Cover image for Tightrope
Cross, Gillian.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Holiday House, 1999.
Physical Description:
216 pages ; 22 cm
When she begins receiving bizarre threatening messages from someone who seems to know her every move, teenage Ashley, after seeking help from the neighborhood tough guy, comes to realize that she alone can end the stalker's reign of terror.
Reading Level:
550 Lexile.
Program Information:
Accelerated Reader AR MG 4.2 8.0 41260.

Reading Counts RC High School 4.9 14 Quiz: 19677 Guided reading level: NR.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Young Adult Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Ashley finally realizes she alone can end a stalker's reign of terror.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 7^-12. Ashley is a generally good-hearted teenager with an edge. To offset grueling hours spent caring for her arthritic, invalid mother, she has taken to daredevil stunts that keep her from dwelling on happier days. Scaling walls and tagging them with graffiti in her gang-infested neighborhood keeps her on the brink of real trouble--until she defaces the local grocery store and captures the attention of Eddie, the local gang leader, who has uncanny control over his peers. Temporary involvement with the gang teaches Ashley about misplaced loyalties and her own fortitude. Without profanity or gratuitous violence, Cross convincingly depicts a seedy underworld of young people, striving more to relate a suspenseful story than to argue a point on gangs or virtue. Although Cross tells the story mostly from Ashley's perspective, she gives it additional texture by effectively using first-person observations from minor characters at the end of each chapter. A novel with enough nuances to keep readers engaged. --Roger Leslie

Publisher's Weekly Review

Impeccable plotting, a brisk narrative and complex characterizations make this latest from Cross (Wolf; Pictures in the Dark) a novel to read in a single sitting. Fiercely self-reliant Ashley is kept far too busy caring for her sick mother to bother with the more ordinary forms of teenage rebellion that abound in her seedy neighborhood. Her sole indulgence is graffitiÄpreferably in the most daring and difficult-to-reach locations possible. When she "tags" a store owned by an unpopular merchant and her browbeaten son, Ashley gains the notice of Eddie Beale, the charismatic gangster whoÄwith the help of his fire-eating girlfriend and a crew of sidekicksÄruns the area as if it were his private three-ring circus. Befriended, or so it seems, by this group of urban saltimbanques, Ashley's tightly wound existence begins to expand in new and unexpected ways. But Eddie is no Robin Hood, and beneath his ringmaster's dazzle lies a ruthless agenda. As Eddie's schemes fall into place, loner Ashley is forced to reach beyond her brittle independence and seek help from unexpected sources. The circus motif that runs throughout lends a shimmering touch of magical realism to this gritty urban tale. In the end, it is as much Ashley's emotional evolution as the more conventional elements of suspense that makes this story so engrossing. Ages 12-up. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 7-10-Fourteen-year-old Ashley's life is circumscribed by near poverty, her invalid mother's dependence upon her, and the insensitive attentions of her gossipy best friend. Ash finds solace from her grinding dailiness by scaling physical and artistic heights as a graffiti tagger in her shabby English neighborhood. By day she is virtuous and shy, but her nocturnal activities are her secret pride and she is sure that no one will guess her identity as "Cindy." But after she scales the neighborhood grocery and leaves her tag, someone starts leaving her threatening notes-and worse-at home, addressed to Cindy. Ashley finds protection with a neighborhood gang run by a 30-something fellow who seems to have salvaged other imperiled teens and adults, too. She becomes friendly with one of the gangster's young minions, believing that she will find help in unmasking the stalker. This is excellent and swiftly paced storytelling. Although Ashley is the only fully realized character, her story will attract general YA readers as well as inveterate thrill seekers. Each chapter concludes with a page or two of narrative from the vantage point of one of the supporting characters, allowing readers to anticipate Ashley's revelations without giving away the thrilling climax. Briticisms in no way intrude on the immediate apprehension of scenes, activities, or vivid details. A taut and exciting read that will prove a ready booktalking prospect.-Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley Public Library, CA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.