Crash Into Me (2009), by Albert Borris

The premise is that four highschool students who have met online in a chatroom devoted to teen suicide decide to travel across the USA visiting the graves of famous suicide victims, then drive to Death Valley and kill themselves. Not the most auspicious of beginnings.  The characters are well constructed, and knowledge of the narrator judicially presented, so that in the end, the plot twist that helps us understand the narrator’s history and thus psyche is extremely artfully delivered.  The ending, so carefully and successfully orchestrated, is the best part of the book, however; I never fully engaged with any of the characters or their problems. The author was for decades a school counsellor, and his expert understanding of teen psychology does come out in the novel, but his characters exhibit perhaps a little too much “me, me, me,” even for a teen angst novel.  The exclusion of any other perspectives did not permit for a balanced consideration of their positions, even when they were continually commenting on one another’s perspectives on reality, and ultimately did help to heal one another.  Overall, I felt the book was too focused inward, both in terms of characters and overall tone.  The fabulously crafted ending almost redeems the preceding story, but not quite.

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