John Wetterholt's Reviews > Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi
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M 50x66
's review
Oct 03, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: young-adult
Read in June, 2011

How do you respond when a clearly different student transfers to your school and makes friends with your sister...when your own friends are prone to bully a ridicule the new kid? That is the question faced by high school football player Adonis when he meets Alan, a cross-dresser who becomes not only president of the fashion club but the target of unrelenting scorn from Adonis' teammates and father.

Overall I found the book to be quite enjoyable, with a message that aches to be explored and expressed. Part of the way through I was starting to wonder how the absolutely necessary character development would be worked in, given Volponi's rather spare, almost Hemingway-esque treatment of character and plot, but as Adonis started to "come around" and move away from his friends' plan to attack Alan (really there's no better word), I gained more and more respect for Adonis and his fortitude, despite his later self-criticism of believing he should have done more sooner.

Alan, I think, could have been portrayed a little more vividly. Perhaps it was Volponi's desire to present him in somewhat muted tones so as not to have him appear stereotypically flamboyant, but given his morph into dress-wearing Alana, I feel the story could have absorbed a bit more flash in his personality. He was delightfully dry and sardonic when such was called for; more needed to be done to make him truly notable. Some of Adonis' friends were a little too close to the familiar jock types from Central Casting, but considering the author's focus on Adonis' mind and heart I can forgive a little cardboard. Adonis' own self-image issues were a nice subplot, and the muffed play at the end of the football game was totally appropriate.

Clearly this book was a step outside the comfort zone for the author, and one that is more than adequate to the task. After years of writing dialogue for Harlem toughs, creating an authentic gay character was a challenge, and he got a lot of things right. While the kickoff was not run back for a touchdown, it got well past mid-field!

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