Freshman Xing Xu is one of two Chinese students at his upstate N.Y. high school. Xing goes by the name Kris since no one can pronounce his Chinese name. Xing is a quiet loner. His family immigrated to America when he was a child and Xing has yet to feel connected to his new home. Even, Xing's only friend Naomi Lee, who he once called an FOB. (fresh off the boat) as adjusted easily to life in America.
"But it was not only her name I secretly envied. She now spoke English with a pitch perfect accent. I'd been in America two years longer than she, in fact, but you wouldn't know it from the heavily accented Chinglish I used. Her English was Julie Chen perfect, mine was Jackie Chan cumbersome"
Xing doesn't talk in school, many people think he can't speak English. Xing is bullied for being different. When students begin to go missing and are murdered, including a few who used to tease Xing, he becomes a suspect.
A new student, Jan Blair joins the class on the first day of school. Blair is bullied and called names. Even Xing does what he can to avoid any association with her, for fear of being taunted even more. Jan Blair is called Blair Witch (after the movie)
I had a problem with this cruel intentions only nickname. Blair Witch (a very bad horror movie) was in the late 90's. As far as I know its not considered a classic movie that's still being referenced. So the nickname felt dated.
I loved the premise of Crossing. However I didn't enjoy this book as much as I would've liked. I found the chapter transitions a little abrupt. I thought Xing Xu was a great character. His struggles living in America one of my favorite parts of the novel. Originally and understudy, Xing gets the lead in the choir when another classmate goes missing.
There were points in the novel where Xing's voice was very clear. The author allowed me to truly understand Xing. However, many times I thought the author was onto something with Xing but rather than explore it more the moments were stopped. I would've like to see Xing's relationship with his father development a little more. Since Xing's father was the one who wanted to come to America. Did America live up to the father's dreams or was he disappointed like his son.
"Your father thought puberty robbed you of your voice. But it wasn't puberty, was it? It was America." I sat stunned. My father had never told me this. There were times when I had sensed his encouragement for me to sing and in latter years, his disappointment when I refused to. "
Though the missing and murdered classmates of Xing weren't the focus of the novel. As a lover of mysteries, I still expected the author to develop this storyline as well as he could have. The author did a good job of keeping my interest when describing all the missing students and when the bodies were found. However, I was little dissappointed when I discovered who the murderer was.
This is Fukuda's first novel. Xing made this novel for me. As I said before there were some great moments that really showed the author writing ability. I look forward to reading more by Fukuda.
3 review by bloggers who really enjoyed Crossing