Crossing the line

Crossing the line by Tia Fisher

Crossing the line cover

Erik’s life has been falling apart ever since his dad died. Homework and being good at school stop feeling important when you’re the new man of the house. When Erik’s bad behaviour attracts the wrong crowd, he’s sucked into a terrifying new world of drug dealing, trap houses and violence.

Making money feels good but Erik soon learns that a small favour can become a huge debt.

And when his sisters’ lives are threatened, Erik will have to cross one more line to save them.

Written in stunning verse, this is a poignant story about seeking safety and asking for help in times of crisis.

(from Waterstones)


Madeleine Y8 Ardingly

29th November 2023 at 12:11 pm

I really enjoyed Crossing the line as its not the normal type of book I’d pick. I found the plot interesting and hard to put down. I thought that the story was very fast paced in the best way possible and it just got right into the story which I loved. I really liked how it opened with a question as it felt as if they were talking to you. I also loved the way it felt so real and it really made me enjoy it even more. So overall I thought it was a great book and I would definitely recommend it to a friend!


29th November 2023 at 10:57 am

Although it’s not something I would normally read, based on the topic, Crossing The Line was very interesting and amusing the whole way through. I would recommend it for ages 12-14 because it has a lot of information for young teenagers with some violence involved in the book. I loved the ending but once you read it, you’ll understand where I’m getting at!

Cameron, Year 9

28th November 2023 at 11:01 am

Crossing The Line by Tia Fisher is a unique and exciting book. I really enjoyed the writing style, it made the book a very easy read and helped to familiarise myself with the dark topics covered in this book. I learnt about how vulnerable teenagers can be to county lines and the temptations to start to be involved in gangs. This book gives you an insight into what a teenager’s life can look when you are struggling with money. Overall, I think that Crossing the Line is a great book and anyone teenaged must read it because you will learn so much from this incredible book.

Edward Y9

28th November 2023 at 11:00 am

I really enjoyed this book as it relates to a lot of teenagers in this world, and how they might be turned to run around for gangs, just because they don’t have enough money. This book really helps identify this issue. Also this book is very emotional in the sense that his dad died during covid, and his mom got pregnant twice with a man who ran away. This book really shows the struggles that some families can go through, and it really shows how you need to speak to someone if you’re ever insecure about something.

I also really enjoyed the layout of this book, in how the words on the sentence/paragraph would correspond to the text layout of the words itself, for example if a sentence would include the word fall or down the text would shift down, and also if there was an image the text was picturing in would somehow be encrypted onto the page in a really cool manner. In overall this was an incredible book with great meaning, and definitely my favourite out of the five.

Livy S Yr9

24th November 2023 at 12:40 pm

Crossing the line is a very powerful book. I think while there aren’t many words, they say a lot about modern problems. I think this book contrasted the other four SSBA shortlisted books perfectly due to it’s drug theme. The way the page was laid out was odd and because of this, I found the book even more interesting and hard to put down. Throughout the book, Erik loses his sense of self progressively and it is sad to think that this is because of his family life. I personally have no experience dealing with anything like what Erik had to deal with, so this book was great way to capture a sense of what some people’s lives are like. The twists and turns in this book help make it so engaging and I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed how the book ended on cliff hanger and therefore leaving room for a sequel. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fast paced action books with danger!

Hannah A, Year 9, Ardingly

23rd November 2023 at 10:23 am

Crossing the Line was certainly an interesting book to read. The layout and verse was not something I was used to, and made me dislike the book at first. However, as I went through the book, I started to look at it in more depth and tried to understand the stories of what the MC was going through. The themes are heavy and talks a lot about how different situations can cause a huge impact on one’s mental health. Due to reading this book, I have learnt far more about County Lines and how vulnerable teenagers such as Erik can be easily swept into it. This book helps spread awareness about such situations and how you can never know what someone is going through. Crossing the Line was a fast paced, uncommon book that navigates the reader through many problems that people face in real life and I enjoyed the tension and eventually the style of this book.

Emily, Yr 9

18th November 2023 at 10:27 pm

Although it’s not something I would normally read based on the topic, Crossing The Line was very good and was interesting the whole way through. I’d recommend for ages 12-14 just because it’s informative to young teens with some violence involved.
I loved the ending, once you read it, you’ll know what I mean!

