Friday, 30 April 2010
Review: Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda
Publisher: Amazon Encore
Released: April 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B+/A-
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.
Crossing is a debut novel that deals with a multitude of themes and issues, and I don't know what to start with first. It's a contemporary social commentary on high schools and their students, as well as a chilling whodunnit crime thriller that literally made me shudder. Newspaper clippings and news items are interspersed throughout the novel, which makes it that much more realistic, and I really enjoyed that extra look into the events unfolding.
Xing is a loner in school. He's quiet, reserved, and only opens up to his best friend Naomi. He's ignored and taunted for his less than perfect English language skills, and is one of those people who blends into any given background. To anyone who knows him, he's a thoughtful, caring boy with problems and regrets of his own, who just wants to be accepted for who he is and where he comes from.
Through Xing and his Chinese heritage, Crossing confronts bullying, and our perceptions of people around us. It delves into how we see things, and how we can have completely the wrong idea about someone, just by judging their appearance or mannerisms. It all goes back to the age-old lesson of treating our peers with respect, and not writing someone off before you get a chance to know them. It also shows what bullying can do to a family, and the extreme consequences of not thinking before you act.
Crossing comes to a fantastic conclusion, and one that I honestly didn't see coming. I'd be lying if I said it ended the way I wanted it to, because it didn't. It completely shocked me actually, because of the way certain characters acted, and the things they said to Xing. There are certain times in life when you find out who your friends are, and Xing unfortunately learns that at the most crucial moment of his existence. With so much going on in Crossing, it can occasionally feel too busy, as if it's trying to say too much at the same time. For example, it can suddenly shift focus from the student murders to something unrelated and, as a result, the narrative gets choppy, and loses some of its well-gained momentum.
Crossing is an important novel, and one that I think everyone should try. Fukuda has written a brilliantly grisly tale, and has provided me with one of the best debuts I've read this year. I can't wait to see what he writes next!