CLASS COLLISION: FALL FROM GRACE (Class Collision #1)
Received from author for review
David has always been privileged and wealthy, he doesn't know anything different. He's used to having servants wait on him, a doting mother to shower him in praise, and an older brother to stay hidden in the shadows while he's in the limelight. With his extravagant lifestyle has grown an attitude to match, and David often takes pleasure in tearing down those around him for no other reason than to cause them pain.
That all changes when he and his brother Alex are kidnapped, held for ransom, and brutally beaten. In a failed escape attempt, David is left behind, distracting his captors so his brother can run to safety. Presumed dead by his family, David is forced to deal with the reality of the Great Depression, and for the next several years until he's sixteen, he struggles day to day just to survive.
In the course of his search for a new job David meets Linda, the daughter of his new employer. Though she's beautiful, she has an attitude similar to the one he had when he was younger–indifferent to the thoughts and feelings of those around her and seemingly only interested in selfish pursuits. Like David however, there's more to Linda than her prickly demeanor, and in each other they find something for which they didn't know they had been searching. The cruel reality of the time in which they live begins to puncture the small bubble of happiness they're forming with one another however, and they realize they must make a decision that will irrevocably change the course of their future.
Don't let your first visual impression of Class Collision deter you from picking it up. Though outwardly this book appears a bit bland and uninteresting–its cover ultimately reminiscent of a collegiate textbook–what awaits us in between the pages is far more intriguing and engrossing than first glance might suggest. This is a powerful and compelling read, one that illustrates for us the many types of abuse, our eyes forced brutally open as we bear witness to characters who both dispense and endure punishment with either a sharp tongue or a closed fist. Class Collision is a beautifully executed character study, showing us just how truly complex human nature is by putting both the protagonists and the secondary characters in difficult situations that leave us feeling a little like scientists on the other side of the glass, studiously watching enthralled as their reactions to their circumstances shock, anger, please, and confuse us simultaneously.
Both David and Linda are individuals who incite warring emotions in us, at times infuriating us to a degree where we're not sure we'll ever connect to them personally, and then slowly revealing new facets of their personalities that allow us to better understand their thoughts and actions as they begin to earn our respect. Many times in young adult fiction, characters meet another person who makes them want to change, but their progression into this new state of being is seemingly instant as they shed the old persona with ease and pull the new one on with no lingering remnants of the previous personality left in tact. Primarily with David, but certainly with Linda as well, the mental and emotional progression is believably gradual–the old habits and bothersome flaws never fade completely but instead rear up now and again even as they both attempt to remedy past mistakes, making the two of them individuals whom we see honestly and clearly without being blinded by the beauty of their fictional perfection.
Along with two perfectly imperfect main characters, we are also given a monstrous villain, for lack of a better term, in Linda's father Gordon. While venom spews from his mouth regarding his "rights" as a father and vicarious pain radiates from the places his fists make contact, an intense loathing begins to stir in our guts and travels to our lips to curl them in disgust as our only form of protest against his actions. For those who love to read stories where the characters inspire intense emotional reactions and exist in shades of gray that make it impossible to reduce them to a one-word label other than to say they are not-so-simply human, then this is the perfect read. We are left with the wide open expanse of possibility laid out before David and Linda, and I'm certainly looking forward to seeing where their drive and determination takes them next.