“Do you feel safe” such a powerful book!

Bella St Paul’s year 8

16th November 2023 at 1:51 pm

This is an amazing book where every page is full of you asking yourself questions and wanting to know what’s next. The question that the book asks you ‘do you feel safe?’ Sticks with you throughout the book. This book really makes you think and realise how lucky we are to feel safe just walking around town and not having to worry about what or who could be following us. It shows along with the stress of school how the main character has to deal with the stress of not being safe and having to lie to your loved ones.

Seb Ardingly Y8

15th November 2023 at 12:08 pm


I have enjoyed reading Crossing the line; I think it is an amazing book and it sends a great message to kids.
I think my favourite part was when Erik’s family gets threatened and he tries to get out of the gang.

I think Erik is a great character and I love all the metaphors and similes about his life and what was really amazing was the domino metaphors they really caught my eye whilst reading Crossing the line

If I could rate it it would be a 9/10 definitely would recommend to people aged 13 and above as it is has a very powerful message behind it.

Shota – Ardingly College

15th November 2023 at 10:53 am

Crossing the line is a fantastic book as it talks about the problems and consequences of dealing with drugs. It shows how drugs can have a huge impact on your life.

This book is also unique because there aren’t many words but instead there are meaningful messages behind the story. The pages are short so it makes it fast paced and interesting.

At the start, it is shown that the father dies and that Erik is left with twins and his mom. His mom’s boyfriend leaves which leads to Erik being recruited by a gang that uses drugs and money to make profit and make money. Erik needs this money because he needs to support the family but at a huge cost.

My favourite character is Erik because in the story, he goes through many journeys and has to face tough challenges and decisions to decide his future. He is also a bit of a strange character because he tries to save his mom with money but doesn’t think about what would happen if she found out about her son doing drugs.

I would definitely recommend this story to others because it teaches a big lesson on what decisions you should make in life and if they are worth the risk or not. It is about Erik’s life, and how he changes it.


15th November 2023 at 10:44 am

I found Crossing The Line a good but complex book, which talks about Eric’s hard experiences in life, such as the bullying in school and out, which is quite hard hitting. But on the whole, I did enjoy reading this book, as it talks about first hand criminal experiences, and what happens if you don’t do something about it.


15th November 2023 at 10:43 am

I really enjoyed Crossing the line because of its unique style of writing that kept me guessing to the very last page. The style of writing is also very fast paced so there were no long descriptive pages and it got straight to the point which I like because it’s just more enjoyable to read. I liked the main character as well(Erik). I thought he was a strong strong character and was willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family.
I would recommend this to everyone 13 and above


15th November 2023 at 10:40 am

Crossing the line was a great book to read. Eric has gone through a very tough life through a couple of years of school. His dad died and that was the downfall- his whole world had ended and his mother stressed to the point of ice. In year seven he already had people bullying him. Then when he moves up the years he falls down a bad hole of drugs and gangs for ‘easy money’. What he doesn’t know is that he can’t get out- once you’re in you’re in. His Mum falls into a trap of having twins which made her desperate. Eric once again had to step up and be the man of the house. So much confusion in his life. The breaking point for him and the gang is when he was asked to deliver a gun without realising it. His life is damaged and broken. Could he once again Cross The Line. A great read, I really loved reading this book. Definitely a recommendation. This book helped me realise that life was not just happy. It’s a lot more complex. I realise that you and me could fall down that same rabbit hole.

Yashika Y8 Ardingly College

10th November 2023 at 8:47 am

This book, Crossing the Line, got much better, closer to the end. It was left on a cliff hanger, which gave room for a sequel. It sent out an important message. This could also be a good book for teaching people about County Lines. Overall, I think this was an interesting book that could teach a lot.


9th November 2023 at 10:10 am

Crossing The Line is an extremely engaging book and never has a dull moment. This book is about a teenage boy who is struggling and is unfortunately groomed into drug dealing. Throughout the book, he comes across many challenges.

He is also struggling with the loss of his Dad and having to help his mum with his siblings. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys engaging books.

