Thursday, April 8, 2010


Fukuda, Andrew Xia. Crossing. Las Vegas: AmazonEncore, 2010. Print
[Book cover credit:]

Xing, who would love it if you would just call him Kris, has always been an outsider. He's one of two Asian kids in a small-town high school, and unlike Naomi (his fellow non-whitey and best friend) he does not have a magnetic personality, really good grades, or budding hotness to win over his classmates. Most of them don't even think he speaks English, even though they've been sitting in classes together since grade school. Mostly, everyone just ignores Kris, which suits him just fine. When kids at school start disappearing without a trace, everyone in town goes on edge. Everyone, that is, except Kris. He thinks his outsider status will keep him safe; what's the point in kidnapping someone no one would notice is missing? And when his tormentor becomes one of the disappeared, things start going downright well for Kris. Right up until they don't.

There are some books that you stay up all night reading because you just have to know what happens. Then there are books that you stay up all night reading because you really don't want to turn off the lights.* Crossing falls gracefully into both categories.

The whole story, the story behind the disappearances, is told by Kris. We see his classmates, his one friend, the town, through his eyes. Kris kind of goes through the motions of his life, the ultimate observer. It isn't until he starts singing lessons before school that he gains some confidence and things really start happening both to and for him. If it weren't for the missing kids, this would be a very different story, one about an unpopular, unspectacular kid who, with a little adult attention and encouragement, finally comes out of his shell, makes friends, and is recognized by his peers. Well, almost. The disappearances are good for Kris. He's no longer bullied at school, and when the guy he's understudying goes missing, he gets the lead in the school musical. It's easy to see why Kris is the perfect suspect.

The first couple of pages of the book make it seem as though Kris is just that, at the very least: a suspect. For most of the story, however, that's not how it looks like things should go. Other things in his life, his crush on Naomi, the new girl Jan, and his music lessons, are more important than the missing kids. The disappearances are almost peripheral to Kris's story; he's to busy being a freshman for the disappearances, which make his life a little bit more livable, to worry him. When the disappearances, and the rumors surrounding them, come crashing into Kris's life, they are really creepy. Don't turn the lights off creepy. Everyone is paranoid and thinks they are being watched; Kris is chased. They've all "seen" the person watching them; Kris sees no one. He manages to brush these things off, most of the time, but they come back in strange ways.

But Jan, herself, is what creeped me out the most. She is new and an outsider, like Kris, and she eventually clings to him. Her desperation and hopelessness scared me. She is a truly haunting character. She's an important part of the story, in a nuts and bolts kind of way, but she's very much a side character. On one hand I wish there had been more of her in the book, especially in the aftermath part of it, but on the other hand, I don't think it would be the same story if she had been more present in it. The whole point, I think, is that Kris, Jan, and, to some extent, Naomi are kids no one notices. We only see what Kris sees, and even he doesn't really see Jan for a lot of the book.

The ending wasn't really a surprise, but the story did throw me for a few loops getting there. The mystery still exists, even if you think you know who did the deed.

Crossing will be available on April 27th!

Book source: Review copy from publisher.

*It was so much easier to maintain my tough chick facade when all I did was read in private and proclaim, "Scary movies suck; let's rent a drama." Now it seems like all I do is admit that books that include some being you can't see chasing/watching/haunting/whatev-ing someone scares me.


MissAttitude said...

Ooo it does sound a bit scary :0 I can't watch horror movies, but can I handle scary books? Hmm only time will tell. haha.

So glad to hear that you liked this book! I'm really looking forward to reading it, especially because it's so different and original. So does the mystery remain unsovled? Wait! Don't actually tell me ;)

Thanks for stopping by Reading in Color and sharing your review with me.

Doret said...

I will be buying this book now. Thanks

Akilah said...

That sounds really interesting. I think I'll check it out. Great review.