Saturday, February 12, 2011

Crossing Lines

Author: Paul Volponi
Publisher: Viking (Penguin)
Release Date: June 9, 2011
Genre: Young Adult (Contemporary)

Adonis is pretty much your typical high-school football player. But when he goes out with a girl who may just become his girlfriend, he slides into being a character she wants to see, not seeing the contradiction between his two "worlds." It takes the arrival of Alan, a new boy in school whose presence challenges the football-players' sense of masculinity with his mode of dress, to force Adonis to see himself as his sister sees him - a faker, someone who doesn't know who he really is. But even that's not enough to make him fully wake up, until things go too far and Adonis must choose to either "stand by or take a stand."

The writing in this book is superb. It's very vivid, and I could feel Adonis' confusion and pull to either side by the vivid scenes described. I also felt for Alan, because I could clearly picture his personality and attitudes, and I liked that there is just enough toughness in him, tempered by just the right amount of vulnerability.

I didn't like that the line was drawn basically between girls and guys, with the girls supporting Alan - with one or two exceptions - and the guys hating on him. Maybe it is that way in the real world, I don't know - do guys automatically feel their manhood threatened by a gay boy? And is it realistic to say that all girls would be automatically welcoming to a guy who joins the Fashion Club?

Aside from that question, I think the book handles the question of peer pressure, standing by or standing up, really well.

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