A loner in his all-white high school, Chinese-born Xing (pronounced “Shing”) is a wallflower longing for acceptance. His isolation is intensified by his increasingly awkward and undeniable crush on his only friend, the beautiful and brilliant Naomi Lee. Xing’s quiet adolescent existence is rattled when a series of disappearances rock his high school and fear ripples through the blue collar community in which he lives. Amidst the chaos surrounding him, only Xing, alone on the sidelines of life, takes notice of some peculiar sightings around town. He begins to investigate with the hope that if he can help put an end to the disappearances, he will finally win the acceptance for which he has longed. However, as Xing draws closer to unveiling the identity of the abductor, he senses a noose of suspicion tightening around his own neck. While Xing races to solve the mystery and clear his name, Crossing hurtles readers towards a chilling climax
OPINION: 5 STARS
Complex and reverberating, Crossing pulls together several seemingly unrelated elements and weaves them together to create a complex and engaging tale. With intelligent writing, a unique main character and a “who done it” premise, Fukuda has put a memorable spin on both bullying and murder mysteries. A phenomenal world has been built, central to the main character, cataloging the struggles that happen in the present day for a teenage boy who has immigrated from China to the United States . Additional struggles come from the community he lives in- a very white one.
Xing, otherwise known as Kris, is a freshman in high school, holding all the same insecurities as his peers but troubling him more is how ghostlike he truly is. Though he doesn’t blend with his classmates in terms of looks and certainly sticks out with is ethnic background, Kris goes unnoticed apart from one student- the only other Chinese girl. Kris is not only the son of two Chinese parents- he was born and spent the first several years of his life in China . He recounts when Naomi first arrived, the two thrust together while she still didn’t understand English only to learn she has surpassed him in that she no longer holds a thick accent like he does.
This thick Chinese accent sets him further apart from his peers. The writing, however, is strong and shows a very firm grasp of the English language, driving him a very bold point that though the words coming out of his mouth aren’t ideal, he most certainly understands. Kris is not ignorant, actually holding a better grasp of English with a wider vocabulary than some of his peers. This was one of the most notable and defining aspects of the book, making the character very realistic.
Xing is both bullied and ignored; a boy who has slowly changed and hardened over the years at the hands of his classmates. This aspect of the story alone drives the plot but adding another layer is the mysterious serial killer targeting teens at the school. As tension builds and the community grows more scared, just how far apart Xing is from everyone else becomes clearer. The elements continue to pulse and shift until they finally come together for a very startling and gripping ending.
My initial reaction to the ending was dumbfounded, primarily because readers, in general, have an inherent desire for everything to be wrapped up and tied off. This is not the kind of ending presented here- but the one provided is far more powerful. It is one that takes a little while to fully sink in and will remain with the reader for days after. The full scope of things will astound the reader, rendering it astounding and brilliant.
The lasting effects are eye opening and Fuduka has pulled in real world events that have happened in the past few years to drive both the overall points home as well as build the story. Though set in the perspective of a Chinese immigrant, any reader from any background will be able to relate to Kris. There are several surprising plot twists and left hooks thrown. Adding more elements is Kris’ journey to find himself, primarily through music and the rediscovery of his ability to sing. Fukuda has artfully weaved together a few different plot lines, all separate and strong enough to create their own story ideas but culminating in remarkable ways.