Breakdown (Crash Into Me, #1) by Amanda Lance
October 6-10 2014
***I received this eARC in exchange for an honest review and participation in this blog tour.
“‘Remember how you said I shouldn’t hold my breath waiting for you to call me?’ I smiled faintly, ‘Yeah.’ ‘Well, I just want you to know that I’d do a lot more than that for you. If you needed me to I’d die holding my breath for you.’ Despite the overwhelming flattery I swallowed hard and shook my head. ‘You can’t do that, stupid. Your body would automatically start breathing again once you passed out.’ He laughed ‘I know that. What I mean is-I’d grow old, get all shriveled up and die. I’d stop racing, driving and even start taking the bus before I ever gave up on you, Jumper.'”
Yet nothing ruins a perfectly good suicide attempt worse than a handsome do-gooder. After William O’Reilly convinces her to take one last ride with him, Charlotte finds herself forgetting about her own problems and enjoying a world of which she never dreamed.
Now addicted to the rush of fast cars and cool criminals, Charlotte finds herself leaning less towards the ledge and more toward the arms of her savior. But with reasons of his own for keeping Charlotte safe from herself, William is reluctant to involve her in his criminal undertakings. Will his career choice keep them apart? Will Charlotte’s painful past?
- There are many profound, uplifting, and emotionally raw elements to this amazing story. The messages of hope and faith were some of the strongest. The shift from the reckless and melancholy abandon in the beginning to the happiness towards the end really showcased how it only takes one act of kindness, a little bit of caring and letting someone knew that they’re valuable, that they’re worth it to change everything. In an instant, Charlotte’s sadness diminished with the playful words of s stranger and in less than an hour, she began to see that despite her crappy life, her abuse, and her feelings of hopelessness, that there is light and laughter buried beneath all the bad.
- Charlotte’s solitude is an aching, all-consuming entity, leaching the life out of her. Her obsession with ways to die, her calculated planning and methodology for her suicide conflicts with her thoughts. As much as Charlotte wants to end her pain, she is plagued by thoughts of others because she is a good person. Even when deciding the time to off herself, she needed to make sure it was when her parents would find out together, that she landed in a spot so as not to injure anyone in oncoming traffic, and even parked her car away to not inconvenience the police. Everything is timed and plotted and while she has all of these thoughts on how to make the situation better for others, she has so little value for herself that it never even occurs to her that her death would cripple her parents emotionally or that it would affect anyone else. The depression is like a knife to the chest and incredibly well written. Every ounce of agony and stagnancy is reflected in Charlotte’s thoughts, her mannerisms, and how she views the world. It’s heartbreaking to read and though as the reader, we don’t know for sure what put her in this state, her raggedly emotional downward spiral is real enough not to question the severity of her suffering.
- Charlotte is made of sarcasm and creativity. Her quips are snarky and fun, always inventive, and the way she mocks and toys with William is hilarious. For someone as introspective and depressed as Charlotte, she’s spunky, confident, and sassy when comfortable and she lets her guard down. Charlotte gets lost in her baking, she loves experimenting with recipes and finds true joy in cooking. It’s through the combination of baking and William that she finds her voice and figures out what she wants to do with her life. It’s marvelous seeing how much Charlotte grows and is reborn in such a short time. The adrenaline and self-destructiveness combine into an explosive source of crazy for Charlotte. The scene with the fire was a little much and hinted at how mentally unstable Charlotte was at the time. Occasionally, Charlotte is really insecure, especially around men. All she wants is for people to like her, to notice and appreciate her and doesn’t know how to behave in a crowd.
- William is delightfully humorous and genuine. He cares about people and is just a pure, great guy. He has a past that’s a little seedy and maybe a lot illegal but he’s kind-hearted and protective. He looks out for his friends and tells it like it is. William doesn’t BS or beat around the bush, he brings up tough subjects and asks questions that might be difficult but need to be put out there. He’s flirty, compassionate and the way he teases Charlotte (Jumper) will make your heart beat a little faster. The text messages were adorable and the way he makes Charlotte light up inside is enough to make any red blooded girl fall, hard.
- Chemistry. Oodles of it. It’s not the hot, hyper-sexualized angst but a slow burning passion.
- The secondary characters are quirky, eclectic balls of energy. Eggs, Cosmo, and Frenchie are unique and surprisingly down to earth considering their professions as drag racers and strippers. Frenchie is such a svelte, saucy little lady. Between her pink hair and animal print corsets, she brings Charlotte out of her shell and helps her recognize just how sexy she is.
- The glimpse into the culture of the drag racing world and chop shops were fascinating. Seeing the social relationships, how the clothing and cliques reflected positions in the overall rankings, the handicaps for poorly maintained cars, and the planning to get away with these illegal races was awesome.
- There were a few typos and tense issues.
- I was torn between appreciating the vagueness of what actually put Charlotte on the path to suicide and what actually happened to William’s sister and loathing the lack of details. The situations, as horrible and tragic in both cases as they are, were merely mentioned one or two times with no real exploration into the emotional impact. Discussing these traumas would have strengthened the emotional connection between the reader and characters.
- Sometimes just a line can inspire fury or irk you enough to reevaluate views on a particular character. How Charlotte views men is to be expected. Seeing them as betrayers, vile, violent and despicable creatures is okay after what she’s been through and it’s understandable how hard it is for her to trust but her expectations sexually about men really brought home how messed up it is how some people view sex. Mini-rant: getting confused and insecure when sleeping with someone for the first time or several times is fine, but feeling obligated to do something because men have “needs” is ridiculous. It drives me crazy that men having “needs” is simultaneously an excuse and a source of anxiety and pressure. Charlotte’s internal dialogue regarding these issues made me doubt her feelings towards William, or that she was ready to experience something like love or even lust yet.
A native of New Jersey and lifelong nerd, Amanda Lance recently completed her Master in Liberal Arts at Thomas Edison State College after her BA in English Literature and AFA in creative writing. As an avid reader of all genres, some of her favorite authors include Hemingway, Marquis de Sade, Stevenson, Bukowski and Radcliffe.
When she isn’t writing or reading, Amanda can found indulging in film noir or hiking with her other half and their extremely spoiled dog. She is obsessively working on her next book and trying to tame her caffeine addiction.
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