Published by Chicken House Books.
Review by Jane Currie.
Sophie is enjoying a fun night in with best friend Tye – trying to decide when would be the best time to reveal some hidden feeling she has – when a car comes thundering through her living room wall, demolishing her stable, sorted life. Issy, the young girl who lives over the road, sees the whole thing in horror from her window. The crash leaves Tye unconscious in hospital, Sophie liking someone she shouldn’t, and the driver and passenger of the car – twins Harry and Gemma – having something sinister from their past encroach on them. While all this is happening, Issy has her own problems going unnoticed at home.
The Crash is the second book I’ve reviewed by Lisa Drakeford, so I knew it would be a good read. She has great skill in describing scenes throughout; a perfect mix of evoking vivid, sensory images while maintaining the easy-reading, realistic nature of her writing style. This novel, along with Drakeford’s other works, does not pierce the mind with poetic sentences – it’s writing is pretty basic – but it’s the ideas and feelings that come across which make this book so enjoyable.
The novel’s chapters alternate between narrators; different characters telling their stories in turn. The way the story swaps with ease between said characters is really a credit to Drakeford’s storytelling ability; it’s not easy to write from different perspectives and keep them distinct from each other but The Crash is a perfect example of this done well. The way each of the characters is shown as an individual is exceptional, and really adds an added dimension to the novel.
That being said, I couldn’t help but notice a striking resemblance between the characters in this book and those in her previous novel, The Baby. The way the characters are portrayed, as well as the way some of them interact, are almost transferable between the two texts. As someone who has read both in quite a close time frame, it was obvious and seemed somewhat idle character development. The main example of this is the character Issy. She’s younger than the other 16-19-year-olds in the story (at 11) and is seen as an outsider, and a bit weird. I feel the character of Alice in The Baby is practically identical to Issy – the younger sister of the main character who’s seen as odd, an outcast – and is bullied as a result. I feel Drakeford may have a niche for writing about unusual 11-year-old girls.
But overall this is a dramatic, heartfelt young adult novel which looks at how one event can effect so many different people. The Crash is full of charm, great characters, and gripping storylines.