Georgina and Leo, Downlands community school

1st November 2023 at 4:07 pm


Crossing the line is a book with many twists and turns, though there feels like there is an over looming sense of dread and uneasiness throughout it. This is portrayed through the incredible visual effects on the page, almost feeling scattered and unsure. You can tell Erik is losing his sense of self throughout the book, like he doesn’t feel happy within himself and he joined the ‘group’ for a sense of family and security that he wasn’t receiving at home. It progressed from mental problems from his fathers death to actual life threatening danger that made him to grow up too quickly. He has to be a second parent in the household, doing things that are risky to himself and his future, endangering him and his family while trying to protect them. It was also very interesting at the end when the book came full circle and at the end you could flip back to the first page and realise there was now more meaning to the beginning of the book. Overall the book has underlying themes of family and purpose in yourself.

Ivan, Ardingly

29th October 2023 at 7:15 am

Well I am not going to do a spoiler alert as the books before have done…
Drugs. You don’t get many books on this topic. Even more so on drug dealing. Erik had to go through a lot. All for a bit of money. But its not Eriks fault. Its Covids fault. If there had been no covid then eriks dad would have lived earning money making erik not go into drug dealing. Erik had to earn money though. And drug dealing “seemed” like easy money. 4 stars. The book is a bit too short

Pippa, Ardingly

26th October 2023 at 1:10 pm

I absolutely LOVED this book, I picked this book up and could not put it back down until I was done, I loved how it was written in verse and I think it makes the book very engaging, I loved reading it, loved the story line and found it had a very interesting ending on a cliffhanger, would recommend!

Ozzy, Ardingly

20th October 2023 at 9:23 am

Crossing the line is an excellent book that taught me about county lines, a topic I had never even heard about. The format keeps me interested the whole way through and adds a sense of rhythm or urgency when it gets exiting. The ending was amazing and left me on a right cliff hanger. Overall I think crossing the line is an exiting way to learn about a very important topic.

Fred, Ardingly

20th October 2023 at 9:20 am

Crossing The Line
Crossing The Line is a verry interesting and unique book, I loved the being put into interesting patterns with so much detail inside. The writing style was amazing, and I loved all the creative imagery like the splint that props him up or a knackered stone arch at the entrance this kind of thing makes the book more interesting. The characters were amazing to as I like the way a big part of Ravis personality is old songs which is adding another part to the character. I also thought the story was very good although it took a little while to get there, and I found the ending verry interesting as it was a major part of the story and I like the decision that Eric must make.

In my opinion I think that 13+ was an appropriate age group to read this book as it can get quite sweary at times. Overall, I thought it was a very good, fascinating and teaches a lesson in the end. This book is verry deserving of the book awards.

George, Ardingly

20th October 2023 at 8:43 am

Crossing The Line is a great book and I think it is really good for 12-15 year old kids who are having a rough life and want to make the right decisions. Tia Fisher has helped kids think about what decisions they make and when they need to. I really enjoyed this book and it brought out a whole different side of me. I definetly recommend this book to people that are interested.

Theo, Ardingly

15th October 2023 at 8:32 am


This book hits hard, the topics included are amazing at making a fair representation of real life in a story, and making you gasp with the horrible things that Erik has gone through, even up until the very end in which he loses everything he worked for because of a dept that has gone on for a long time, making him not able to escape the world of violence and gangs. when he is asked to transport a mysteries package, (containing a gun), which he refuses to transport, putting his sisters in risk

This book contains some things that will and are making things bad for young people all over the world, and shows the harsh reality; so fascinating and grim, this book was the highlight of my week.

Oliver, Ardingly

14th October 2023 at 10:24 am

Absolutely perfect! I loved this book, from the unique way it was written to the brilliant plot. The way the book is written makes it flow better, and the build-up of the character was brilliant. It was so good I recommended it to my family, and after my grandma read it, she is buying a copy for my cousin! I also love that there is a glimmer of hope at the end, meaning that you can hope for him and that there will be a happy ending. I also love how you could understand why Eric did it: it wasn’t because he was a stupid kid, it was because he was so desperate to help his family. This meant that the reader could identify with him more.

In conclusion, I believe that this is a brilliant book that I would recommend to anyone ! Thoroughly enjoyed, 5/5!

