Realistic portrayal of GLBTQ bullying
In Paul Volponi’s CROSSING LINES, Adonis is a normal teenage guy: one who plays on the football team, wants to date the hot girl, and just wants to fit in. When new student Alan enrolls at his school and becomes the butt of everyone’s homophobic jokes, Adonis has to decide where he stands. Does he side with his sister and his potential girlfriend, both of whom support Alan’s lipstick-wearing ways? Or does he does go along with the team and humiliate Alan at every opportunity, even when it becomes a threat to Alan’s safety?
CROSSING LINES excels most in its realistic portrayal of bullying, prejudice, and what it means for someone to go with the crowd or against it. Readers are given an honest depiction of the slurs and threats thrown at GLBTQ students through Adonis’ first-person perspective, and Adonis’ internal dialogue and insecurities about himself also felt authentic. As a character, Adonis shows believable growth as he changes throughout the book. Family also plays an important role in the novel, and the competing viewpoints of Adonis’ parents provide another realistic representation of how people are or are not supportive of those who are different.
Even though the book excelled in its honest depiction of bullying and intolerance, the novel itself didn’t have the emotional impact I had hoped. The climax occurred too quickly and too near the end, and the closing scene felt trite and a bit hollow. The almost singular focus of the storyline was also very limited. While this may make the book useful as a teaching tool, it felt basic for a novel. Finally, while the writing worked style worked well as internal dialogue for Adonis, it didn’t stand out.
Due to the book’s candid approach and easy plot, CROSSING LINES will be a great read for students struggling with acceptance of GLBTQ students, especially boys who should be able to identify with Adonis and the challenges he faces. However, for GLBTQ students looking for a story that resonates with them, I would recommend books by David Levithan or Nick Burd’s THE VAST FIELDS OF ORDINARY instead.
Note: This review refers to an advance reader's copy.