Author: Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Date of Publication: May 8, 2013
He stole her lipstick…and her heart.Twenty-year-old Dani Walker can’t believe her luck when she’s paired up with the gorgeous Liam Garrett as her Acting I scene partner – or when he ends up in her bed. Being a Plain Jane with a mouth on her hasn’t exactly served Dani well in the guy department. In fact, she’s had nothing but one night stands. Still, she lets go of her insecurities and falls for Liam, despite feeling like he’s holding something back.When Dani finally discovers Liam’s secret, she must learn the true meaning of accepting the ones we love for who they are, or risk losing the best thing that’s ever happened to her.Due to heavy subject matter, Crossing is recommended for readers 17+.
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My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Past one in the morning, I couldn’t sleep and decided to read something light. I recently got approved for Crossing over at NetGalley and vaguely remembering that it was a contemporary new adult romance, I delved right into it. Coupled with that wistful, swoony cover, I thought for sure I will enjoy the time I spend reading it while trying to lull myself to sleep. Then I got to the amazing blurbs and I knew I will enjoy for sure.
Enjoy I did! Dani’s that chubby heroine we rarely read about. She deadpans and delivers self-deprecating jokes. She’s witty and sarcastic, which wins all tons of nods and approvals from me. Maybe it’s because I am also chubby as well and I would love to read about a girl more like myself who wins that hot and cute guy in the end. What? A girl can dream!
Dani is so like me, with our body issues and our notions about how people belong to certain levels in the appearance scale and that they almost usually only date people on their levels. Dani’s funny, no, she’s hilarious and loud-mouthed and just so me. Some people tell her/us we’re insecure but she/we only tell the truth. I mean, there’s no sense in making herself/myself believe that she/we is/are not padded by some extra layers of fat here and there. She/we knows it, accepts it and moves on. I completely resonated with her because while I do wish I was skinnier, I accept the way I look and am too lazy to work out. She’s also the wingman kind of girl and I totally am and she’s the type who’s hag to the fag and I totally am. Our similarities are so abundant that I just felt like I was her (except for her well-endowed rack and rear). So you might say that I am completely biased because I feel for the character and maybe I am but the merits of this novel doesn’t stop there.
Dani and Liam’s interactions at the start of the novel had me giddy with glee. Liam keeps up with Dani’s sarcastic wit and I enjoy every single moment they’re together. Their acting class sure seemed like a blast and their smartmouthedness had me laughing so many times. And of course, the steamy scenes were steamy.
Then the secret was brought up and I was intensely curious to know what it was. I had no idea and unlike some others who’ve seen it coming, I completely had no clue. I guess it’s a culture thing as I’m not that familiar with that lifestyle. Do know that I’m pretty much on the liberal crowd of this conservative country (I am deeply grateful for my secular education) so this novel might not be for everyone. It’s hard to review this novel without spilling the secret Liam’s hiding but revealing it would be a disservice to the novel. The twist is so unique, which made this novel one-of-a-kind. I have never read anything like this. I thought I was in for your run-of-the-mill contemporary NA romance and I was so wrong. It delved into a lifestyle I never even knew before reading this and it had me googling and reading and understanding a lot. A whole lot. I was confused but now I am starting to understand.
So on that front alone, I thank you Stacey for making me a whole lot worldlier than I was a few hours ago. Dani and Liam’s relationship might not be what you consider normal but if it works, it works. I admire it all the more as this was inspired by a true story, Stacey’s own story. I think it takes a lot of courage to write something so personal as I know how much research writers do just to make everything feel organic. But here, you know she experienced these firsthand. Of course she admitted to taking some artistic liberties and embellished it for public consumption but to come up with a novel from your own experience is courageous as it is.
For the characters, it’s obvious I love Dani and Liam. If you’re wondering about the depth of Dani’s character, fret not as her backstory had me want to hug her. It wasn’t explored that much but it wasn’t glossed over too. Stacey put the right amount of spotlight on her past but had the story moving along to more pressing issues at hand. I love Dani’s roommate Elizabeth too and all of her wise words and how she nudges Dani to the right decisions and directions, without intruding at all, giving her the space and making her decide for herself. Brynn’s the very understanding and spunky sister Liam could ever ask for and all the theater people were awesome. India, however hateful, quite redeemed herself in the end. I love how much this novel promotes individuality and being who you are, accepting and living your identity. I think it sends a nice message to anyone reading it.
All in all, I recommend this to any YA or NA readers who want something fresh, something new. With a winning and completely relatable (at least for me) and relating heroine who breaks molds with her plus size, it was completely not what I expected at one in the morning but turned out to be what I completely needed to read without me even knowing it. It entirely took me by surprise and I thank and love my insomnia-induced hunger for reading that led me to this wonderful novel. Righteous! *wink* Ursula reference *wink*
About Stacey Wallace Benefiel
Stacey Wallace Benefiel is the author of the Zellie Wells trilogy, the Day of Sacrifice series, The Toilet Business – a collection of humorous essays, Found (Penny Black #1), CROSSING, and multiple short stories. She sometimes goes by S.W. Benefiel or Reina Stowe, but knows she’s not foolin’ anybody. Stacey lives in an orange house in Beaverton, OR with her two young children, and their old, smelly dog Chiefie Beefers.