Review: Crash by Lisa McMann (is it just me, or are there a lot of books with this title?)
Rating: An intense and fast-paced ride that ends with a BANG.
If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first of four books from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.
Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.
What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.
The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.
In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.
I'm going to do a new thing where I judge a book by its cover before I judge it by its insides, because judging is fun, right? Plus, I love this cover. I wish you could see it in person. It is all shiny and metallic, and the fire glows all creepily, and the spine is gold and OH YEAH my copy is autographed. And that is why, as I was walking through a bookstore the other day, I stopped, stared at this book for a second, and then immediately picked it up. Basically, the cover sold it to me. As did the kickass synopsis.
Obviously, the insides are even more important in determining whether or not a book is fully worth buying. To fully butcher a metaphor, do you care more about the bread in a sandwich, or the actual sandwich? If you say the bread, you are not eating sandwiches correctly. And Crash is one delicious little sandwich.
It's short, zippy, and powerful. This book packs a punch. Jules is a girl whose whole life is her highly dysfunctional family, and that's not really by choice. Her father owns a pizza joint, and every day she and her siblings help out at the restaurant with deliveries and in the kitchen. I simply ADORED Jules' relationships with her brother and sister, particularly with her delightful older brother Trey. They really are her best friends, and it's so refreshing to read about such great sibling relationships in YA.
Things are tough for the DeMarco sibs, though, because not only do they spend all their free time elbow deep in tomato sauce, not only do they have to drive to school in a food truck with two giant meatballs on top, but they also have a father with deep psychological issues. And I mean deep. Their father is a severely depressed hoarder, and their grandfather killed himself after his war with a rival Italian restaurant got personal.
With all that wonderfully stable family history, it's no wonder Jules freaks out when she suddenly starts having violent visions.
I loved McMann's depiction of mental health. Loved, loved, loved. It's a topic that's close to my heart, and it's a tricky thing to deal with. I get really angry when books are too lenient with those who are mentally ill, but I also don't like it when books are too fast to condemn. McMann struck the right balance in Julia, an awesome, funny character whose bravery is commendable. Jules is a hoot even when she's totally nutso (actually I liked her best when she was like I DON'T GIVE A SHIT IF I'M CRAZY ANYMORE, Imma do what I want for once get the FUCK out of my way bitches).
She's mildly pathetic at times-- she is ridiculously in love with a boy who hasn't spoken to her in years, and she has no friends besides her siblings-- but you get why those things are true. And like I said, I loved her voice, except, perhaps, for all the "oh my dogs" and "honest to dog". That one little joke got old after the fifteenth time, but seriously. Nit pick.
So Jules is seeing this one vision of a horrible crash. She sees it everywhere. It's basically screaming at her from every reflective surface. She can't escape it. It's not till she realizes that the boy she's loved since first grade, Sawyer Angotti, will die if her vision becomes reality that she decides to do something about it. But Sawyer isn't just the boy she loves. He's also... wait for it... the son of the guy who owns Angotti's, the rival Italian restaurant that drove Jules' grandpa to suicide and pushed Jules' dad into his current bitter, mentally unstable state. Draaaamaaaa.
(Also: this book made me so hungry. I've been craving pizza like mad since I read it. It isn't even about pizza, or anything, but pizza is always there, in the background, and there was always a part of my mind going, "Hey, you know what would be great to have while I'm reading? A piece of pizza. Just for research's sake.")
Jules and Sawyer are forbidden to speak or interact in anyway, but Jules is determined to stop the vision, even if it means surrendering to the crazy. And oh, I loved when she surrendered to the crazy. The pacing of this book is truly brilliant. I love me some super long epics, but it was utterly refreshing to pick up a slender volume and blaze right through it in a matter of hours. And yet it didn't feel rushed. There was time to breathe and time for Jules to think. I probably could have used a few more Sawyer scenes, because I never really felt I got to know him very well, and his personality isn't the type that really pops. I would have loved one or two flashback scenes where we really got to see Jules and Sawyer interacting. But he's appropriately dreamy, and I cared about him because of how much Jules did.
You know, sometimes I can be really dense (I have shocked you, I'm sure). I spent a long time staring at the front cover going "OOH SHINY *touchtouchtouch*". Do me a favor and scroll back up to take a look at it. See the part where it says Visions: Book One? And yet, after all that staring and poking, I didn't. See it, I mean. Till I got to the very end of the book, where I thought it was all about to wrap up, not perfectly nicely or anything, as there is still major family drama and Jules' dad is still, you know, sucky, but then there is a MAJOR MAJOR cliffhanger/shocker/DUN DUN DUNNNN moment and I was like:
Seriously. Book Two. Come to me. NOW.
|ESPECIALLY SINCE THIS IS THE COVER AND |
IT'S EVEN BETTER THAN THE FIRST
Yes, that's a bullet hole though an eyeball. It's AWESOME.
Note for people who like notes about these things: There's language in here (and in my review... sorry about that) and one surprisingly mature scene, but just the one. There's also violence (hence the fire on the cover) and portrayal of mental illness. Just so's you know.
|Enjoy your pizza.|