by Jerry Spinelli 

About the book: "Crash" John Coogan is the typical jock. At least what most of us have in mind as a jock. He's cool; he's popular; he's well-dressed. Crash has a wonderful life, until life deals him a hand that he could not have expected. When Crash's grandfather unexpectedly has a stroke, Crash unconsciously steps back and re-evaluates his life -- without even realizing he's doing it. Suddenly, his cool friends don't seem so cool anymore. Things that were once the most important in his life, become trivial. As a result of his grandfather's illness, Crash becomes more aware of the world around him and realizes there more important things in life than breaking records in football. 

Crash is an easy-to-read young adult novel. Jerry Spinelli allows the reader to see the finer points in life, without dragging his reader in a "touch-feely" kind of story. Boys will be drawn to this book because of the sports aspect, and the book is told from a guy's point of view (Crash, of course). And what's really great is that girls will also be able to relate to this book because Spinelli does a wonderful job of weaving female characters into the story. Spinelli does this in such a way that neither the boy reader or the girl reader will be turned off by the story line. Crash is a wonderful book that touches on many issues which both boys and girls will be able to relate to. 

About the Author: Jerry Spinelli began writing when he was 16 — not much older than the hero of his book Maniac Magee. After his high school football team won a big game, his classmates ran cheering through the streets — all except Spinelli, who went home and wrote a poem about the victory. When his poem was published in the local paper, Spinelli decided to become a writer instead of a major-league shortstop. In most of his books, Spinelli writes about events and feelings from his own childhood. He also gets a lot of material from his seven adventurous kids! Spinelli and his wife, Eileen, also a children's book author, live in Pennsylvania. (Source: 

OTHER BOOKS BY JERRY SPINELLI: (Not a complete list!) 

  • The Bathwater Gang. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990
  • Do the Funky Pickle. New York: Scholastic, 1992
  • Knots in My Yo-Yo String: The Autobiography of a Kid. New York: Knopf, 1998
  • *Maniac Magee. Boston: Little, Brown, 1990 (My personal favorite!)
  • There's a Girl in my Hammerlock. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1991
  • Who Put that Hair in my Toothbrush? Boston: Little, Brown, 1984

For more information about Jerry Spinelli, please visit the following sites: 


Embracing the Child
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This web page created by Terri Kelly.  As a middle grades educator and as a parent, I value books that allow adolescents to enjoy reading while helping them to look inside themselves. Young adult novels are a vital part of an adolescent's life. Books such as Crash are an ideal way for teens to link what they know to what they read.


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