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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We All Collide
Ok. I don't know where to begin. Being a middle aged heterosexual straight woman, one would not think that this book would resonate with me. One couldn't be more wrong. The story is about a 14 year old misfit and a 16 year old "cool" misfit. That is a very simplistic description.

I WAS Hazard. I know, the straight, woman thing. But I was a misfit. Like...
Published on May 3, 2012 by Tina

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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Collided Hard
The book started with a great promise and then... for more than half of the book, it was covered with nothing but an indulging look at less than interesting life of Hazard. Party and smoke, party and smoke, party and smoke.. It was as if there was nothing more to Hazard's life than to these and Jesse.

It was hoping for more revelation of his relationship with...
Published 10 months ago by Jonathan


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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars We All Collide, May 3, 2012
By 
Tina (Linfield, PA, US) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
Ok. I don't know where to begin. Being a middle aged heterosexual straight woman, one would not think that this book would resonate with me. One couldn't be more wrong. The story is about a 14 year old misfit and a 16 year old "cool" misfit. That is a very simplistic description.

I WAS Hazard. I know, the straight, woman thing. But I was a misfit. Like Hazard, I didn't really fit in any one group in school. I often felt completely alone and loney and unloved and unloveable and jealous that my one friend liked someone else more than me and willing to do anything at all no matter how self-destructive to gain the closeness I craved with SOMEONE. I think that is what made me so uncomfortable at times, but so deeply moved more often. I have a 14 year old son. I didn't identify this book as his story, but as mine at that age and at this age.

J.R. Lenk crafted characters with so many layers, you'd need a jackhammer to get to the delicious tootsie roll center. Hazard's eventual revelation about his mother was astounding and rarely attained at such a young age. I had a similar revelation about my mom very recently. The way his and Jesse's parents treated them made me squirm. Then I realized how much I am like Hazard's mom and how much most parents in this time in history are just like either Hazard's or Jesse's parents. The depictions could not have been more accurate.

I loved this book. I want more. I want a sequel. I want anything else penned by this author.

All that digusting fawning said, Collide is not for everyone. There was sex. There was sex between boys, yes boys not men. It was delicately handled and not graphic in nature, but still, it was there. I felt that it added to the story, but didn't take over the story. It clearly illustrated that physical closeness was the only way that Hazard and Jesse knew of to find the acceptance they needed.

The bottom line is that Collide is about the misfit in all of us. Even the cool, rich kids and their parents have at least a little bit of that desperation inside them to fit in and truly relate to another human being. It's time for a new tat. "We All Collide".
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Chain Reaction, November 11, 2013
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The plot is simple: Hazard falls in with Jesse Wesley, a cool junior that elevates Hazard's status by introducing him to the world of hardcore partying. However, the emotional journey that Hazard goes on, the identity he struggles to reconcile against rumors about his sexuality, and the relationships he develops with his new friends is anything but simple.

Aside from his irregular name, there isn't anything particularly special about Hazard, and his preoccupations reveal the high school experience perfectly, especially for a teenager questioning his sexuality. Being a sophomore and hanging out with a bunch of older, more popular kids, can he hang out with them without fading into the background? At these parties, where sexuality is inconsequential, what does it say about him that he's so taken by Jesse, despite his insistence that he's not "that way?" What does he mean to his best friend Emery, when he already has Russell? Throughout the course of the novel, we watch Hazard's mind work through the relationships he has with everyone around him, both new acquaintances and old. Just as the quote that inspires the story's title, "we all collide," this shows how one person can set off a chain reaction through other people. A very interesting concept that frames the story well.

We've all heard the mantra "show don't tell" when it comes to writing, but Lenk takes a slightly different approach with "Collide." Lenk does a lot of telling, long stretches of paragraphs that detail party scenes or display the personalities of characters. However, rather than leaving the reader inundated with information, we are allowed into a deeper mindset into Hazard's mind, and by extension other characters through his interactions. This gives even more weight to the dialogue, which Lenk does not waste on trivial points (not including the trivial details that suit the characters). This style may not be for everyone, but I thought the writing really enhanced the story.

