A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What 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?
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.
Talk to your kids 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?
- 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
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 17
- Number of pages: 256
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
- Last updated: July 13, 2017
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