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Crossing Stones

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  1,229 ratings  ·  381 reviews
Maybe you won't rock a cradle, Muriel.
Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.

Eighteen-year-old Muriel Jorgensen lives on one side of Crabapple Creek. Her family's closest friends, the Normans, live on the other. For as long as Muriel can remember, the families' lives have been intertwined, connected by the crossing stones that span the water. But now that Frank Norma
Hardcover, 184 pages
Published September 29th 2009 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
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 ·  1,229 ratings  ·  381 reviews

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Apr 22, 2013 rated it liked it
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I've been on a bit of a verse novel binge lately, not to mention one of WWI (especially since I finished all three seasons of Downton Abbey in a record three and a half days!). Thus, it's almost not a surprise that I enjoyed this; it's merely a surprise that I enjoyed this as much as I did. Frost writes beautifully, choosing three separate styles to bring us the story of Muriel, a headstrong girl who isn't afraid to speak her mind; Ollie, her older brother who enlists for war de
Katie Fitzgerald
I had never read anything by Helen Frost before I requested this book on inter-library loan from my library system, but I knew she wrote novels in verse and that was the main reason I chose to read this book to begin with. And having finished Crossing Stones, the story of what happens to the children of two neighboring Michigan families during 1917, when World War I and women's suffrage are both at the political forefront, I can say that the true strength of this book is the poetry.

Not only are
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
This novel in verse was amazing. Frost covered all the major events in the U.S. during the late World War I period, after America joined the fighting. The story alternates in viewpoint between that of Muriel, her brother Ollie, her friend Emma, and Emma's brother Frank, who are neighbors, "crossing the stones" over the creek between each other's property in rural Michigan. Muriel's childhood friend Frank goes off to war, as does her brother, who lies about his age. Some people are pro-war, some ...more
May 02, 2012 added it
Amber Randol

This book was a story told in verse, and each chapter was a different character's point of view. It involved two families who lived on farms right across a creek from eachother, and they were all great friends. There was the Jorgenson family, who were both parents, the oldest son, Muriel the daughter, and the little sister. The other family were the Normans, who were both parents, Frank the oldest son, and Emma, the daughter. The story followed all of their struggles with keepi
Feb 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I loved the way it was written, the thoughts that Muriel had from her view point, and the many quotable quotes from this book. This is on the top of my list right now of one of my favorites.

Muriel posts questions that are hard and the answers difficult to find/answer.

This book is written for teens but as an adult, I found it charming.

At the very end of the book the author explains the poetic form that the book is written in. I found her explanation to be intriguing and fasci
Mary Louise
Nov 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A beautiful, heartbreaking, hopeful novel in verse of World War I- its effects on those who fought in it, those at home, and of the women who fought tirelessly and courageously for suffrage. Highly recommended!
Elby Wang
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
• Elby Wang
• Frost, H. (2009). Crossing stones. New York: Farrar, Straus and Giroux.
• Genre: poetry
• Format: print
• Review:

In 1917, Muriel Jorgensen, a 16 years old activist girl, is raised by a conservative family in new England. Muriel is opinionated against the war and shows her passion about the women's suffrage movement even with warnings from her teacher and discouragement from her mother. Jorgensen and Normans are close family friends who live across the Crabapple Creek to each other. F
There's quite a lot going on with this book, and that is its beauty. It's a WWI historical fiction novel, of which there really are few, so that is good. It's also a novel in verse, and the verse has a particular, and meaningful, form. Another plus, because you can integrate it into Language Arts classes if need be.

It's a relationship novel, and a novel about the hell of war, with glimpses of PTSD. That alone might help kids understand what is happening to our vets returning from Iraq.

And, what'
Aug 02, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was such a pleasant surprise. It is the story of two neighboring families living in rural Michigan in the early 1900s -- in the midst of WWI, the suffrage movement and the Great Influenza. Told from alternating perspectives of three of the teen children, we learn how each of these historical events alters their lives and changes how they see the world.

