Review: Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda

Crossing by Andrew Xia Fukuda
Andrew Xia Fukuda's website here // $9.32 from {amazon}

Publisher: AmazonEncore (April 27, 2010)
Paperback: 217 pages
Summary: from {goodreads}
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.
Rating: View my rating system.

My Thoughts:I was speechless when I finished Crossing, and I'm still sort of at a loss of words today. I could say intense, suspenseful, or mysterious. Perhaps dramatic. All of those terms describe Crossing, but it's impossible to capture the book's complexity, with the numerous internal struggles and racial issues, in one simple word.

To be completely honest, Crossing is not a book I would normally pick up from the bookstore. Intrigue? Check. Awesome-sounding plot? Check. Shallow? ... definitely not. I'm not a fan of 100-page romantic comedies, but I like reading books that make me feel happy. So if you're expecting the perfect prince with the rainbow-sunset ending, stop reading now because Crossing is not the book for you. In fact, Crossing is one of the most serious young adult fiction books I've read that addresses social issues outside of the common drug-use and eating disorders.

The aspect I enjoyed the least and, somehow, the most was Xing. On one hand, he basically is the story. Without his racial prejudices against himself and unique narration, Crossing wouldn’t be the story it is. Xing narrates in short, blunt sentences that still manage to convey everything: his feelings, his thoughts, etc. Take for instance:
I raised my head and felt her lips suddenly grip around mine with verdant determination. Felt the sandpaper rash of acne at the corner of her mouth rubbing again my upper lip. Before I could move away, I felt her tongue–
pg. 82

This particular passage stuck with me because of the gross portrayal of a generally tender act, a moment that clearly reveals Xing unusual, very detailed perspective on life, or at least his interesting way of depicting it. Personally, I liked Xing’s narration, which made me feel he was detached from his current life and constantly emphasized his “outside” status. On the flip side, I also experienced a degree of disconnection from Xing. Especially with me being Chinese myself, I was annoyed with his, what I deem, self-isolation and frustrated with his passivity. Perhaps that’s meant to reflect the society’s general acceptance of flaws in favor of conformity and how that misguided contentment gradually spreads to the individual or some deep, philosophical meaning that completely flew over my shallow teenage head, but it just wasn’t enjoyable for me. Period. If you’re going to complain, do something about it. I could see where Xing’s insecurities and self-degradation had originated, but especially when contrasting him with his fellow well-assimilated Chinese friend Naomi, I felt Xing’s determination could have, admittedly not easily overcome his culture-stemmed difficulties, but overcome them nonetheless on his road to success. In the end, I give Xing praise for his original voice and character in general but little to none for either his likeability or personality.

In the end, it was the plot that captured me. I went through the book thinking that it had an intriguing premise, but the end was amazing. Not the serial killer (which was interesting, for the record), not the love hardships, not the school drama, but the climactic ending that was WOW. Even if I don’t completely agree with the ending per se – scratch that, completely do not agree nor am happy with the ending – it was definitely page-after-page of building suspense and excitement that made it absolutely impossible to put the book down. The ending was sad (nooooo!) and Xing’s actions extremely rash, though understandable if you sort of look at them from way over there and maybe upside-down, and considering I still loved the ending? Then it must have been oh-my-freaking awesome. And it was, trust me. *fumes in frustration, yet looks back upon the ending with love*

Words of wisdom: Andrew Xia Fukuda is a man with talent, and Crossing is a debut novel you will not want to miss.

Romance: Which book are you reading?! Little to none. Some romantic drama, but don't be expecting any sweet relationships. Just one-sided love, jealousy, etc.
Cover: 4.0 -- I actually really like it. It's simplistic, but very close to how I'd imagine Xing would look (I know it's only a silhouette, but the posture, position, and background make it feel like him). And it's smooth, almost laminated.
Writing: 5.0
Characters:  4.0
Plot: 5.0

Bottom Line: Crossing is an original, in-your-face debut that will leave you questioning societal norms and the reality behind appearances. Congrats to Andrew Fukuda on a stunning debut!

Source: Thank you to Andrew Xia Fukuda and publisher!