Tristan, Ardingly

12th October 2023 at 7:41 pm

I really enjoyed Crossing the line especially the unique style of pages. It was good because it managed to get loads of information onto one page, it also allows the readers to get all the juicy bits of information without having to endure endless pages of boring descriptions. I also like the main character (Erik) as he had a very strong personality and his mindset for protecting and providing for his family is admirable. All in all I really enjoyed crossing the line and think its a top book.


12th October 2023 at 7:28 pm

I really enjoyed crossing the line because of its unique style of writing kept me guessing to the very last page. The style of writing is also very fast paced so there was no long descriptive pages and got straight ti the point which I like because its just more enjoyable to read. I liked the main character as well(Erik). I thought he was a strong strong character and was willing to do whatever it takes to protect his family

Chris Y8

11th October 2023 at 11:58 am


I’m not a big reader, I pick up a few books and often leave them on the second chapter or so. But there are a select few books I have not been able to put down until the very end, this is one of them.

Crossing the line is a brilliant book focusing around the question ‘Do you feel safe?’ which is a question which definitely flows through the book. Erik is seemingly a normal boy just like the rest of us really but when his father dies things take a turn for the worst. His life falls apart his grades start to slip, he starts acting erratically and that’s when he starts to get involved…

I connected with this book for the fact that not only does it have a strong and beautifully written story, but it also is a great piece of information showing that just because things are going well for you you can also get caught up in it. It acknowledges that fact and shows it is a problem that needs to be dealt with.

Rodrigo Y8 Ardingly

11th October 2023 at 11:47 am


Crossing the line was definitely a really interesting book to me due to the whole idea of Erik having a double life as well as the plot. Although I did find some parts a bit dark for example the end of the book when the dog is poisoned and the part where Mikey is attacked by a gang. Overall I did enjoy this book due to the writer’s method of story telling and the twists and turns throughout the book.

Jauhara, Year 8 Ardingly College

10th October 2023 at 9:36 am

Erik yearns to have money, he wants to walk into a shop and buy Air forces without looking at the price tag. Unfortunately he’s the opposite of that, and his family don’t even have enough money for their next meal. It’s not much better at school, the teachers don’t like him as he tends to talk back. But he’d do anything to have money. Anything. Be careful what you wish for though, sometimes you get what you want but for a terrible price. Now he’s tangled up in a web of drugs and death threats, no way is safe. His mum would roast him alive if she found out and the gang would kill him if he quit. The thing is, deep down Erik isn’t a bad person, he’s just scared after his dad died, leaving him the man of the house. Personally , I didn’t like this book, it was quite boring in the middle and didn’t have a kick of adventure in my opinion


9th October 2023 at 10:09 am

–Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher–
After Erik’s dad passed away, the family’s money has been very tight and as well as two new members of the family Erik must hide his difficulties behind bad behaviour and choosing the wrong choices.
Erik’s soon becoming worse, losing loyal friends, school grades dropping and hanging out with the wrong people. Skipping school turns into shoplifting which eventually turns into selling drugs.
It is easy at first, providing money for his mother and twin sisters but turns into hard work and providing a easy chance of being arrested. Erik tries to escape the drug life but his sisters’ lives are threatened and Erik knows he has nothing left to do but continue making bad decisions.

This book is great for someone who likes a fast-paced book which keeps you interested!!!

Zach (Y8 Ardingly)

9th October 2023 at 10:06 am

This book is about a boy called Eric who lived a brilliant life until his dad died, his world turned upside down and he is thrown into a world of drugs.
This book includes bullying, drugs, gangs, lying constantly and threatening.
I love this book because it explains why to not get into drugs, but sadly this book was based on a boy from the real world.
Personally I would rate this book a 4.5/5

Moss from SRWA

7th October 2023 at 9:11 am

This book is amazing and although fast to read it is entertaining and something that you want to pick up and read, I literally read it in 2 days and I still understood it, it is so creatively written and the words look beautiful on the page. Warning, it contains some triggering parts.

Bertie, year 8 SRWA

4th October 2023 at 12:59 pm

Amazing book, highly recommend; not very satisfying end. Could actually be quite scarring!

