Her novel Criss Cross, winner of the 2006 Newbery Medal, is a book of vignettes, illustrations, photographs, and poems about a group of four small-town teenagers.
"Writing in a wry, omniscient third-person narrative voice, Perkins deftly captures the tentativeness and incompleteness of adolescence", said Award Committee Chair Barbara Barstow. "In 38 brief chapters, this poetic, postmodern novel experiments with a variety of styles: haiku, song lyrics, question-and-answer dialogue and split-screen scenarios. With seeming yet deliberate randomness, Perkins writes an orderly, innovative, and risk-taking book in which nothing happens and everything happens."
Perkins' picture book Home Lovely was a runner-up for the Boston Globe–Horn Book Award. Her novel All Alone in the Universe was named an ALA Notable Book, a Booklist Editor's Choice, a Bulletin Blue Ribbon Book, and a Smithsonian Magazine Notable Book for Children.