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Crash Mass Market Paperback – May 11, 2004


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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Mass Market Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Laurel Leaf (May 11, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0440238579
  • ISBN-13: 978-0440238577
  • Product Dimensions: 6.9 x 4.1 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (310 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #19,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

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, a skinny vegetarian Quaker boy who lives in a tiny former garage with his aged parents. Now that they're in seventh grade, "chippy chirpy perky" Penn becomes an even better target: not only does Penn still wear outdated used clothes, he joins the cheerleading squad. But even though Crash becomes the school's star football player and wears the most expensive togs from the mall, he still can't get what Penn has?his parents' attention and the admiration of the most gorgeous girl in school. And when his beloved grandfather Scooter is severely disabled by a stroke, Crash no longer sees the fun in playing brutal pranks and begins to realize that there are more important things in life than wearing new sneaks and being a sports star. Without being preachy, Spinelli packs a powerful moral wallop, leaving it to the pitch-perfect narration to drive home his point. All ages.
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8?A winning story about seventh-grade Crash Coogan's transformation from smug jock to empathetic, mature young man. In a clever, breezy first-person style, Spinelli tackles gender roles, family relationships, and friendship with humor and feeling. As the novel opens, Crash feels passionately about many things: the violence of football; being in charge; the way he looks in shoulder pads; never being second in anything; and the most expensive sneakers at the mall. Although a stereotypical bully, the boy becomes more than one-dimensional in the context of his overworked, unavailable parents and the love he has for his grandfather, who comes to live with the Coogans and then suffers a stroke. It is because of his affection for Scooter that Crash comes to appreciate Penn Webb, a neighbor and classmate whom for years Crash has tormented and teased about his pacifism, vegetarianism, second-hand clothes, and social activism. Penn relentlessly offers friendship, which Crash finally accepts when he sees Penn's love for his own great-grandfather as a common bond. The story concludes as Penn, named by his great-grandfather for Philadelphia's famous Penn Relays, wins the school race while the elderly man looks on. Readers will devour this humorous glimpse at what jocks are made of while learning that life does not require crashing helmet-headed through it.?Connie Tyrrell Burns, Mahoney Middle School, South Portland, ME
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote "Goal to Go," a poem about the game's defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times-Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children's publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children's books.

Spinelli's hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee is set in a fictional town based on his own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: "The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books."

On inspiration, the author says: "Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey."

Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another's work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

Related Media


Customer Reviews

This book was also very funny.
CAMERON NETTLES
Crash and Mike are best friends and pull little pranks on Penn together.
Student From Mrs. Williams' Class
I read this book to my 5th grades last year.
blvd@superior.net

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

32 of 35 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Paperback
Imagine being nicknamed Crash. Now, imagine you got that name because when you were five you tackled your little cousin into a snow bank. This is the situation in Crash by Jerry Spinelli. This is a wonderful book that I greatly enjoyed. While I was reading, my favorite character had to definitely be John "Crash" Coogan. He was the reason I kept reading this book. The pranks he did as a young child were just, hilarious. For example, the time he first met Penn Webb, his Quaker neighbor, Webb had just moved from North Dakota and was wearing a button that said, "Hi, I'm a Flickertail." Webb explained how the Flickertail was the state bird in North Dakota, and Crash just ripped the button right off his shirt and buried the button. The next day, Webb was wearing another button. This time the button said, "Peace." Once again, Crash, tore the button right off his shirt and buried the button. On that same day, Crash also took Penn's turtle for a ride on his bike. Penn did not like that too, too much. Penn showed Crash his one toy-a raggedy, old Conestoga wagon. Crash thought that that was ridiculous, a kid with only one toy, and he laughed about the whole idea of having just one toy. Then, for dinner, they ate oatburgers. Being Quakers, of course, they were vegetarians. Crash didn't even know what a vegetarian was; he made fun of the whole family for being vegetarians. I find that to be the way kids really are, too. Those are just some of the events that occurred in the beginning that made me want to continue to read the book. I wanted to find out what happened to Penn and Crash as they began to grow older and go to school, where other kids might also find Penn a little weird because he was a Quaker.Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By QUEEN_OF_EVERYTHING on June 11, 2004
Format: Paperback
I first read Spinelli's CRASH during the sixth grade for assigned reading at Waldron Mercy Academy, my private grade school. I was pulled in from page one and couldn't help but laugh out loud at the adventures and the misadventures of Crash Coogan, who got his nickname all because of a long ago incident involving a football helmet and his cousin, Bridget, who Crash knocked down into three feet of post-blizzard snow. Crash is not an inherently bad kid - he's got his flaws just like the rest of the human population. In CRASH, Spinelli takes the archetypal bullying jock and narrates through him, making this book anything but ordinary.
Nonetheless, Crash is a bully. Enter Penn Webb, his target. Why pick on poor Penn, you ask? Why not pick on Penn? is more of the question here. Penn Webb is a skinny Quaker boy, mild-mannered and with a heart of gold. He wears used clothes that are painfully outdated, he's joined the cheerleading squad, his aging parents look like grandparents, and he officially lives in the dinkiest house in the entire universe (a former garage). So Penn, very obviously flawed with qualifications to make him an outcast, must now endure teasing from Crash and his best friend, Mike DeLuca.
Spinelli captures how spoiled and materialistic kids can be today, only they most likely don't view themselves that way. I remember it took me a long time to wake up and realize that yes, I was a spoiled child. All Crash cares about are new sneakers, football, and being the best footballer he can be. Pretty shallow, eh? Crash is a self-centered bully who only cares about himself and how he is viewed by others which, by the way, as I am sure you realize, is a natural thing and has been since the beginning of time.
Read more ›
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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By blvd@superior.net on January 7, 1999
Format: Paperback
Crash Coogan is befriended by the new school "dweeb" and does everything he can to discourage the friendship that Penn Web so badly wants. Crash insults and humiliates Penn, but Penn keeps coming back. Only when Crash's adored grandfather, Scooter" becomes ill, does Crash find out who his real friends are, and the true meaning of friendship. I am a librarian in an elementary school in New York. I read this book to my 5th grades last year. I have had to buy mulitple copies of the book. One year later I still cannot keep it on the shelf. Jerry Spinelli's works have changed once reluctant readers into avid fans who cannot get enough of his books!
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 10, 2007
Format: Paperback
Crash is...........How could I explain it??? Let me tell you it's funny, it's sad, it's hip, it's funky, and it's even more funny. Once I started reading it I couldn't put the book down, I was in love with it. It has so many real life problems that kids go through during entering their teenage years or in the teenage years. One thing I learned from this book is not to make fun of people because you know that the person/people could end up being your best friend/s or being really close to you. This book is awesome, and any stranger who comes up to me and asks me about the book Crash I would say, "Read it, it's a wonderful heartwarming book to read!"
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By mgrzan@ix.netcom.com on January 15, 1998
Format: Paperback
Crash is a not very nice 7th grader who knows he is the best athlete in school and let's everyone know it. He loves being on the football team and scoring the most touchdowns. He can't stand his neighbor, Penn, who is a Quaker and vegetarian and always perky. He won't even shoot back with a water gun. Crash and his best friend, Mike, play many pranks on Penn but he is still cheerful. One day, Crash's beloved grandfather has a stroke and Crash's life starts to turn around. He becomes nice to his little sister and stops playing jokes on Penn. Finally, he makes the biggest choice of his life when he lets Webb win a big relay race to impress Webb's great-grandfather. It's a good-strange feeling for Crash. Now they are best friends! I think this is a great book for everyone, even if you don't like football.
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