Catherine Hernandez landed on my reading radar with her debut novel, Scarborough.
In Crosshairs, she employs a similar structure—a variety of voices, rooted in a city neighbourhood—but she sets her story in the near-future, when the climate crisis has worsened just enough to intensify today’s social inequities and injustices.
The fragmented feel of Scarborough boosts that story, a reminder to readers that this is a diverse community one can barely contain in a single volume; as little more than sketches, readers’ expectations are satisfied with simple arcs and resolutions.
Crosshairs delves deeper into the emotional experiences and lives of several queer community members (and allies), whose historical experiences of injustice are exacerbated by the climate emergency and related political tensions.
These deeper explorations, however, require an equal investment in bridging support between the related narratives; boosting the connective tissue–to solidify readers’ burgeoning investment in these characters–would have intensified the power that resides in their storylines.
Hernandez’s characters are consistently credible and the opening chapters of the novel are particularly engaging; readers who are already socially and politically engaged in justice work will recognize and respond to the validity of her arguments.
Crosshairs is a commentary on the present-day, with a near-future setting, and its intention—to galvanize readers to work for a different kind of future—is a laudable one.