Upon finishing this book (which I listened to on audio), I went on Goodreads to read the reviews and was surprised by what I learned. Wh
Feb 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed reading this book and I am happy to say the author, Helen Frost, is coming to our book club meeting at my home this week. She is the childhood friend of one of our members and coincidently I once lived in the same small college town that Helen lived and was a playmate of her two older sisters. I will be reading more of her books because she is a talented writer. This story is very interesting from a historical perspective, but, it is the form or structure of the book which makes it mos ...more
Mar 16, 2021 rated it it was amazing
It was a good verse novel. I didn't like all the deaths but all the characters get a happy ending in the end. It includes historical fiction based on WWI and the women's suffrage movement. ...more
Jan 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: poetry, ya
Carefully constructed poems in the voices of Muriel and Ollie Jorgensen and their Michigan neighbor, Emma Norman, describe their thoughts about World War I, where Ollie and Emma's brother Frank fought in Europe and the young women struggled at home -- and, in Muriel's case, in Washington, D.C. where she attended a demonstration for women's suffrage in Washington, D.C. This poetry is amazing. The limitations of the rhyme scheme do not seem to have lessened the impact of this moving story, and I a ...more
Apr 24, 2010 rated it liked it
Frost tells this story from the perspectives of two brothers and sisters who have grown up together and face separation because of World War I. I most appreciated Muriel, a strong young woman full of opinions about the war and women's roles, and thought the author did a good job bringing four characters to life in few words. Young readers might see war's horrors in a different light and will see the women's suffrage movement as it unfolds.

When in the author's note I read about the care with whic
Dec 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
There are more than a few reasons I have to give this one five stars...

1. Four narrators, and each has a unique voice and a very unique point of view on the issues surrounding World War I. As a reader, you are right there.

2. Experimentation with form that forces the clearest imagery. There isn't one wasted word, nor is there an unplanned section.

3. The form is secondary to the plot because it sweeps you away. Only when I was done, did I come back to think about form.

4. The author captures th
I love Helen Frost's books, though I have not read them all...yet. How does she communicate so much in so few words???

A beautifully written, touching, coming-of-age novel written in verse. The book is a collection of poems, each told from the point of view of one of 3 teenage friends. The structure of the poems for each of the characters is different and significant. The reasons for the structure is explained by the author at the end of the book. Themes include war and patriotism, women's rights
Jul 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I didn't know what to expect with this book. It is written in what looks like poems, but it's not poems. Each main character has a voice and a perspective you get to see. Emma and Muriel are the main characters and their brothers go to war. This is WW1. Ollie, Muriel's brother, is 16 and pretends to be 18 to be able to enlist. This war effects everyone. The book addresses other things other than the war such as the flu and women's suffrage. It was a good, quick read and I really enjoyed learning ...more
Nov 25, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: adult, ya
The voices of four young people, two boys and two girls, tell a moving story of life in rural Michigan in verse. Two families live happily on either side of a creek until World War I breaks out and the boys enlist. In a slim volume, the author describes love and loss during the war, women's fight for the vote, and the influenza epidemic. This is a book to read slowly and savor for each of the verses differs in an enlightening way. ...more
Mary Bronson
I thought this was a pretty great book. Once I got started it was hard to put down. It was a nice short book, but it had a lot. I loved the form of the book. Mauriel was such a great character and I also loved Ollie, Emma, and Frank. I also liked how it combined WWI, Women's Suffrage Movement and the flu. Plus I like how it was from different points of views not just one. ...more
Suzanne Dix
May 10, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This free-verse story weaves the historical threads of WW1, Women's Suffrage and the Great Influenza outbreak. The chapters alternate between four main characters, each with a different perspective to share. Will awaken an interest in middle school girls to learn more about the suffrage movement.

Grades 6 and up. Beautifully told and crafted into free verse narratives.
Aug 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Beautiful--and cleverly--written coming-of-age story about World War I, women's suffrage, and the flu epidemic. ...more
Sandra Muir
Sep 09, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written, touching book about WWI, women's sufferage, love, family and healing. I absolutely loved it. ...more
Summer Turner
Dec 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
Beautifully written in free verse poetry. Deals with WWI, women's rights, influenza epidemic and home life during a time of change in America. Suggested for ages 10 and up. ...more
First sentence: You'd better straighten out your mind, Young Lady.

