Some people think that the point of living in a tall building is the view, but that’s not how my parents saw it when they chose to live on the ground floor. All we can see from our apartment is the Wall.
There was a time when I didn’t know that there was any other kind of view, and I felt good, even smug, about the extra space they said we had, and about not having to climb up flights and flights of stairs.
Cara lives in the shadow of the Wall, a wall which protects its citizens from the outside world. By following the rules, Cara and her sister are safe, even when their parents are away doing important work for the government. But hen Cara befriends Leona and Ava, who live in an apartment upstairs she slowly begins to question what she has always known. Are food shortages, high security and unquestioning loyalty really making people happy and safe? Ava doesn’t seem to think the rules are all that important. Perhaps that is why she disappears.
Crossing is a thought-provoking look at life without freedom, in a government-controlled world with shades of Orwell or East Germany. The ever-present Wall, the distribution of food, and the fear of breaking rules overshadow everything Cara does, and her absentee parents seem to care less about her than about their mysterious duties for the government. Through the use of flashbacks and hints of what has happened, readers are invited in to Cara’s world, and to the dilemmas she faces, as they piece together what is going on.
Suitable for upper primary and young adult readers.
Crossing, by Catherine Norton
Omnibus Books, 2014
Available from good bookstores and online.