Thursday, March 28, 2013

Book Review: Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan

Today I am going to be sharing my review for Crash and Burn by Michael Hassan. This was a new release YA book that came out in February. When I first heard about it I knew that it was definitely a book that I wanted to read. It sounded really interesting and intense due to the topics of this book. I'm going to post the summary below and then get started on my review!

Summary from Goodreads:
On April 21, 2008, Steven "Crash" Crashinsky saved more than a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David Burnett from taking their high school hostage armed with assault weapons and high-powered explosives. You likely already know what came after for Crash: the nationwide notoriety, the college recruitment, and, of course, the book deal. What you might not know is what came before: a story of two teens whose lives have been inextricably linked since grade school, who were destined, some say, to meet that day in the teachers' lounge of Meadows High. And what you definitely don't know are the words that Burn whispered to Crash right as the siege was ending, a secret that Crash has never revealed.

Until now.

Michael Hassan's shattering novel is a tale of first love and first hate, the story of two high school seniors and the morning that changed their lives forever. It's a portrait of the modern American teenage male, in all his brash, disillusioned, oversexed, schizophrenic, drunk, nihilistic, hopeful, ADHD-diagnosed glory. And it's a powerful meditation on how normal it is to be screwed up, and how screwed up it is to be normal.

This book is told from the main character Steven's (Crash) POV who has just finished his senior year of high school, but he also stopped one of his classmates David (Burn) from blowing up the entire school. Everyone considers Crash a hero, but Crash has a story of his own to tell. Him and Burn have been "frienemies" since elementary school, and while Crash is certain Burn has always been out to get him, some how they always end up in each others paths and are connected some way or another. There is also the big mystery of what Burn whispers to Crash right before Crash convinces him to stop what he is doing. So suspenseful!

This book really grabbed my attention in the beginning, and it switches back and forth from present time (after Crash stopped Burn from blowing up the school), and past time from when he first met Burn and how their lives where leading up to what happened. The story is kind of slow but I didn't really find it to be boring because I was so interested in what was going to happen later so the story held my attention. This book is very, very detailed for a YA novel, almost too detailed. However, as the story being told from Crash's POV and he has ADHD, it is very well written for it being told in his voice. I also really enjoyed reading from Crash's POV. A lot of the time I have a hard time getting into a book if it's told from a male's POV but I really enjoyed this one.

So this book deals with a lot of serious and intense topics; there is a lot of mental illnesses, drugs, sex, suicide etc. If you can't handle reading about these things, then this book is definitely not for you. In a nut shell, Crash has had ADHD his whole life. Burn suffers from a lot of anxiety, depression, and bi-polar disease but that is not even the half of his problems. Crash and Burn have a really interesting relationship. They aren't exactly friends, but they've always been in each others lives. They understand each other, but at the same time they don't. Crash is somewhat afraid of Burn, and for good reasons. Crash has always been there for Burn though all his hard times though. I really enjoyed a lot of the characters in this book. Crash probably has become one of my favorite male lead characters. I really love a lot of the relationships that he has built. You know he cares about his family and friends, and even Burn. I could not stand Crash's father, though. He has definitely topped my most hated parent character. He is such a jerk and treats Crash like crap for no reason. I wanted to slap him.

Burn was a character that was a lot different from any character that I've read from. Like I said before, he has a lot of issues. And by a lot, I mean a lot. Not only is he dealing with all of those issues above, (spoiler alert!!!) his father was killed during 9/11 and that made a huge impact on him. Also he loses his mother to breast cancer later on in the book, which he does not handle well at all. Some of the time during the book, Burn does seem pretty normal (almost) but he has a lot of ups and downs from his depression and the medication he is on. Crash describes this as "When he's up, he's really up. And when he's down, he's really down." And when Burn is down it is quite scary during a lot of the book.

I really liked Roxanne in this book as well. She is Burn's older sister and they are both protective over one another. I really enjoyed Crash's relationship with her. He sees her for who she is, and not who she tries to be or who everyone else thinks she is. I liked Crash's younger sister Jamie, and also a lot of Crash's friends in the book. There isn't too much to say on the characters who didn't play a big part in the book, though.

In the last 60 or so pages in this book (when Burn goes ape shit) , Crash warns you that you will not want to stop reading so don't even try. Which is so true. The ending of this book was so intense and gripping,  I couldn't even handle it. Well, I could but you get the picture. Even though Crash saved everyone and it was a 'happy ending', this book made me feel sad. Even though Burn is completely crazy and tries to kill everyone including himself, It's really hard not to feel pity for him. This is the type of book that will stir a lot of emotions in you while you read it.  When I finished it, my first thoughts were "omg this is such a great book", but the more I thought about it the less I thought so. Don't get me wrong it WAS a great book, but this is the type of book that leave you feeling really unsettled. This story seemed so real that it was almost heart breaking. Also when you find out what the big secret is of what Burn whispered to Crash at the end, I was so sad. I was completely heart broken at what was revealed. This is one book that I will definitely never forgot, and I'll never forget these character either. I'm not exactly sure if it is a good thing because this story just felt so heavy on my heart after I read it.  None the less, I am glad to have read it because I do enjoy books that have an impact on me.

This concludes my review, I hope you all enjoyed and thank you for reading!

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