Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda

In a school packed with white faces only, Chinese immigrant Xing (pronounced Shing) but called Kris, knows what it is to be on the outside looking in. Ever since he came with his father and mother to the Land of Opportunity he's found himself shunned because of his accent, because his Oriental looks, and because of his parent's low income. The only bright spot in Xing's endless sea of despair lies in the refuge of his best friend Naomi, also a Chinese immigrant, who from day one relied upon Xing as translator and tutor. But tutor has surpassed the teacher and lately Naomi has begun to assimilate in ways that Xing could never accomplish, seeming to leave Xing yet more alone.

After a string of high schoolers from Xing's school turn up missing, the entire town becomes suspicious and frightened and looking for villains on every corner. In his solitary observances, Xing begins to notice seemingly isolated occurrences which lead him closer and closer to the frightening culprit. Though a series of freakishly random coincidences seem to level the finger of suspicion straight at Xing himself.

There are a variety of reasons as to why I picked up Andrew Xia Fukuda's dark debut Crossing. The promise of a young male Asian protagonist who constantly struggled - often without success - to assimilate into American society seemed too tempting a prospect to pass by. Not your usual YA character or hero, Xing proves himself to be compelling and extremely sympathetic narrator as a bully-magnet with deeply-rooted emotions. Every minute detail of the events leading up to the discovery of the kidnapper is painfully recorded, even those that paint Xing in a less than flattering light.

To be honest, I was not expecting such a startling conclusion to Crossing. If anything, due to the prologue I was anticipating the opposite of what actually occurred. Crossing is not a ponies and rainbows novel, it was almost painful at times in fact. It takes a deep, intimate look at how fear of the other can ignite with a single spark, spread like wildfire, and wind up just as deadly. And the prose itself is an unflinchingly honest portrayal of the cruelty of teenagers at its most heartbreaking. But. Crossing was extremely well-written, but I found myself terribly depressed upon finishing. Perhaps I wasn't quite in the right frame of mind for such a stark novel, but I found Crossing to be a little too much on the bleak side without any hope of redemption acting as a counterbalance. Each time it felt like Xing might be on the brink of finding some measure of happiness or a little bit of success, some new catastrophe would inevitably occur sending him right back to square one. Which of course made for a page-turning novel but not one I'd recommend without some hesitation.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Bart's Bookshelf review
Katie's Book Blog review
Sharon Loves Books and Cats review
Wondrous Reads review

book source: provided by the author

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