________________ CM . . . . Volume XVIII Number 35 . . . . May 11, 2012


Crossing Over. (Suddenly Supernatural, #4).

Elizabeth Cody Kimmel.
New York, NY: Little, Brown (Distributed in Canada by Hachette Canada), 2010.
252 pp., hardcover, $12.99.
ISBN 978-0-316-07369-1.

Subject Headings:
Mothers and daughters-Fiction.
Montreal (Québec)-Fiction.

Grades 4-7 / Ages 9-12.

Review by Dorothea Wilson-Scorgie.

*** /4



It was weird, because I had known Ben Greenblott, at least as a “hi” friend, for two years. We had been lab partners a couple of times in bio and always seemed to end up in most of the same classes. And for the first year and forty-nine weeks of that time, I’m sorry to say I barely noticed him at all. He just registered as regular and unremarkable in every conceivable way. Your basic nice guy whom everyone likes but who keeps a low profile.

Then out of the blue, about three weeks ago, just after school opened, I dropped my music in chorus, and Ben Greenblott picked it up for me. And as he handed it back, his regular brown eyes suddenly became hypnotic, velvety chocolate orbs. In about four seconds, the rest of him transformed from unmemorable to cupcake. I took in his jet-black hair, his caramel-colored skin, and his strong hands holding my copy of “Kumbaya.” The place behind my kneecaps went all squeaky. And I’ve been thinking about him, like constantly, every single day since.

So yeah. School trip. Best friend. Mothers who must not come into close contact with each other. Satellite Girls.

And the love of my eighth-grade life, who had no idea that I worshipped and adored him on a daily basis, or that I saw dead people almost as often.

As if navigating the social minefield of grade eight isn’t challenging enough, Kat Roberts has to deal with being a clairvoyant as well! Sharing her ability to see dead people with her free-spirited mother, Kat is learning how to help spirits cross over into the world beyond. While on a class trip to Montreal, Kat is faced with three challenging specters, and soon she finds that her French lessons come in handy in the strangest of circumstances. The question is, will she be able to help these souls while confined on the touring bus without coming across as a freak to her new crush, Ben? Little does Kat know that Ben has a whopper of a secret himself! Not only do Kat and Ben seem like a great love-match, but they also have the potential to be a stellar supernatural team. “Oh, snap” (p. 7)! Filled with youthful, and age appropriate “tween-speak” (i.e. pre-adolescent vocabulary), Elizabeth Cody Kimmel’s book provides a lighthearted, tween-friendly version of the recent supernatural trend found in popular young adolescents’ literature. For those who have been to Montreal, or those who are still dreaming of traveling there one day, Cody Kimmel deftly paints a picture in the mind’s eye of the major tourist attractions with knowledgeable accuracy. Cody Kimmel also successfully creates realistic early-teen characters who are unsure about their feelings and actions and who still need the support and advice from parental figures to solve their problems. Furthermore, in a very natural and up-to-date way, Cody Kimmel employs references to iPhones, text messages, and Google. The author’s acknowledgment of a modern tween’s way of life is evident, welcome, and sets the book in a very current context.

     Crossing Over progresses at a good pace and achieves an overall sense of balance in the story by opening and closing with the tour bus crossing the US-Canada borderline. The only possible drawback to this book that I could anticipate might be the potential range of audience appeal. Cody Kimmel’s book feels very specifically aimed at pre-teen girls: mother-daughter relationship issues, best friend issues, first crush issues, and popularity hierarchies. On one hand, while I have great reservations about selectively recommending this book for girls only, on the other hand, I cannot foresee any pre-teen boy taking the initiative to seek out this book on his own account.

On the whole, Cody Kimmel’s fourth installment in the “Suddenly Supernatural” series is entertaining, contemporary, and fun. Any young reader who has shown interest in the paranormal would enjoy this book. Personally, I’ll be keeping my eye out for any future volumes in this series!


Dorothea Wilson-Scorgie is currently a Teacher-On-Call in Victoria, BC, while also pursuing her MA degree in Children’s Literature at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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