In Romance YA, Summer Reads, Young Adult
Nicole Williams wrote a good book with a strong heroine who made dumb choices, then proceeded to make her weaker in the second book, guiding her by even dumber choices, only to end up gaining the needed strength in the end to right all of her past wrongs. Sound similar to something else you read? It should…it’s THE young adult formula for a popular read and it works.

I liked both books. Not love…but like.

In Crash, Lucy (female protagonist) meets bad boy Jude. Both conveniently named after Beetles songs, which pleases Lucy’s slightly manic/crazy Beetles fan dad. She is a strong ballerina, born with a silver spoon, whose family loses everything after the murder of her brother, forces them to take residence in the summer home. He is a drop dead gorgeous delinquent bad boy who lives in a home for boys, while screwing his way through the school roster of hot chicks. Then they meet and he pushes her away for her own good, while she tries to right his wrongs, etc. etc. etc.

There is hot magnetism between the two and I love her fearlessness, but it seems to waiver when she needs it the most. I felt the author did a great job of dedicating Judes voice and keeping it solid throughout. His passion and his teetering on obsessive need to please and be with Lucy is well written. The antagonist (who I won’t reveal because it would spoil the story) is executed perfectly and although the ending was a little over the top I found it worked with the story well. Sent a great message.

In Clash, the follow up, they are both in college and Lucy is still a ballerina, only now her parents are rich again and her inner strength and confidence has turned into paranoia and unrealistic anger. Jude is still head over heels in love with her, but she is still looking for the worst in him. It is angering, frustrating and completely unrealistic, with a smattering of great payback scenes (although not quite as many as there should have been since the antagonistic cheerleader slut is oh-so-bad).

This was the book I found the most frustrating for several reasons, some good…some not so good. The good was how bad the bad girl was. She was deliciously written as a sex kitten who will do anything to get what she wants. She takes Lucy on from day one and boy was she cruel, but that wasn’t what bothered me. I loved the cat fights. The main issues for me were the contradictions in Lucy’s behavior. Her wishy-washy I love him, I love him not, had my head spinning so much that by the end I really began to dislike her character. Only not enough give up on Jude. His dedication to Lucy the basket case was worth sticking it out.

Anyway, both books were interesting, fun and filled with loads of drama so I do recommend them, but be weary of the kind of frustration you will encounter beforehand. Not as much in the first book, because it focused more on character development; however, by book two the dramatic highs and lows kick into high gear.

Sara O'Connor
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