Interest level: 16-adult
This is Fukuda’s first novel – an earlier draft was a semi-finalist in the 2009 Breakthrough Novel competition hosted by Amazon. Xing is about 15 years old. He moved to America as a little boy with his parents, but has always felt the sting of difference. When his first year of high school began this year, he’d hoped things would be different, that he would find acceptance and friendship. But it was painfully familiar: “It was as if school had actually begun two weeks ago, and I, the latecomer, was arriving when the wet cement of social dynamics had already solidified.” Things are different this time, however. As the weeks lead to winter, students are disappearing, one by one, creating a fear-filled climate of suspicion. Making things worse, his only real friend finds romance with another boy, breaking Xing’s heart. I have to say, this is a troubling story. It sits uneasy on your soul. There are no easy answers, no satisfying conclusion. I was surprised at first it was classified as adult fiction at my library; now I know why. I’m uncomfortable even suggesting it for a 16-year-old, but the painful high school experience rings so true it’s sure to resonate with the right teens. I will be watching for more by this skilled young author.
More discussion and reviews of this novel: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/7692857-crossing