Premise/plot: Crossing Stones is a historical verse novel set during World War I in a small community. Two families are super-super close: the Jorgensens and the Normans. Everyone expects Muriel Jorgensen to one day marry Frank Norman. Ollie Jorgensen is definitely hoping to one day marry Emma Norman. But plans and expectations have little place in a world turned upside down by war.

Frank isn't at home. He's a soldier getting r
Nov 15, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Gwen by: Read Harder Challenge 2015: a collection of poetry

A beautiful, moving story about WWI and its effects, as told in verse. For a relatively short book, Frost deftly covers an impressive number of topics: anti-war sentiment, societal pressure to support the war, women's suffrage + hunger strikes, the National Women's Party, settlement houses, the Espionage Act (still in effect) and the Sedition Act, wartime censorship, the Spanish Flu, family dynamics, sexism (and feminism), returning soldiers + PTSD, and love in the time of war.

If you get a chanc
Lexi Kramer
Oct 11, 2020 rated it liked it
During the time of this novel, women were discouraged from publicly expressing their views. This did not stop our main character, Muriel, though. She didn’t enjoy the thought of her close friend Frank and thousands of other young men going off to fight in the Great War. As she was coming to the end of her teenage years, Muriel spoke about wanting to get married and settle down to a life of raising children and being a housewife. A lot of her own views changed when Frank left for Europe to fight. ...more
Lindsay Sellers
Nov 30, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: eng-356
I loved this book. The poetry is beautiful and helps the story line have a larger impact on the reader. I read this book because it was highly recommended by two of my professors. I was not disappointed. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves poetry or anyone who is interested in learning a little bit more about the women suffragists.

I would read this book with an older middle school/early high school age group, because while it has some deep poetry and will take some time to understan
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this because it's on a reading list for my students as a book to choose. It intrigued me, and I want to be able to recommend more books for students that are on this particular reading list. I started it with a bit of "have to" mindset, but I have to admit, I ended up really liking it. Told from the perspective of several characters, I loved having the story move along and hearing from different voices. I also ended up liking the novel in verse format, especially after reading why the aut ...more
Kristin Paul
Jun 03, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: eng-356
I wasn't sure about any YA poetry books since it wasn't a genre I was familiar with. This book was recommended during class and I wanted to give it a shot. I almost wasn't able to read it since I needed to request it from the library. Luckily, I was able to read it and I wasn't disappointed.

I think this would be a good YA book to teach in school. The poetry isn't hard to read and as a whole, the story is easy to follow. There are some great lessons to learn from within this novel and while it i
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it
Read this book in one sitting.......its not overly long........and each page of writing has a particular 'shape' to it (representing stones within a creek). This story begins as all the young men within the community are being called to war....and Murial is asked to step up to the plate to help more around the house as her brother is called away. Further away, in New York City her Aunt Vera is part of the suffrage movement whereby women are protesting so they can be allowed to vote. As time goe ...more
Apr 26, 2021 rated it really liked it
This story is one of my favorites I have ever read. At first I was skeptical because it was about women’s suffrage essentially and I’d never thought to read something like this, but as I kept reading I got more and more into the story. Muriel, Emma, Frank, Ollie and Grace the friends and family live on 2 farms in rural Michigan during the 1940's. Muriel’s ideas about suffrage is what gives the story plot and meaning, like when she talks about the war or when she travels to Washington D.C. to hel ...more
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I'm dipping my toes into goodreads to see how it works. Thanks for finding me here, and thanks to everyone who has read and written about my books. I love to know you're there, even if I don't come here too often to say so.

Helen Frost is the author of six novels-in-poems and two picture books for children and young adults. She lives in Fort Wayne, Indiana.

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Essay collections offer a unique kind of reader experience, one that can be rewarding in a different way from novels or even other types of...
55 likes · 5 comments
“Maybe you won't rock a cradle, Muriel. Some women seem to prefer to rock the boat.” 4 likes
“Who I am remains to be seen— and I alone intend to be the one to see it.” 4 likes
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