Children/Young Adult; General Fiction (including literary and historical); (Market)
Having her father away in Vietnam wasn't easy for Bets, but she soon discovers having him back home comes with its own set of problems. When a letter from her friend Emmie arrives along with a ticket to the Woodstock Music Festival, Bets has a tough decision to make. Should she stick it out back home or leave her problems behind for a cross-country adventure?
There's a lot happening in 1969, and figuring it all out is complicated. The people Bets encounters all have their own perspectives, each changing the way Bets thinks about the war in Vietnam, the problems America is dealing with, and her own problems at home.
Plot/Idea: 8 out of 10
Originality: 7 out of 10
Prose: 7 out of 10
Character/Execution: 8 out of 10
Overall: 7.50 out of 10
Plot: Herberger delivers another successful coming-of-age novel with protagonist Bets at the helm. The book delves into politics, racism, and the notion of patriotism without being too heavy-handed.
Prose: Bets poses a lot of questions to herself, which moves the plot along and gives the reader insight—however, this does become a bit repetitive. Still, the journey across the country is quite enjoyable.
Originality: Cross Country is a lovely coming-of-age novel that will resonate with many young adult readers. The idea of a cross-country trip to explore oneself is not very unique. But add to that the excitement and mood of the United States in the late '60s and readers of all ages will find the story interesting and thoughtful.
Character Development: The reader learns a lot about Bets and the strength of her character through her adventure. The character of the strong and willful Emmie is brought to the forefront as well.
Date Submitted: June 29, 2018
In this companion volume to Miss E., Herberger’s protagonist Bets is now 16 in the spring of 1969, and her Forestville, Calif., life has taken a difficult turn. Her father has returned from the Vietnam War changed: he suffers from nightmares and cannot be reached during emotionally distant moments. Although her relationship with her mother has improved in the last year, Bets dreads being at home. Then, her friend Emmie Hatcher sends Bets a ticket to the three-day Woodstock Music and Arts Festival slated for mid-August. Certain that her parents won’t let her go, she sneaks away and embarks on a cross-country road trip in a VW camper with Emmie and her acquaintance Seth, along the way gaining a new perspective and learning ways to affect change. Adventure and turmoil ensue as the trek brings them to new places and people, as well as the revelation that Seth is a disturbing presence, prone to anger and violence. Herberger transports readers back to a tumultuous, divisive time in American history through Bets’s journey of self-discovery. The narrative drags initially, and Bets’s first-person voice occasionally feels overly mature, but this follow-up offers a thought-provoking peek into a young hippie’s life of activism, peace, and love. Ages 12–up. (BookLife)