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From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 6-9–The author of the popular All Alone in the Universe (HarperCollins, 1999) returns with another character study involving those moments that occur in everyone's life–moments when a decision is made that sends a person along one path instead of another. Debbie, who wishes that something would happen so she'll be a different person, and Hector, who feels he is unfinished, narrate most of the novel. Both are 14 years old. Hector is a fabulous character with a wry humor and an appealing sense of self-awareness. A secondary story involving Debbie's locket that goes missing in the beginning of the tale and is passed around by a number of characters emphasizes the theme of the book. The descriptive, measured writing includes poems, prose, haiku, and question-and-answer formats. There is a great deal of humor in this gentle story about a group of childhood friends facing the crossroads of life and how they wish to live it. Young teens will certainly relate to the self-consciousnesses and uncertainty of all of the characters, each of whom is straining toward clarity and awareness. The book is profusely illustrated with Perkins's amusing drawings and some photographs.–B. Allison Gray, John Jermain Library, Sag Harbor, NY
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Perkins's novel, a thoughtful, subtle character study in which paths cross in unexpected ways, is told through vignettes from mostly teen points of view. Perkins's humorous and poignant observations about Debbie, who wants something to happen, and Hector, who learns to play guitar, are compelling. Danielle Ferland remembers her own youth well or has hung out with teenagers recently. Her portrayal of their budding self-awareness bordering on self-consciousness is especially sharp, and she perfectly mimics the questions? teens ask when talking? in addition to their sarcastic downturns and flat tones. Ferland also easily navigates the potentially treacherous waters of Perkins's sometimes- experimental prose, which includes haiku, poetry, and Q & A formats. J.C.G. © AudioFile 2006, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine
*Starred Review* Gr. 6-9. This lyrical sequel to All Alone in the Universe (1999), a Booklist Editor's Choice, begins with one of many black-and-white drawings and a caption that reads, "People move back and forth in this area like molecules in steam." As the title and caption imply, this story reads like a series of intersecting vignettes--all focused on 14-year-old Debbie and her friends as they leave childhood behind. Perkins writes with subtle, wry humor about perceptive moments that will speak directly to readers: universe-expanding crushes, which fill the world with "signs and wonder"; scornful reappraisals of childhood things (Debbie's disdain for Nancy Drew is particularly funny); urgent concerns about outfits, snappy retorts, and self-image. Perkins adds many experimental passages to her straightforward narrative, and she finds poetry in the common exchanges between teens. One section of dialogue, written entirely in haiku, reads, "Jeff White is handsome, / but his hair is so greasy. / If he would wash it--." A few cultural references set the book in the 1970s, but most readers will find their contemporaries in these characters. Best of all are the understated moments, often private and piercing in their authenticity, that capture intelligent, likable teens searching for signs of who they are, and who they'll become. Gillian Engberg
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
Debbie is wishing something would happen. Something good. To her. Soon. In the meantime, Debbie loses a necklace and finds a necklace (and boy does the necklace have a story to tell), she goes jeans shopping with her mother (an accomplishment in diplomacy), she learns to drive shift in a truck (illegally), she saves a life (directly connected to being able to drive, thus proving something), she takes a bus ride to another town (in order to understand what it feels like to be from "elsewhere"), she meets a boy (who truly is from "elsewhere"), but mostly she hangs out with her friends: Patty, Hector, Lenny, and Phil. Their paths cross. Their stories crisscross. And in Lynne Rae Perkins's remarkable book, a girl and her wish grow up. Illustrated throughout with black–and–white pictures, comics, and photographs by the author.
About the Author
Lynne Rae Perkins was awarded the Newbery Medal for Criss Cross. She is the author of one other book for teens—All Alone in the Universe, a companion to Criss Cross. Lynne Rae Perkins has also written and illustrated several picture books, including Snow Music, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor Book and a Book Sense Top Ten Pick. "Perkins is a genius at capturing the odd details that reveal so much about individuals and families, and how they interact," said Riverbank Review about her picture book The Broken Cat. The author lives with her family in northern Michigan.
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