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by Lisa McMann
AR Test, LGBTQ
Jules wonders if she is going insane. After all, she sees a truck smashing into a building, exploding, and then nine body bags in the snow. And one of the bodies is that of her childhood friend, with who she is in love. As the vision comes more frequently, life gets complicated. Jules can’t warn her friend because of a long-standing family rivalry. And even if she did tell him about the visions, would he think she was crazy? After all, that’s exactly what Jules wonders.
Crash is a fast-paced book that throws the reader into suspense from the beginning until the end. The story is full of drama-family drama, school drama, and boy drama. Jules doesn’t think she can trust her family with her fear about the visions so she lies and sneaks around. And it turns out that secrecy is normal in her family; after all, her sister has a secret boyfriend, her father had a secret affair, and Jules secretly tries to figure out the meaning of her visions.
To add to the drama, Jules has been banned from taking to her childhood friend, who may end up in a body bag. In order to save her friend, Jules is willing to do whatever it takes.
Crash is an entertaining mystery with lots of unexpected turns. Jules is a likable character who is easy to relate to because her life is so messy. Her relationship with her brother adds to the book’s enjoyment.
One downside of the book is the cursing, which is common throughout the book, both in dialogue and the character’s thoughts. Although the book is entertaining, it also contains some heavy topics such as hoarding, depression, dishonesty, and homosexuality. Although the topics are not discussed in detail, it is clear that Jules does not respect her father because of his depression and his hoarding. Also, there are so many characters keeping secrets from each other that honesty seems to be a trait that is not highly valued.
- Jules’ brother is gay. There are several times that Jules and her brother tease each other about liking the same boy.
- When Jules begins acting strange, her brother asks, “You’re not pregnant, are you?” Her brother then tells Jules that he only asked because that’s what their father said. During this conversation, Jules says she is, “the poster child for purity” because she still has her… Her brother finishes the thought with the words “cheery, and hymen.” They also mention a chastity belt. During the same conversation, Jules’ brother asks, “You’re not having an alien Antichrist baby for the seed of Angotti?”
- Jules’ sister is having a long-distance relationship with a boy she met at camp. When Jules asks about meeting him online, her sister replies, “. . . his online user name is Child Predator77. I sent him pictures of my naked budding bazooms and he wants to meet me behind the Dumpster at Pete’s Liquor to give me candy. Jeez, Jules! Of course not. I’m not stupid.”
- When Jules’ crush walks into the room, he, “ducks his head in a shy sort of way, which makes my thighs ache, and not because of the bruises” and later when he smiles Jules’ “stomach flips.”
- Jules’ mother tells her that her father had an affair.
- Jules’ crush gives her an anxious, “hungry look” before he, “slips his fingers gently into her hair.” Then he leans her against a wall and traces her lips with his fingers. He kisses Jules, “but soon he’s pressing harder and I’m reaching for him and I can’t be bothered to think or remember anything at all. I just need to be in it and try to breathe . . . “
- During the kissing scene, Jules describes feeling the warmth of his back and how “his tongue finds mine.”
- Jules describes a time when she was delivering a pizza and a guy came up behind her, grabbed her by the neck, and stole her money belt before he shoved her into a snowy bush. The thief held a knife by her ear. Luckily a stranger tackled the guy and the mugger got away. The police tell Jules the man was, “probably some meth addict who needed money for supplies.”
Drugs and Alcohol
- The narrator thinks about her grandfather who, “killed himself with I was little. ” Although the grandfather’s death is mentioned several times, how he committed suicide is never described.
- One of the character’s cousins, “takes a drag and drops her cigarette butt to the ground.”
- One of the Jules’ favorite sayings is, “Oh my dogs.”
- The narrator describes a character as a “douche” and another as an “asshole.” Her car is a “piece of crap.”
- The words dammit, hell, crap, fucking, son-of-a-bitch, and shit are used in dialogue as well as in Jules’ thoughts.
- Several times when Jules is having a difficult conversation, she says, “Oh my God.”
- In an argument, Jules says, “mother-fuh-lovin’ crap.”
- In one scene, the narrator describes her feelings as “pissed.”
- One of the characters yells, “Get your asses out there!” Another time she says, “Where’s the fucking phone book? God! I hate this stupid place.”
- While talking to a friend, Jules yells, “But goddammit, Sawyer, despite all that, I’m going to save your fucking life anyway, because I love you, and one day you’d better fucking appreciate it.” After she hangs up the phone, she thinks, “You? Are bumblefucking nuts, Demarco.”
- As two characters discuss a family member, one says, “He’ll bring out his whole tradition and honor bullshit and use that as an excuse to be a bastard.”
- Jules’ mother tells her husband, “act your age once, will you. We’re in a hospital, for Christ’s sake.”
- Jules sees visions in billboards, television screens, and in windows. When she begins to get clues and figure out the pieces of the puzzle, the visions let up. However, when she is getting the meaning of the clues wrong, the visions become more frequent.
- Jules’ parents will not discuss the fact that their son is gay. Jules and her brother don’t go to church because, “if their church won’t accept my brother, they can’t have me either. Plus her parents, “religious fear runs deep.”