In addition, there is a LOT of partying, which culminates in a LOT of kissing, and even some sex scenes. However, these scenes enhance the story, revealing what intimacy and sex mean in the context of parties and friends with benefits.

I really hope Lenk puts out another book, because with this writing style, and the way he creates such complex characters, it would be a shame not to let his talents come to fruition again and again.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Emotional Read, August 24, 2012
This review is from: Collide (Paperback)
"We all collide". It may only be a piece of graffiti scrawled on a brick wall, but, for fifteen-year-old Hazard James, it holds a deeper significance. We come into contact with countless people during our lifetime. Mostly these will be fleeting encounters that have little lasting effect, but occasionally, the collision will alter the course of our lives forever. This is precisely what happens in the case of Hazard and bad boy Jesse Wesley

Hazard is a good boy, who hates to be late for school and always does his homework on time. At least, he is until he tangles with the older, dangerously cool Jesse in the school cafeteria. For some reason, perhaps because Hazard stood up to him when so many are afraid to do so, Jesse takes a shine to the younger boy and sets about introducing him to an underworld of parties and drinking where rules cease to exist. Suddenly Hazard has gone from being invisible to the boy everyone stares at when he walks into a room at Jesse's side, and the feeling of power is as intoxicating as any alcohol.

When, at Jesse's instigation, their relationship progresses to a "friends with benefits" arrangement, Jesse assures Hazard it doesn't mean anything. It isn't as if they're gay, after all, and they're certainly not in love. Hazard believes him, so why does it start to hurt so much when they fight, or when he contemplates Jesse ditching him for someone else? By the time Hazard begins to make sense of it all, he's in too deep. He can either face up to the truth about himself, or turn his back on the boy who has become such an integral part of his life.

I found Collide by J. R. Lenk to be an incredibly honest portrayal of adolescence and all the joy and pain that goes with it. This is a hard-hitting but immensely powerful coming of age story about two damaged boys realizing their feelings for each other and discovering that actions have consequences. Words have the power to wound, and the decisions we make impact not just on ourselves, but on those around us--a lesson both Hazard and Jesse learn the hard way.

I can recommend this to anyone looking for a novel about authentic teens which, although not romanticized in the slightest, will put your emotions through the shredder.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Powerful, February 4, 2013
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This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
I wanted to fill my review with expletives because I feel like common language doesn't quite cut it, but I didn't.

Have to say this is in serious contention for best YA title I've read in a length of time that I'd classify as "ever." Clear narrative that excels at fostering emotions--from one end of the spectrum to the other. You won't regret a single page, a single sentence, in J.R. Lenk's Collide. I'd recommend you read it with a computer nearby and hit up some of the songs that are named when reading--primarily, during the intense ups and downs across the story. For me, there was immediacy, nostalgia, laughter and crying throughout, and I was exhausted by the end, but I can't name another title that latched on so thoroughly and for which I became so invested in the actions of the cast. I know as a reader I shouldn't create ultimatums for the characters, but if several of them didn't do what I was demanding, I was sure I would go find their addresses and pay them a visit; talk some sense into them. They didn't always listen to me. I didn't manage to find any of them. It was all worth it anyway.

