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Crossing California by Adam Langer
Crossing California concerns three families who live on different sides of California Avenue in Chicago between 1979 and 1981. While the adults are often acting more childish, most of the novel revolves around the different adolescents. In the Rovner family, the father is a doctor who is struggling with his sexual identity, the mother is a psychologist who hate her patients, the son plays drums in a Jewish rock band and plans his sexual conquests, and the daughter is becoming a kleptomaniac. The less affluent Wasserstroms feature two daughters, one foul-mouthed and who always plays the lead in the high school play and the other a scholar who continually shocks her teachers by taking the unpopular side in every debate. Then there's the young black kid in love with one of the Wasserstrom girls and who is a budding filmmaker. Adam Langer's multidimensional characters and rendering of a specific time in American history has received many positive reviews. The San Francisco Chronicle says, "Crossing California is serious and heartfelt; it is also laugh-out-loud funny. Langer has created a tender blend of compassion, amusement and devotion."