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 cross-county 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 back home.
What I thought
Oh my goodness. At this point, I feel it’s safe to say that Bets has made it onto my list of all-time favorite literary characters. After having read Miss E., I was thrilled to see that there would be a follow-up story. And now here I am, I loved Cross Country so much, I’m hoping for more again!
What it comes down to is that Mr. Herberger just has a way with words, simply put. He has a way of describing things, places, people, feelings, etc. that, as a reader, you just get it. It helps, too, that these stories take place during a time period that I wish I could have experienced so much so that I feel almost nostalgic for it. I also really loved how relevant Bets’ coming-of-age feels today. Even though she grew up during a totally different time period, young adults (and grown ups) will find a lot of lessons to take away from this book, especially with everything going on in the world today.
Serious stuff aside, Cross Country is also a great adventure story. Who hasn’t dreamed about just picking up and driving across the country? Bets has some pretty epic adventures along the way–some fun, some not so fun–with a wonderful cast of characters I won’t soon forget. I love when even the secondary characters come to life, and Mr. Herberger didn’t let me down.
All in all, I loved Cross Country just as much, if not more than Miss E., and I know that I will read anything else Mr. Herberger publishes. Between all the times this book made me stop and think and all the times it was just plain fun, Cross Country brought Woodstock to life. I am always up for a story from Bets’ point of view, and this one was a pure delight to read!