Title: Crash and Burn
Author: Michael Hassan
Release Date: March 2013
Wow. This book. This book. I am utterly and permanently amazed with this novel. I know you’ve heard it all before, and I know you’ve read every last “OMG YOU GUYS HAVVVEEEEEEEE TO READ THIS” that’s left on the internet, but this is an entirely different breed. This is an incredibly hilarious, moving, jarring, contemporary novel, and it’s his debut. The only other way I can think of to convince you people is that before reading this, I only had two books that I could really consider to be my favorites. Now I have three. Trust me, you need this, though even with that I regret writing a summary because there is no way I can express just how intense his execution of the plot is.
Steven Crashinsky (Crash) and David Burnett (Burn) have created long-running catastrophes for each other. Two completely different types of crazy resulting in an event that no one but Crash really saw coming, one that came to be known as 4/21.
Crash had known Burn for the majority of his life, being forced to talk to him for the first time when he was in grade school, and somehow, even through that one exchange, he knew that something wasn’t right about him. Though as time went on, he became all the more dangerous, even more of threat: he appeared normal. Everyone stopped being so wary of the boy who was never quite right, and decided to let well enough alone. But on the morning of April 21st that mindset quickly. Burn had held the entire high school, faculty and all, hostage with assault weapons and explosives, leaving only Crash, a hyperactive and entirely unpredictable teenager, to rescue a school’s worth of people from what he knew David was capable of.
After that day his life became an entirely different sort of minefield. Book deals, college attention, and media spotlight left him in situations, some wanted and some not, that changed things for him even more than 4/21 had, though none quite as much as Burn himself.
This book became very real very quickly. Michael Hassan has created the most believable teenager and high school that I have ever seen an adult author create. I was easily moved by the story because everything seemed so completely feasible, despite how incredible things could get. I can’t even remember the last time I really cried or genuinely laughed while reading a contemporary, but I found both in this book. Hassan is an expert author who should have come into the field a long time ago, and I can’t imagine why anyone would want to go without reading his book.