Crossing Lines by Paul Volponi
This title is somewhat different from the other Volponi books I’ve read, but I don’t think it will disappoint his fans. Here he focuses on a football player’s thoughts about another kid at his school, one who isn’t like anyone else and really stands out (a crime in most high schools!). The main character, Adonis, is a big, tough, defensive varsity football player, who is still getting used to being a cool kid instead of the pudgy boy he way until high school. When Alan, an openly gay transfer student, begins wearing lipstick, the football team begins to bully him, from simple incidents like calling him Alana and ostracizing him, to a planned attack at a school fashion show at the local mall. Adonis actually feels bad for Alan, but is caught in the middle between his own ideas, his sister’s and girlfriend’s friendship with the boy, his macho firefighter dad and his teammates.
This book is just over 200 pages, and a very quick read. Although the characters are somewhat stereotypical, I still liked the story because it explored the topics of homophobia and bullying from the angle of the perpetrator, and colored him with indecision, feeling very realistic to me. I would recommend it to all teen readers, especially sports fans and Volponi readers.