carolyn's Reviews > Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi
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's review
Dec 27, 2010

it was ok
bookshelves: 2010, borrowed, starbooktours, arc

Writing a review for this has not been easy. I wanted to wait, let the book sit with me for a bit. I liked the premise: what does bullying look like from the POV of a reluctant bully? Adonis is on the football team, likes the cute and popular girl, and travels with a group of "typical" high school jocks. Enter Alan: new in school and gay -- double whammy. Adonis struggles with wanting to fit in with his friends, but also realizes that to get the girl -- and maybe, it's the right thing to do anyway -- bullying Alan won't do.

I struggled with the validity here. Granted, I am neither (nor was I ever) a high school football jock or gay, cross-dressing transfer student, but the stereotyping jumped off the page. The slurs felt forced, added for shock value rather than coming across as something someone might say in a certain situation. The characters seemed shallow to me -- not well-developed, their motives written on their sleeves rather than hidden. As I think more about this, the biggest issue I had was the lack of complexity.

Would I recommend this? Probably not to adults, but yes to teens. I think it provides an adequate introduction to discussion. However, I would then recommend -- nay, insist -- that they follow it with The Vast Fields of Ordinary, where a similar story is told, with less force and more intuition, less shock and more emotion.
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Angela I also got this book through Star Book Tours. After reading your review, I was amused to see that we both had the same recommendation: read THE VAST FIELDS OF ORDINARY instead. :)

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