What do you do when bullying goes too far? Adonis is a jock. He’s on the football team and he’s dating one of the prettiest girls in school. Alan is the new kid. He wears lipstick and joins the Fashion Club. Soon enough the football team is out to get him. Adonis is glad to go along with his teammates
. . . until they come up with a dangerous plan to humiliate Alan. Now Adonis must decide whether he wants to be a guy who follows the herd or a man who does what’s right.
From critically acclaimed author Paul Volponi comes this discussable and finely wrought story of bullies, victims, and the bystanders caught in between.
I had a chance to read an ARC of Crossing Lines in November of 2010, and as soon as I turned the final page, I knew that this would be one of my most powerful books of the year. I read the entirety of Crossing Lines in one day, which is rare feat for me, even in the case of short books. I honestly could not put this book down.
Crossing Lines centers around Adonis, a high school student hoping to prove his worth to others around him. His life is pretty okay until his sister, Jeannie, starts hanging out with the president of the fashion club. Alan.
Adonis is definitely not a likable character at first. He struggles to fit a very specific stereotype of masculinity, pumping iron with his teammates and scoring one of the hottest chicks in school. The story is told from his point of view, so we see everything that happens as his friends and sister pressure him to do opposite things. His character is one that readers will remember long after turning the final page of Crossing Lines. Everyone has felt the way that Adonis does at the end of this novel. I can see where some people might ultimately feel exasperated with his character, but Volponi represented his inner conflict so poignantly that it felt incredibly realistic to me.
As incredible as Adonis’s journey was, there were also a lot of little things that made this book a fantastic read for me. I love that Volponi used Adonis and all of his other characters to confront gender stereotypes head on. Furthermore, I also loved the reference to mythology with the name Adonis and the incorporation of Walt Whitman’s poetry into the themes of the novel. I will say that at times the writing erred on the side of being over expository, but I loved the rest of the story too much to care about it.
Crossing Lines deals with the timeless problem of intolerance, and does in a way that teenagers can relate to. It’s great to see a young adult novel that deals with bullying. I am eager to see the types of discussions that this book opens up among educators, parents, and readers of all ages and sexuality.
Disclosure: I received a copy of this book through Star Book Tours.