At sixteen, Morgan Lindstrum has the life that every other girl wants--at least from the outside. A privileged only child, she has everything she could ever want, except her parents' attention. A Princeton physicist and a high-powered executive, they barely have any time for each other, much less for Morgan. Then her beloved grandfather dies, depriving Morgan of the only stable figure in her life. If that's not enough, she suddenly finds out he was never her grandfather at all. To find out the truth about her family, Morgan makes her way to Brooklyn, where she meets Terence Mulvaney, the Irish immigrant father who her mother disowned. Morgan wants answers; but instead of just satisfying her curiosity, Mulvaney shows her the people in his condemned tenement building, who are suffering and have nowhere to go. He challenges her to help them, by tearing away the veil of shame, and showing her wealthy parents and her advantaged circle of friends a world they don't want to know exists. The temptation to walk away from this ugly reality, as her mother did, is strong. But if she does, can Morgan ever really leave behind what she learned when she crossed into Brooklyn?
Crossing Into BrooklynFeatured
Brilliantly Realistic YA full of grit and hope
Crossing Into Brooklyn ventures into a smorgasbord of important discussions from gender issues to socio-economic prejudices to highly dysfunctional families. The author, Mary Ann McGuigan, does a remarkable job of presenting realistic situations of societal issues that demand attention in an open, inclusive manner that never overwhelms the reader. Morgan’s journey is not one all have experienced, but her story and the stories of the characters around her are certainly relatable for many and eye opening for others.
This book is riddled with unlikable characters, all of which are tremendously frustrating but also brilliantly realistic. Readers who thirst for stories that contain all the grit, messiness, angst, and hope of humanity should pick this one up immediately. I often found myself wanting to pound my fist down on the table in anger at the characters, but the story provokes the anger and even annoyance in the best possible manner to cause the reader to reflect on why those emotions surface and to encourage the reader to take a closer look at the situation.
The plot drags a little in areas, but the descriptions of Brooklyn life and the characters are usually worth the slower pace. The ending is not for those looking for a happily-ever-after, but it does contain the perfect mixture of good and bad that life often leaves people with in real life. Some areas, particularly the romance, left me feeling a little dissatisfied, but once again, I couldn’t ask for a more true to life story line.
Perfect for readers who seek very realistic young adult novels, Crossing Into Brooklyn will break hearts with human heaviness but leave just the right amount of hope to keep going. Though the story has its flaws, I am overjoyed to read this excellent example of how to use unlikable characters to their fullest and best extent.