Kendall Huffman begins her senior year in high school unaware that she will have to adjust to a life alone without her boyfriend who leaves her and her best friend who dies of cancer in November. Crossing Six is the story of a young person forced to rely on herself after losing the support of two of the most important people in her life. More
Kendall Huffman begins her senior year of high school unaware that the challenges that await her test her sense of self, and she must face those challenges alone. Crossing Six is the story of a teen forced to examine her beliefs and values without the companionship of her boyfriend, Brad, who betrays her and, more importantly, without the guidance and love of her best girlfriend from childhood, Sherri, who dies of cancer four months after school starts. Set in the rural Ohio town of Dunn, the novel describes people whose lives can’t help but overlap, a place where kindness and cruelty is magnified, especially in the lives of its young people. The protagonist’s self-respect and confidence is shaken with alarming speed and intensity. As she says in her graduation speech, “… it’s like I’ve had to learn all over again how to eat by myself, how to walk by myself, how to live by myself. I’ve been a child twice in this place; once is enough for most people, but I guess I’m a slow learner.” Along her way she also struggles as her parents, divorced since she was young, find new partners; her cross country season ends in disappointment; and her next closest friend, Misty, belittles and antagonizes her. She even becomes so depressed as she finds and loses friends while trying to deal with Sherri’s death that she cuts herself until she receives help from a psychologist. By the end of high school, however, she shows courage and self-awareness in her same speech as she says, “…I know that everyone knows everyone else’s business in a small town but that’s how it is with families, and my school and my town are more like a family than bigger schools and bigger towns. I’ve come in second place here all through high school: vice president for four years; next best girl runner in cross country; and now salutatorian. But I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished, both with others and by myself. You know that song that says because of you I’ve changed for the better? Well, because of Dunn I’ve changed for the better too, but also for the worse. I’ve been just as selfish and sarcastic and spiteful as the losers in this place. But with the help of the people who know better, I’ve become independent and self-confident.”
Crossing Six is a mirror of the absurdities of small town high school life, as well as the poignant moments that only people who have known each other from kindergarten to senior farewell can share. Kendall might have been suffocated by loss and small town mentalities, but through her own efforts and with the help of others she finally accepts, she prevails.
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