Saturday, June 09, 2012

Review: Crash Into Me by Albert Borris

Title: Crash Into Me
Author: Albert Borris
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 257
Release date: June 24th 2009
Genre: Contemporary YA
Source: Bought
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Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living—or if there's no turning back.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

This book is unlike anything I've read before. It's raw, real, and disturbing, in a good way. It completely took me by surprise - it's nothing like the Perfect Chemistry-look-alike cover makes it out to be. And I loved every minute of it.

When I first read the description for this book, I thought it would have multiple POVs, but it's actually written completely from Owen's perspective. At first, I didn't like that, since I thought that would make it hard to get to know the other characters, but I ended up liking reading from Owen's POV. His voice is incredible - he's so real, it felt like he was talking right inside my head. The way he thinks is so interesting and unique, and offers a new way of looking at depression and suicide. I loved Owen's character and found him easy to relate to, despite our different situations.

This choice of POV did impact how we see the other characters - Owen tells us only what he finds worth noting, and we don't know every little thing about their lives. The writing is sparse, but I didn't mind. It made it even more realistic, made it sound even more like an actually suicidal teenager telling us his story.

I feel kind of morbid for saying this, but I liked finding out so much about suicide and celebrity suicides. Owen's somewhat of a suicide-expert - he's studied all the statistics on what ethnic groups commit suicide most often, what the most common reasons are, the most common ways to do it, that kind of thing. It feels wrong to say this, but it was interesting to find out so much about suicide, especially since we're reading about it from someone who's been through all of it already - the reactions to his attempted suicide, the way schools handle it, what the counselors say, etc.

There are no chapters in this book, just paragraphs and IM conversations in between. I usually dislike when a book doesn't have chapters - I like the structure, and I always tell myself I'll stop after one more chapter, or something like that - but I didn't mind in Crash Into Me. Somehow, the fact that there are no breaks between the paragraphs makes it more real and immediate, like you're right there with the characters.

I can't say too much about this without spoiling anything, but I'm kind of confused about one scene towards the end, the one at the cemetery. I didn't really get what happened, or what it meant for Owen.

I really liked the ending. It's perfect - hopeful without being unrealistic! 

I'm not sure whether the sparse writing style and characterization will work for everyone, but it worked for me. If you're looking for something raw, gritty and disturbing but that still gives you hope in the end, give Crash Into Me a try!

What is ONE book you loved but most people haven't heard of?


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