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1 rating: 5.0
A book by Jerry Spinelli

Spinelli (There's a Girl in My Hammerlock) takes the brawny, bullying jock who is the villain in so many middle-grade novels and casts him as the narrator of this agile tale. Ever since first grade "Crash" Coogan has been tormenting dweeby Penn Ward, … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Publisher: Yearling
1 review about Crash

A superb lesson about what is really important in life

  • Mar 18, 2008
John (Crash) Coogan is a large, swift boy currently in middle school. His speed and size make him a superb football player and his personality matches his name. He is full of himself, a bully and considers anyone not like him to be targets. A Quaker family with a boy named Penn Webb moves into the neighborhood and Crash immediately begins to torment Penn. Penn takes it like a Quaker, although Crash considers him a sissy.
There are other problems in the Coogan household. Both parents work seventy hour weeks trying to make it big and Crash and his younger sister Abby are often left on their own. Things change when their uncle Scooter comes to live with them. He is ex-navy and tells them enchanting stories about everything. Penn's family is politically and socially active and that rubs off on Abbey. She goes with them to protest the building of a mall and she turns their backyard into a wildlife sanctuary. Crash's response to all of this is to turn even more arrogant and obnoxious.
All of this changes when Scooter has a debilitating stroke. Crash goes into a bit of a depression and when Penn gives up his prized possession that is supposed to be a miracle cure in an attempt to help Scooter, Crash takes Penn's side when Crash's friends bully him. When Crash and Penn run a race-off to determine who will run on the track team, Crash deliberately loses. From that point on, Crash gets the girl and Penn Webb is his best friend.
This is an excellent story about the arrogance of youth and how the quality of your possessions is no measure of the quality of your life. Crash had spent his life in competition with his friends for the quality of their possessions. Once he realizes the fallacy of that tactic, his life turns around and he becomes someone that cares about more than the price of his shirt and the number of touchdowns he has scored.

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