I hope Lenk keeps writing for the next hundred years, because I'll be a lifelong patron.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars THIS!, September 23, 2012
This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
THIS. This book was one of the best things I have read this year. I'm torn between wanting to read it all over again right now and to never read the words again. I felt like I was Hazard. I felt his pain. Ya know that feeling of being unsure of where you stand with your friends? That awful feeling that maybe your best friend likes someone more than they like you? That maybe the person you are in love with and love more than anyone else in the world is gonna leave you? That awful sick feeling in your stomach cuz you know it's about to happen and you're gonna be alone? Yeah, that feeling. I know all that makes this sound like a dark and heavy story , and it is. But is soooo good. I just wish I had the words to explain how much I loved this book. It ends with a HFN but for me it was a good ending and I'm happy with it. But like someone else said, I want more, I want to read everything this author has ever written. This was just that good.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Coming of Age Story, September 17, 2012
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This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
I found Collide to be a very compelling story of what it's like being a teenager today. It brought me right back to the feelings I had when I was in high school and the conflicts I had with my sexuality. The characters are all very well drawn and very believable. It really brought those intense feelings of joy and heartache that come with your first love. If you're Looking to reconnect with those feeling I highly recommend Collide.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book, July 28, 2012
By 
LMM (Los Angeles, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
I have NEVER written a review on Amazon, but this book is worthy of all the accolades it can receive.
It is simply a great story that will grab you from beginning to end. The author does a wonderful job
of making us feel what Hazard is going through. The reader can relate to Hazard and that makes you
more involved in the story.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Collided Hard, February 4, 2014
This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
The book started with a great promise and then... for more than half of the book, it was covered with nothing but an indulging look at less than interesting life of Hazard. Party and smoke, party and smoke, party and smoke.. It was as if there was nothing more to Hazard's life than to these and Jesse.

It was hoping for more revelation of his relationship with his mother as well as with Emery. It failed to deliver. It was uninteresting exploration of a teenager with aimless life.

Sure, the book covered bisexuality like it was very much an acceptable trend in their lives but then it got ugly with the homophobic remarks.

I did not like Hazard. It made no sense a mom would call her son that, without any objection from his father. And yet, she was expecting him to be nothing more than a goody boy. It made no sense that she could be out of her mind and yet she was expecting something less from her son. It did not help me to like the book when the main character, nor the secondary characters - Jesse, Emery, Russell etc, were interesting enough for me to want to engage deeply with the book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Lives Collide in Unpredictable Ways, October 12, 2014
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A beautifully written story about gay sex between two young teenagers, the consequences of their relationship, and the life changing effects. Interesting and sympathetic characters followed through their high school years into college. The sex is well handled, more hinted at than graphic, but it does read real. Since this is a novel for teens and young adults, I think boys 14 and up would get it's meaning and enjoy the read, especially if they are struggling to understand their sexuality and mixed-up feelings. I really enjoyed the story and recommend it.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A novel of unusual penetration and depth of analysis in dealing with adolescent attraction and sexuality, May 12, 2014
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This review is from: Collide (Kindle Edition)
Like good journalism, this story traces the evolution of meeting and an adolescent infatuation between 2 high school boys; Jesse 16 and Hazard 14. We follow their social lives wherein they have too much freedom from parental supervision at nights to party, and freedom to drink until drunk. They also significantly each have access to the other in private when they arrange sleep overs. Like a lighter body in space, the younger boy is drawn to orbit about the older and very charismatic Jesse, with whom other teens of both sexes also wish to associate. The 2 boys become friends "with benefits" (admitting to bi but not gay relationships). The mental health of the younger boy is compromised by excessive alcoholic intake, inner conflict about his sexual orientation, and both his strong emotional dependency on his older friend, and equally strong desire to be the person of first choice as companion for him. The younger boy's emotions are thrown into disarray when Jesse having graduated from school takes another man for his lover.
At this stage we are dealing not just with attraction, but with a youth in love. Both protagonists are badly neglected by their parents and so turn to each other for affection. Hazard emotionally distraught, feels the need to leave his mother, ( she and his father having separated, and she being mainly concerned about external appearances ) and he lives away from his home town after Jesse takes up with another man.
Finally, at a stage 2 years later, the 2 young men come together by choice again after leaving high school with a clear wish to be in a relationship.
In my view, the recounting of the development of the emotional relationship here, with its gradual evolution, sustained by narrative action, makes this a superior read. We are reading a love story where emotional development goes hand in hand with desire; which is to be expected in adolescent males responding to the surge of hormones at 16-18 years.
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Collide
Collide by J.R. Lenk (Paperback - April 15, 2012)
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