When I received Crossing in the mail, I opened the package to read the first few pages to see if it was a candidate for this blog. A few hours later, I had finished the novel, and the question had answered itself. Crossing is a compelling, consuming story of a high school outsider and the ways in which prejudice and racism can completely change a person’s life.
Xing is an Asian student at an all-white high school, though this does not begin to explain why he is so unpopular. His close friend, another Asian student, is well-liked and successful in her school work. Xing, however, just doesn’t subscribe to the rules. He could be nice to the other students and try to make friends, but he doesn’t see the point. He’s shy and would rather stay under the radar. Though his fellow students think he’s unengaged, he is actually deeply involved in his high school experience; he may not act like it, but nothing passes his notice, which is why when the disappearances start happening at school, he is perfectly posed to solve the mystery.
As Xing begins to search for the perpetrator of the crimes, he is also drawn into the circle of suspicion. Unfortunately, the characteristics that kept him (mostly) safe from challenges at school are now characteristics that could condemn him.
A mystery tale and a perceptive view into the life of a high school outcast, Crossing asks us to consider how we determine our opinions of people and why those opinions can be so entirely misleading. Fukuda’s Xing is a sympathetic character, one that will appeal to high school and adult readers alike, and Fukuda perfectly captures his voice and experience. The ending, at once disappointing, intriguing, and provocative, will spark passionate conversation in the English classroom or book club. Fukuda's debut novel should not be missed.
Check out the book trailer.