Note: This review contains some minor spoilers!
Crumble was a pretty powerful read. It's real and raw. It's disturbing. It made me angry and sad. It does not have a happy ending. This book deals with a whole slew of issues including inter-racial relationships, racism, teenage pregnancy, domestic violence, and guns. Rather than delve deeply into any of the issues, the author chose to show us a snapshot of the lives of a small cast of characters.
Sarah is in love with David, one of the only black students in town. They have a relationship that they hide from everyone except a small group of close friends. Racism is prevalent in Sarah's small town and her own father sports a confederate flag on his truck. When she finds out she's pregnant, Sarah and David have to decide what to do. They are both high achievers with plans for college. A baby would change everything. An interracial child may destroy Sarah's relationship with her father and her reputation in town.
Alex has an abusive alcoholic father and only one friend to speak of. He is secretly in love with Sarah but she is out of his league. Sarah's father, George, takes Alex under his wing and gives him refuge from his father and a job at his gun shop.
As events unfold throughout the book we get a real look at how all of these issues affect each character. Should Sarah get an abortion? How does she choose between the father who has always been there for her and the boy she loves? Sarah gets a glimpse of the indifference and hate that David and his family live with on a daily basis. Alex's story shows us how twisted a mind can become when it is continually broken down and then built back up with hate and intolerance. We see how love can be beautiful but also heartbreaking and how easily love can become corrupted and turn into hate.
There are so many issues touched upon by this book. Many readers may feel unsatisfied because none of them are explored in depth. Instead, we get a picture of how these issues affect these main characters. As I said above, there is no happy ending here. Despite that, this is a book that should be read. By everyone. How circumstances like these can exist in our modern society just boggles my mind and makes me angry that such twisted ideas and hate can exist.
I give Ms. Philips a lot of credit for tackling such heavy issues and tackling them in a way that does not cheapen them. I give her credit for not wrapping everything up with a shiny bow and pretending that every story has a happily ever after. I applaud her for writing such real characters with hard problems. I definitely recommend this book - not only to fans of YA fiction, but to fans of realistic fiction in general.