Criss Cross, by Lynne Rae Perkins
I liked it. I wasn't over the moon about it, but really. When was the last time that I was over the moon about a Newbery winner?
A bit later: It's been a while—I checked. 2000, with Bud, Not Buddy. God. That's just pathetic. What's up, Newbery judges? Maybe we just have very different tastes... There are plenty of books EVERY SINGLE YEAR that make me jump up and down and babble. You guys just haven't been picking 'em lately.
It's a quiet book, which is fine. I like quiet books. I like books that move along slowly, dream-like sometimes, that don't have a concrete plot. I like character studies. That's what this book was—a series of character studies. It just wasn't a Personal Favorite. I loved the conversation about Nancy Drew, though. That bit had Favorite potential.
Part of that might be the illustrations. They irritated me. Irrational irritation, I'm sure. (What other kind do I have?) But they just made it seem like the author was trying too hard. They didn't fit. In Sleeping Freshmen Never Lie, David Lubar bounces around from style to style, but there was a reason for it, so the changes fit. The changes in Criss Cross just seemed... gimmicky. It reminded me of some tortured college kid's zine. Which was annoying.
But that annoyance was only with a small part of the book. I enjoyed most of it. The emotions and the interactions between the characters really rang true and so I can see the book have staying power. I can see it lasting. At the same time, I can't imagine it having very broad appeal among the target audience. It isn't concrete enough. So on one hand, I felt it was annoyingly immature and on the other, too mature.
Now I'm all confused.