Review

Crash and Burn

by Michael Hassan

Stephen Crashinsky is a normal kid. He’s been diagnosed with ADD since forever and can barely get by in school, even though he knows he’s a genius. It’s just that no one, especially his dad, realizes it. No one except David Burnett. But Burn is another type of misunderstood genius, one that’s unpredictable and scares everyone away. That’s why, when Crash and Burn meet early on in elementary school, Crash is forced to be his friend. CRASH AND BURN is the story of their relationship, and how Crash prevents Burn from blowing up their high school when Burn takes the school hostage.

"Dealing with the expectations of heroism, living with ADD, broken families and just getting by during adolescence, this story is not only timely but a necessary read."

The book begins after the situation has occurred and everyone considers Crash to be a hero, which he is. He has achieved national fame by appearing on TV shows and is reaping the benefits. He’s even scored a book deal because he wouldn’t tell anyone what he told Burn that distracted him enough for the police to grab him on that day. The problem is that Crash hasn’t written a book before; actually, he hasn’t ever really completed anything he’s started. His father never stops reminding him that. Plus, he’s only a teen who wants to enjoy the rest of the last summer with his high school friends before everyone goes to college.

Michael Hassan frames his story by alternating the narrative between Crash in the present dealing with his newfound status as hero and his attempt at writing down the history of his relationship with Burn starting in middle school. Because the entire story is from a teenage boy’s perspective, expect a lot of swearing and other such realistic high school antics.

CRASH AND BURN is more than just a coming of age story. Dealing with the expectations of heroism, ADD, broken families and just getting by during adolescence, this story is not only timely but a necessary read. Hassan lifts the veil of what we as a society want to believe teenagers are doing from what they actually are. Expect a lot of action, a lot of cringe-worthy moments and a lot of heart.

Reviewed by Liz Kossnar on March 7, 2013

Crash and Burn
by Michael Hassan