On 21 April 2008 Steven “Crash” Crashinsky saved over a thousand people when he stopped his classmate David “Burn” Burnett from taking their high school hostage with a range of assault weapons and explosives. Crash gained nationwide fame, television interviews and now the book deal where he’ll finally reveal what Burn whispered to him that day and show how the two of their lives have been linked since grade school.
This was a relatively long book at just over 500 pages and while the premise was intriguing I kind of had to force myself to get through it. The set up was good, I thought Crash had a very realistic teenage voice and attitude, but as the story kept jumping from Crash and Burn’s childhood and the slow lead up to Burn taking the school hostage to the present day as Crash is dealing with his fame, his friends and family I just found myself not particularly interested.
Crash is a very realistic teenager, in fact painfully so. He’s attitude to girls and sex and how he’d just drop them when he’s got what he wants was very uncomfortable to read. Crash wasn’t a particularly likeable character either, both from his treatment of girls and how he treated pretty much everyone in his life including his friends and his mum.
I actually enjoyed the last 100 pages or so of Crash and Burn, when it finally got to the moment where Burn took the school hostage and you find out what it was Burn said to Crash that day. It was tense and exciting even though you know Crash manages to save the school. Also throughout the book there was this black humour which was surprising to see in a book about an assault on a high school but it worked well more often than not.
I think the reason I didn’t really enjoy Crash and Burn was because none of the characters were particularly likeable – especially the titular characters. Burn was fascinating with the way you never knew what he was going to do next but he wasn’t nice at all. I couldn’t connect with the secondary characters either, I’m not sure if that was because they were all shown through Crash’s point of view and he isn’t the nicest or most complimentary of guys or if it was something else.
Crash and Burn has an interesting premise an there was certainly something about it that kept me reading even though I didn’t like the characters but I can’t say I enjoyed it as a whole. 2/5.