cover image Crossing Lines

Crossing Lines

Paul Volponi. Viking, $16.99 (256p) ISBN 978-0-670-01214-5

Message trumps story in this chronicle of homophobia set on the gridiron. High school jock Adonis (really), a formerly pudgy kid, operates cautiously, constantly worried he'll be the next target of the bullies on his team. But they've got their hands full torturing Alan, an openly gay transfer student who, perhaps bolstered by the fellow members (all girls) of the school's Fashion Club, has started wearing lipstick and dresses to school. This is more than the football players can abide, and a takedown is planned. For Adonis, it's a no-win situation. If he outs the planned attack, he'll become a pariah among his teammates; if he remains quiet, he'll alienate his sister and girlfriend, who know Alan through Fashion Club. While the bullying issue has gravitas and Volponi (Rikers High) creates a believable atmosphere of masculine one-upmanship and pervasive homophobia, his characters are stereotypes: Alan's father is a no-nonsense military colonel, while Adonis's mother preaches tolerance and acceptance. The denouement is predictable, and Adonis's sudden location of a moral compass by story's end meshes with the after-school special tone of the narrative. Ages 12%E2%80%93up. (June)