Saturday, February 23, 2013

Crash by Lisa McMann

Crash is a romance/suspense novel with a touch of the paranormal and a Romeo and Juliet theme.

Jules (Julia) Demarco lives with her parents,Paula and Antonio, her older brother, Trey, and her younger sister, Rowan, above the family's pizzeria. Everyone works in the family restaurant, which they barely managed to keep afloat, partly because her father's mental illness. Jules has been crushing on Sawyer Angotti, who is the son of a rival Italian restaurant family ever since first grade. However, the Angotti's and Demarco's are not on speaking terms and are in the midst of an intense rivalry that for Jules, has vague roots. Because of this, Jules and Sawyer haven't had much contact since seventh grade.

Jules begins experiencing a recurring vision which at first,  she sees only on electronic screens. The vision is of a disaster in which nine people are killed, including Sawyer. As time progresses the vision becomes longer, revealing more and more detail. Finally Jules decides to tell Sawyer and eventually her brother Trey. While Sawyer is skeptical, Trey is more open-minded and vows to help his sister, although he believes she should tell their mom.

After Jules tells Sawyer, the vision seems to let up somewhat, but when Sawyer fails to believe her, the visions resume at a greater intensity. Jules comes to the conclusion that she is being told that she must act if she wants the visions to stop. Strangely, Jules is able to watch the visions on the television over and over and she begins to take notes to try to figure out exactly what will happen. Soon she is able to figure out the date and the time and she also learns that what she does can influence the future. In an effort to learn more, Jules visits the area around the Angotti's restaurant, which causes even more tension between the two families. Can she stop or at least change what will happen in the future? And more importantly, can she save Sawyer?

This was a suspenseful, engaging and very enjoyable novel. The story is told in Jules voice but because of her family's history of mental illness and the visions she is experiencing, the reader is unsure as to how reliable a narrator Jules is.  The relationships within the Demarco family are well portrayed. All of the family is struggling to cope with the father's hoarding problems, while working hard to keep the family business alive. Trey's character was particularly well done; he was realistic and his concern for Jules seemed genuine.

The ending is unexpected. We learn what instigated the rivalry between the Demarco's and the Angotti's. But, there's also a twist which seems somewhat ridiculous at this point,. However, readers will have the opportunity to see determine whether or not this works in the next installment of the Visions trilogy.

One issue with this novel was the brief swipe McMann takes against Catholics in one part of the novel. Unnecessary to the plot and a bit of misguided intolerance in what is otherwise a good novel with a beautiful cover.

Book Details:
Crash by Lisa McMann
New York: Simon Pulse      2013
233 pp.

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