Crash: Visions, Book 1

Common Sense Media says

Intriguing thriller driven by teen girl's disaster visions.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Educational value

There are definite echoes of Romeo and Juliet in the star-crossed relationship of Jules and Sawyer, kids of families who hate each other. Jules periodically uses an obscure word (e.g. "umami") and urges readers to look it up.

Positive messages

Lots about responsibility, family loyalty, working hard, and mutual support. Also trusting your instincts and standing up for yourself.

Positive role models

Jules is conflicted and heroic in her struggle to do the right thing with her unique knowledge. Her mom works hard to keep the family going, and the three siblings love each other and help each other out (including covering for one another with their parents). Sawyer shows courage in the face of great pressure.

Violence

A vision of a horrific crash that kills many people haunts Jules and drives her to desperate choices.  One of the adult characters is a violent domestic abuser who beats family members. Another family member's suicide in the past still affects the survivors. Jules is attacked while delivering pizza.

Sex

The raciest scene in Crash finds Jules running her fingers over her body in the shower. There's some kissing toward the end of the story. A past extramarital affair by some adults affects many characters and their lives. There's a lot of bawdy humor about the family food truck and its display of two giant meatballs.

Language

"F--k," "s--t," "crap," "ass," etc. come up often. On the other hand, Jules never takes the deity's name in vain, substituting such expressions as "thank the dogs."

Consumerism

The billboard where Jules repeatedly sees the fatal accident shows a Jose Cuervo tequila ad to everyone else.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Adult characters drink and smoke; Jules sees a scary vision on a billboard with a Jose Cuervo ad;  she comments that drunk customers often tip better than sober ones.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that Crash, the first installment of the Visions trilogy by popular, prolific author Lisa McMann, is narrated by a teen girl named Jules, who uses profanity common to the age group ("f--k," "s--t," "crap," "ass," etc.). But she is deeply offended when her family assumes she's pregnant when she acts strangely, since she's never so much as kissed a boy. Adult issues are plentiful, e.g. Jules' older brother is gay, and both of them have left the church that won't accept him; Jules' family struggles to keep their business afloat as her father sinks into mental illness; a past affair between adults has repercussions to the next generation; Jules herself is attacked by a would-be robber while delivering pizza. The family's food truck, which features a display of two giant meatballs, is the subject for much bawdy humor. Against this background, Jules is confronted by visions of a deadly disaster only she can see, and is torn between questioning her sanity and trying to save the victims.

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What's the story?

In the Chicago suburbs, the Demarcos and the Angottis have run rival restaurants for generations, and there's been bad blood between the families for years. Which is bad news for Julia (Jules) Demarco, who's been in love with Sawyer Angotti since they were in first grade. Now a sophomore in high school and working hard in the family business, Jules suddenly starts seeing a strange vision of a truck plowing into a crowded building, and a huge explosion; as she sees this CRASH over and over, she realizes that one of the people in the resulting body bags is Sawyer. Part of her worries that she's going insane, as mental illness seems to run in her family; the other part cares less about the consequences to herself than saving Sawyer and the other victims -- assuming this disaster is really going to happen.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Author Lisa McCann is an engaging writer with a track record for creating interesting characters and putting them in unlikely situations. Crash is lively and contemporary, as kids exploit the full potential of smartphones, texting, and long-distance Internet romance. Jules has an appealing voice and a great eye for the social dynamics of high school. There's a lot of interest from the convoluted family dynamics, including Jules' father sinking into depression and hints of something having gone very wrong in the past. With much of the action necessarily happening in Jules' head, as it centers on something only she can see, the story bogs down and becomes repetitive in midstream as she revisits what she's seeing and tries to decide what to do about it. The ending resolves some issues, raises new ones, and leaves many open-ended for treatment in sequels.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about why stories about seeing the future and trying to change it are so popular. Can you think of some others?

  • What would be difficult about trying to convince people about something only you can see?

  • Do you work in your family's business? Is your experience like Jules', or different?

Book details

Author:Lisa McMann
Genre:Fantasy
Topics:Brothers and sisters, Friendship, High school, Misfits and underdogs
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:January 8, 2013
Number of pages:256
Publisher's recommended age(s):14 - 17
Available on:Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle, Nook

This review of Crash: Visions, Book 1 was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging, okay learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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