James M. Roberts
Koehler Books (2018)
Reviewed by Jennifer (YA Reviewer) for Reader Views (02/19)
If I were asked to describe “The Crossroads of Logan Michaels” by James M. Roberts, using only one word, I would have to choose “real.”
From beginning to end, this book is a great example of real life. If you haven’t experienced some (or all) of the challenges faced by the Michaels family as the kids grow up and the parents grow apart, just give it time and you will. I laughed and cried, felt sympathy, anger, and happiness as I read. This book will show you what can happen when you choose to follow the paths that lead to alcoholism, drug addiction, arrest, or one of many other consequences.
Logan and Jared Michaels are born into a middle-class family, with parents who are working to give them everything they need to be successful in school and sports. The boys both show promise, especially Logan. As Logan gets older and excels in baseball and basketball, it looks as if he has the world on a string. Until life happens, grandparents die; parents divorce, friends change, and bad choices cause hard times.
When the going gets tough, Logan turns to a variety of substances to help him avoid dealing with his feelings head on. As a result, his relationships with his father and brother suffer. His mother is filled with fear and worry. Logan literally throws away every opportunity he’s been given. However, as much as he does to hurt her, mostly unintentionally, Marie Michaels never gives up on her son. She is a great example of a hard-working and hard-loving mother who welcomes her prodigal son back each time with open arms.
In my opinion, Marie is the unsung hero of this tale. As her children begin to lead unhealthy and sometimes unlawful lives, her husband falls out of love with her and starts a new life with someone else, her memory goes back to her upbringing. The daughter of a mentally ill war veteran, Marie is raised poor and, for the most part, neglected. She vows to do better by her children and works incredibly hard to do so.
This young adult novel contains very graphic language, descriptions of sexual situations, and drug and alcohol abuse. I might suggest that you avoid it if those things would make you uncomfortable. However, these are real situations faced by almost every teenager that has ever been born, and in some ways, this book may give a little insight as to why some teens choose those paths. Honestly, this book made me think of my parents and the unconditional love they have shown me.