Monday, January 21, 2013

Review: Crash by Lisa McMann

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.


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.


  1. I read this one over the weekend and really enjoyed it. It was certainly fast paced. I'm really looking forward to the next in the series because I actually think I'll like it even more than the first! And yes, the cover is awesome! So much better looking in person for sure.


    1. I'm glad you liked it too! I loved how quick it was. And my God, that cover. It's hypnotizing.

  2. Don't feel bad. Until you pointed it out I was too distracted by the amazing cover to notice it was part of a series either! lol And that second cover = awesome!

    I can't wait to read this one!

    Brandy @ A Little of the Book Life

  3. I've read Lisa McManns Wake trilogy and her novel Cryers Cross. I absolutely love her writing and I have been looking forward to reading Crash ever since I heard it was coming out. I didn't know that it was part of a series and my first look at the second book cover has me in love. I definitely like it more than the first and I just know that these books would look great on my shelf. I'm so glad that you enjoyed this book because I was hoping that it would be good. I feel like this one is going to be different from the other YAs I've read recently because a lot of them didn't introduce the characters relationship with their family. I'm excited to see how McMann does mental health because I've read quite a few novels that did not do it for me. Seeing as you liked how she did it I'm curious and excited for this read. Thanks for the great review.

  4. Sounds like an interesting read and I'll keep an eye for it (no pun intended haha). the cover is really beautiful.

  5. LMAO! I read a book that mentioned both milk toast and honey toast, so of course I had to immediately put it down, run into the kitchen, and make myself some. I feel your desire for that pizza, hehe.

    I have been wanting to read this book for a very long time now. It looks spectacular, and your review makes me all the more desperate to get my hands on it. What's stopping me, you ask? The first thing I saw that that beautiful cover was the thing you missed: Book One. Lol. I have literally cried after realizing I would have to wait for the next book to come out. Pathetic, I know. I was so mad at The Inheritance Cycle because I was sure it was only a trilogy. Got to the end of the third book and... nope. Four books. I was twitchy for almost a year, waiting for the next one.

    I am in full agreement on those covers. GORGEOUS. I don't like to judge book by their covers, but sometimes it's inevitable. There's this one book at the library that I pick up Every. Single. Time. Then I read the back and realize I would HATE it and put it back. This has been happening for months now. The cover is so pretty that I'm actually a little mad at the plot for not being just as attractive, haha. I'm really glad these covers mark nummy sandwiches with all the fixings ^_^.

    1. Really long comment O.o

      Sorry. Got carried away, haha.

  6. Ah I have to read this now! It makes me happy that it's going to be a series. Thank you so much for the review!

  7. I am pretty excited about this series! I actually just picked up her Dream Catcher series the other day. I fell in love with the cover of the book. Thanks so much for this mind blowing review! I am so ready to head out and grab a hold of this book now!

  8. I love Lisa McMann. I think she is a fantastic writer. Crash sounds like a fantastically creepy read. One of the most promising parts of the review for me? When you say she surrenders to the crazy! How could I pass that up? Thanks for the great review!


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