Grace, Ardingly

29th September 2023 at 8:09 am

I really loved this book! I loved how pretty much the whole story is about one question. Do you feel safe? I also loved how Erik thinks about the whole situation and how personal it is to him. I also love how he starts to sell drugs to pay for his family (mum, twins and him). He (luckily) finds a way out of the world of trickery into one that he loves, finally feeling safe after trying to escape for so long. If I saw this book on the shelf in the library I would probably not have picked it up but I am so glad that I did.

Lizzie, Year 9 Ardingly College

28th September 2023 at 7:47 pm

This book was truly mind-blowing. It follows the story of a teenage boy, and really highlights the terror of being involved in drugs, or anything like that. It is heart-breaking to follow as Erik’s mum gives birth to twins, and watching her and Erik raise the babies shines a light on the horrors that poverty is. Poverty is usually thought of as homelessness and things like that, but this book is a prime example of all types of it. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys stories about drugs and troubles, and I overall just adored this book.


27th September 2023 at 1:35 pm

Do you feel safe? Crossing the Line by Tia Fisher is a young adult verse novel which explores the life of Erik, a fourteen-year-old boy has fallen into the world of drug dealing and violence but struggles to get out. Life’s gone downhill since Erik’s dad died. His single, widowed mother with two baby twins to care for, neglects Erik which makes the new sense of welcome and belonging gangs have to offer seem tempting. He unknowingly falls deeper and deeper into this life of crime until he realizes he’s trapped in his cage of lies and betrayal. He’s then determined to break free.

My favourite feature of the book is how the author repeatedly refers to the buyers as “cats hunting for their grub.” My favourite metaphor from the tale is, “fishing in the city’s stagnant pools, my hook is baited with words: Need anything, mate? Later, when my burner buzzes, I know I’ve got a bite.”

I’ve really enjoyed this book as it’s an easy, quick read with such a developed, detailed plot. It explores the aspects of personal problems reflecting on overall attitude and how easy it is for young people to be lured into the life of crime. I would strongly recommend it as it’s written in verse which makes it enticing and fun as on some pages it requires you to turn the book around and read in circles and different shapes. This book successfully displays how easy it is for young people to fall into gang activity, the dangers of trying to get out and it exhibits the bravery of asking for help and seeking safety.

Lucy, Ardingly College Year 9

26th September 2023 at 1:59 pm


Crossing the line delves into the controversial topic of drugs and bad decisions. Topics covered in PSHE that nobody gives a second thought to. Topics that you never think will affect you. It shows how lives can fall apart and how lies mount on top each other.

When Erik’s dad dies, his Mum crumbles. After a romance she thought was true, she is left with 2 twins and Erik, who has already been bullied in secondary school. Without knowing it, Erik falls into the dark world of county lines and gangs, all for the cash his family so desperately needs. When the lives of both him and his sisters are threatened, he knows he has crossed the line and struggles to find a way to back out. That is when it properly dawns on him that this world is not as great as it seems, and it is too late. He believes he has ruined everything: his running, his school career, his friendships and the trust people have in him. But help is closer than he realises and, thanks to forgiveness and love, he finds a way out of the world of manipulation and trick and into a one of his choice, finally feeling safe after running for so long.

This book is written in verse, making it a fast paced, gripping read. I have never read anything written like it, as the book requires you to turn the page, and the book, to find out what happens. In a diary like style in the point of view of Erik, it gives a personal touch and helps the reader understand how people can fall but also how they can rise. This book is very current and helps show how at large, and dangerous, drugs are and how the world is not so black and white.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes fast paced, unique books and guarantee you will not have read anything like it. Tia Fisher has masterfully perfected the art of touching the difficult topics in an approachable yet eye-opening way and shows there is always a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, how there is always help when you need it. This book tells the tale of what Erik became, and how he changed his fate.

Graham, Ardingly

26th September 2023 at 9:42 am

I have really liked this book and I like the SSBA scheme. The short pages keep you interested. Overall I have really enjoyed this book.


26th September 2023 at 9:41 am


In the beginning we learn that his father died, then his mum finds a boyfriend which makes his mum give birth to twins. The boyfriend then leaves the mum, making the main character go into depression and join a gang; from there he sells drugs to get money to help his mum but he ends up owing money that he never pays back which puts his twins in danger. In the end he has help from his best friend’s dad to move far away.

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