Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Crash and Burn


Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan
3/5 stars*
Balzer + Bray, 2013
532 pages
YA Contemporary

Source: Received an ARC from Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

My rating has an asterisk next to it because while this is personally not my kind of book, I think the quality of its writing and what it tackles is very impressive. I didn't like it because of the content and the characters. We're talking profuse cursing, drugs, and sexual language and activities. If I provided an excerpt in my reviews, I'm not sure I would be able to share one that was suited for all ages. As for the characters, I never really warmed up to Crash. I thought he was a lazy selfish jerk and though I sympatheized with him over his even worse father and the problems caused by his ADHD, I did not like him. Still I think this book is quite majestic.

The plot centers around Crash (full name Steven Crashinsky) and Burn (full name David Burnett) whose lives have overlapped and intersected from elementary school up to high school when Burn brings guns and bombs to school and Crash stops him, saving more than a thousand people. But to get the full story of how Crash halted him, you need the full story of all those years.

I thought the themes explored were fascinating and when Crash and Burn were interacting, I was gripped. But then there are the moments when Crash was crudely discussing women and what he could get from them or when he was high (and he's high an awful lot) and I just wanted to shake him. I'm pretty clean-cut so while I recognize that these elements come from real-life, they're very far from my real-life (and that's how I like it).

My big lingering question from this book though is about the audience. I know there are a lot of bookish people like me who don't like that kind of content and will possibly pass over the book because of that. I found the voice compelling but I couldn't recommend it to anyone who might be offended by the contents (and that encompasses many of the people to whom I usually recommend books). And I'm sure there are also a lot of people who could empathize with Crash but those people aren't going to pick up a 500+ page book (Crash sure wouldn't).  So who exactly is the audience?

Overall: Again I do want to stress that I think this book is an impressive accomplishment; it's just not the kind of book that really speaks to me.

Other Opinions:
A Girl, A Boy, and a Blog
Enjoy a Book
Stacked

26 comments:

  1. This is one that I was curious about, but it seem like a book that I might not enjoy so much. I don't mind the drug and alcohol use in some books, but not like this from it sounds like. Thanks for sharing it. Great review.

    Jenea @ Books Live Forever

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind drinking for age-appropriate people but these guys started when they were about 13 and never let up-it's just not my kind of story!

      Delete
  2. "But then there are the moments when Crash was crudely discussing women and what he could get from them or when he was high (and he's high an awful lot) and I just wanted to shake him."

    My mother in law reviewed this for the blog, and that's exactly what she had trouble with as well. She said she said it was just a touch too overdone for her taste, but she, like you, enjoyed the interactions between Crash and Burn and the dynamics of their relationship. Really fabulous review!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I thought Crash and Burn were really dynamic characters when they played off each other but was less interested when the other characters popped up.

      Delete
  3. The question of audience is a good one, and we'd be curious to see what the author and/or publisher think the answer is...

    Anyway, this was a great review. Sounds like an intense but important read.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It was so intense! I would love to know who the publisher is marketing this to...not sure how this popped up on my radar but I'm glad I gave it a try.

      Delete
  4. This sounds like a very interesting read. I've never heard of this before, but I would love to see how the drug use is incorporated into the story. Great review! You've put this book on my radar :)

    Janina @ Synchonized Reading

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to bring it to your notice-hope it is a great read for you!

      Delete
  5. I've read fabulous reviews about this book. I saw it in the library and picked it, but then i didn't check it out I don't know why. The story sounds interesting but... I don't know why it doesn't call to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Some parts of the story are great; others drag-it's a mixed bag.

      Delete
  6. I had decided that this was a "not for me" book, based on the description and the length and then reading a few pages. Gave it to my teen reviewer who said that the pace was too slow and nothing was happening.

    Glad to read a more in-depth review. I do love stories about guy friendships. I don't mind mature content. The idea of friendship being able to get someone off the wrong track is interesting to me.

    I'm getting pretty good at predicting which books I will like (or not) but I do like to keep an open mind. I still have my copy -- maybe I'll give this a try again.

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are definitely some slow moments but I thought some great parts between the guys. It's just such a big time investment when there are so many other books out there.

      Delete
  7. I like the guy friendships aspect and that the quality writing and issues, but I might just have to try a few pages and see if it is for me

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Definitely give it a try-it might surprise you!

      Delete
  8. I have this one lined up to read, so I'm a little worried now. I am clean-cut too, but I have become more open to reading drug-related content as I age.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I don't mind it when the characters are age-appropriate; it just bothers me in YA content.

      Delete
  9. Nice review. I don't mind all the "bad" content if you will. I'm one of those people that read adult books when I was younger all the time, so not much shocks me. It's a good thing to warn people though, just in case. I'm curious about this one; might need to read it this summer.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I was very shocked by the content but I know there are people out there who are much more staunch and will appreciate a more realistic depiction of life.

      Delete
  10. Hm, these types of books can be hit or miss for me, too. I'm not really that bothered by the language and sexual activity, but some of the overall subject matter can be tricky if it's not handled well. Hmmmm.

    Thanks for your honest review, though. It's helpful to read your feedback, even if I still haven't made up my mind about reading this, hah.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This book might work better for you-I was so turned off by the language, drugs, and sexual content.

      Delete
  11. I tend to like dark YA, so I would probably love this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you like this if you pick it up-I know others have enjoyed it.

      Delete
  12. It's so hard to rate those books that we personally don't love but know it's for personal reasons and not because it's poorly wrote or executed, etc. I know what you mean for sure! The content might bother me a bit too. I have a copy of this but I have read enough reviews to think it probably isn't my thing. I will likely give it a sample just to be sure, but I'll be prepared for it to not be my thing. Thanks for the wonderful review that gave me a better idea what to expect!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad to be of help! I did find this book intriguing enough to finish so that's something although I did consider DNF-ing at a few points.

      Delete
  13. I'm the audience. Haha, I sound way too arrogant right there, but I think this book is for people like me. I'm okay with swearing, cursing, and I absolutely adored this book because I could believe it was true just from what I see at high school every day (although to a much lesser extent). Also, I loved the writing and the voice. Crash is an idiot a lot and I hated him some times because you're right, he treats girls like crap, but I felt like he was such a well rounded character that he felt like a real person. Anyway, we obviously felt differently but I had fun reading your opinion. Great review :)

    -P.E.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So glad you're the audience! I really do hope this book gets embraced and widely read because I think it is quite an achievement.

      Delete

Thank you for commenting-I love to read your thoughts! Feel free to leave a link to your latest post so I can stop by!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...