  
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Lynne Rae Perkins is the author of several novels, including her most recent Newbery Award winning book, Criss Cross. She enjoys working in her studio, being with friends, watching her kids grow, and watching her husband, Bill, chase their dog around town.
More about Lynne Rae Perkins...

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“I know I'm still young and there's a lot of time for things to happen, but sometimes I think there is something about me that's wrong, that I'm not the kind of person anyone can fall in love with, and that I'll always just be alone.” 47 likes
“They looked for one another when nothing else was happening, the way you pick up a magazine or look in the cupboard for a snack. Not exactly by accident and not exactly on purpose. You could go out in the world and do new things and meet new people, and then you could come home and just sit on the stoop with someone you had never not known, and watch lightning bugs blink on and off.” 22 likes
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