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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Fast-Paced and Compelling, Crash Another Eerie Hit From McMann

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

For 16 years, Jules Demarco has led an unexceptional, even boring, little life.  She drives a totally obnoxious, completely embarrassing food truck to school, always smells like pizza, has few friends and couldn't get Sawyer Angotti to notice her if she set herself on fire.  As pathetic as all that seems, Jules wants it back.  She craves normal, even if her normal kind of sucks.  It's still better than the crazy she's going through now.  Every time she glances at a billboard, window or t.v. screen, she sees a terrifying vision—a crash, flames engulfing a building, nine body bags lined up in the snow.  Seeing things that aren't there can mean only two things:  either she's certifiable or people she knows are going to die.  Either way, she's screwed.  

Jules can't tell anyone about the vision.  Her family's under enough stress—they're struggling to keep their pizzeria open, dealing with Jules' father's obsessive hoarding, and just trying to survive from day-to-day.  Jules refuses to add to the load they're already carrying.  But what else can she do?  As the vision becomes ever more intense, ever more consuming, Jules knows she has to warn the fire's victims.  It's the only way to clear her head, the only way to (possibly) save the lives of nine people.  The problem is convincing the Angottis, the family with whom the Demarcos have been feuding for more than a century, that something terrible's going to happen to them.  The problem is doing it without sounding like a raving lunatic.  The problem is saving the boy she's loved since First Grade without losing him completely.  The problem is ... everything.  Absolutely everything.

While I've enjoyed all of Lisa McMann's YA novels, I knew after a chapter or two that her newest, Crash, would end up being my favorite.  And I was right.  The novel, the first in a new series, keeps the eerie feel that all of McMann's teen books have, but lightens the tone quite a bit.  Which is what made the difference for me.  Crash just has a warmth to it that the other books don't.  Jules' personality definitely contributes to that because even though she's plagued by numerous problems, she keeps her sense of humor.  She's self-deprecating, loyal, and protective—all admirable qualities that contribute to her immense likability.  And, while the idea of a teen using paranormal abilities to solve mysteries/save lives is nothing new in the YA genre, I thought Crash still had a hint of freshness to it.  Overall, it's a fast-paced, engaging story that's compelling, entertaining and surprising (at least at the end).  All that, for me, equaled a very enjoyable start to this new series.  I'm excited to see where it goes from here!  

(Readalikes:  Reminded me of the Wake trilogy [Wake; Fade; Gone] by Lisa McMann and a bit of The Body Finder [The Body Finder; Desires of the Dead; The Last Echo; and Dead Silence] series by Kimberly Derting)

Grade:  B

If this were a movie, it would be rated:  R for strong language (a dozen or so F-bombs, plus milder invectives), sexual innuendo and scary images

To the FTC, with love:  Another library fine find 


  1. This one sounds very different, but in a good way! I'll have to keep an eye out for it!

  2. I'll have to look this one up, it sounds really interesting.



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