Peter is a Cambridge don, widowed father of identical twins. Mina is a single mother, struggling to make ends meet with her call centre job and worrying about her wayward teenage sister. Both are miles apart, but their situations are similar. When their worlds collide after Peter drives his car into a tree stump and calls Mina’s insurance centre, they discover how much they have in common. They also learn about themselves, love, parenthood, and how small things can connect people.
Now firstly, I have to say that Crossed Wires is an adult book, not a teenage book, and it reads as such. Not that the content is graphic (I’d say at most the book would be rated a 12A), but in terms of its style. Crossed Wires is what I would call a gentle book. It’s character-driven instead of sensational, think of an indie character based film as opposed to an action blockbuster. The characters are utterly believable and completely sympathetic. The plot is also, for the most part, surprisingly plausible. The idea of two people meeting through a call centre is completely unlikely, but Rosy Thornton has injected exactly the correct amount of believability to their interactions, and created the right circumstances to allow their relationship to progress naturally.
A huge part of this book focuses on parenthood, which doesn’t necessarily alienate teen readers, as it’s done in an interesting and thought-provoking way. However, the slow pace, the seeming insignificance of the story, are things less common in young adult than adult literature. The book also felt, to me, a little bit too surgical. It was academic in its precision to detail, which dampened my interest in the storyline somewhat.
I do feel that many teens will enjoy Crossed Wires just as many adults will. It’s a masterful piece of writing, warm and hopeful. As long as teenage readers are aware that they are reading an ‘Adult’ novel, that the structure and writing style are rather academic, then I think they’ll find Crossed Wires an interesting read. It’s certainly beautifully written and deserving of praise.