cover image Cross Country

Cross Country

Brian Herberger. Birch Cove, $15.99 (372p) ISBN 978-1-946229-97-7

In this companion volume to Miss E., Herberger’s protagonist Bets is now 16 in the spring of 1969, and her Forestville, Calif., life has taken a difficult turn. Her father has returned from the Vietnam War changed: he suffers from nightmares and cannot be reached during emotionally distant moments. Although her relationship with her mother has improved in the last year, Bets dreads being at home. Then, her friend Emmie Hatcher sends Bets a ticket to the three-day Woodstock Music and Arts Festival slated for mid-August. Certain that her parents won’t let her go, she sneaks away and embarks on a cross-country road trip in a VW camper with Emmie and her acquaintance Seth, along the way gaining a new perspective and learning ways to affect change. Adventure and turmoil ensue as the trek brings them to new places and people, as well as the revelation that Seth is a disturbing presence, prone to anger and violence. Herberger transports readers back to a tumultuous, divisive time in American history through Bets’s journey of self-discovery. The narrative drags initially, and Bets’s first-person voice occasionally feels overly mature, but this follow-up offers a thought-provoking peek into a young hippie’s life of activism, peace, and love. Ages 12–up. [em](BookLife) [/em]