Review Blog

Jun 26 2014

Crossing by Catherine Norton

cover image

Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742990286.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Dystopian, Dictatorship, Freedom. With overtures of the wall that separated East and West Germany until 1989, this tale of Cara, growing up in the shadow of a wall and the dictatorial nature of the grim society in which she lives is most engaging. We learn early that she has done something which has affected another family in her apartment house, and is beginning to regret her actions. The Suspicious Act reported meant that Leon's mother was taken away for re-education. In this sort of society any comment or joke is viewed with suspicion, but Cara learns that not all Suspicious Acts are designed to undermine the society.
When Leon's sister, Ava takes the children to her secret place they have fun as she teaches them to fire a bow and arrow, Cara little understanding just how important this skill will be.
A tantalising tale, the author gives only little snippets of facts away as we follow Cara's daily routine, queuing for food, using the dozens of eggs left by their absent parents, looking after her younger sister. Leon and his father live upstairs an it is to them she goes when she has problems, finally asking their forgiveness when their mother is taken away. But it takes her a long time to realise the impact of her reporting this Suspicious Act, so immersed is she in the dogma of the government.
This is a good read, not very long, but loaded with a pile of ethical and moral questions which any reader will be impelled to ponder.
That Marco's family welcomes her in despite what she has done is stunning, just as is the selfless deed Marco does at the end of the book.
Fran Knight

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