Uh-oh, it looks like your Internet Explorer is out of date.

For a better shopping experience, please upgrade now.



4.0 14
by Ellen Hopkins

See All Formats & Editions

From the New York Times bestselling author of Triangles comes an exquisitely told story about a young woman torn between passionate first love and the gripping realities of war.

Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backupin her best friend’s


From the New York Times bestselling author of Triangles comes an exquisitely told story about a young woman torn between passionate first love and the gripping realities of war.

Meet Ashley, a graduate student at San Diego State University. She was raised in northern California reading poetry and singing backupin her best friend’s band. The last thing she ever expected was to end up a military wife. But one night, she meets a handsome Marine named Cole. He doesn’t match the stereotype of the aggressive military man she’d always presumed to be true; he’s passionate and romantic, and he even writes poetry. Their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that goes on for five years and survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, with similar professional pursuits and values, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war.

Written in Ellen Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateral captures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of the friends, family, and lovers they leave behind. While those at home may be far from the relentless, sand-choked skies of the Middle East and the crosshairs of a sniper rifle, they, too, sacrifice their lives and happiness for their country at war. And all must eventually ask themselves if the collateral damage it causes is worth the fight.



Loving Any Soldier

Is extremely hard. Loving a Marine who’s an aggressive frontline marksman

is almost impossible, especially when he’s deployed . . .

. . . Cole’s battalion has already deployed twice to Iraq and once to Afghanistan. Draw-down be damned, Helmand Province and beyond

looks likely for his fourth go-round. You’d think it would get easier. But ask

me, three scratch-free homecomings make another less likely in the future.

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Having triumphed last year with an adult novel, Triangles, YA phenomenon Hopkins returns with the story of two women, two men, and the military that comes between them. MFA student/band backup singer Ashley never thought she would fall for a soldier until she met Cole and then endures five years' worth of deployments, uncertain whether to commit to marriage. Best friend Darian does marry a marine but finds life as a military wife unbearable and has decided on divorce when tragedy strikes. Expect a big audience; with a reading group guide.
Publishers Weekly
Bestselling author Hopkins turns her signature free verse style to modern war and its fallout for her second adult novel (after Triangles). College student Ashley Patterson meets Cole Gleason, a Marine, in a bar; they fall in like, in lust, in love. Their relationship spans the ups and downs of five years and four deployments. Cole’s experiences in the war zone, what he has to do to survive, and how it translates to the home front define the relationship, as Ashley struggles to build a life simultaneously with and without him: “Semper Gumby. Always flexible.” She works with veterans at the VA hospital: “A few showed me their ramblings. I could/ fix their grammar. But not their memories.” Free verse from two perspectives (using different fonts; san serif for Cole, serif for Ashley) mixes with earnest, often sorrowful poems written by Ashley and Cole: “Ask/ a soldier// what he believes in./ He’ll tell you God. Country./ The patient hands of death—.” The link between war and poetry is nothing new, and, over almost 500 pages, Hopkins turns the sum of her disparate parts into a clear narrative that is uplifting and heartbreaking, but also familiar and a little too easy, featuring characters grappling with the serious issues of our time. Agent: Laura Rennert, the Andrea Brown Literary Agency. (Nov.)
Though Hopkins is known mostly for her young-adult novels, her latest is an absorbing grown-up story, told in beautiful blank verse, about three friends with messy family and romantic lives.
EW.com ("Must-List" pick)

“Though Hopkins is known mostly for her young-adult novels, her latest is an absorbing grown-up story, told in beautiful blank verse, about three friends with messy family and romantic lives.”
The Denver Post
“Searing. . . . Hopkins examines the highs and lows of the mercurial nature of a relationship with someone whose first loyalty is to his (or her) country.”
Kirkus Reviews
Written in Hopkins' signature free verse (Triangles, 2011, etc.), this book examines the relationship between a young California woman and the Marine she loves in language that ranges from raw to tender. Ashley and her Marine boyfriend paint their relationship in searing physical terms in this uneven tale of two best friends and the men they love. Ashley, a college student who still relies on her parents to support her, and Darian, her roommate, meet Cole and Spencer at a club one night. The two Marines are stationed nearby, but Wyoming-born Cole seems gentle and poetic to Ashley, despite his brutal profession. Ashley's parents deplore the relationship, and her mother, who hates the military, is especially critical of the pairing. She believes Cole is a butcher, but Ashley, who knows that Cole writes poetry and has a loving, sweet side, is convinced he is a much more complex man than her parents realize. Darian and Spencer are another story, though. Their rocky relationship bounces from heaven to hell faster than a melting ice cube, and Darian's sexuality is like a sign she wears around her neck. Although eventually married to Spencer, she can't seem to stop finding other men with whom to occupy her time. Hopkins specializes in writing long-form free verse, and her fans are rabid about her work, but for those who've never before dipped a toe into this style, the book may prove tough going and, in some places, overtly sexual. Although the author assures readers she meticulously researched the book for details about the military and military life, she insists on calling Cole a "soldier," which is a term appropriate to the Army, but eschewed by members of the Marine Corps. She gets many of the other details of military life right and brings much passion to her work, but that one major stumble may turn off military readers. A melodramatic and very often overwrought volume that attempts to capture the heart and soul of what it's like to be the girl left behind.

Product Details

Atria Books
Publication date:
Sold by:
Sales rank:
File size:
3 MB

Read an Excerpt


As Earth returns to chaos, her women brace to mourn,

excavate their buried faith, tap reservoirs of grace, to mourn.

Soldiers steady M-16s, search stillborn eyes for welcome

or signs of commonality. Ferreting no trace, they mourn.

Few are safe, where passions swell like gangrened limbs

you cannot amputate. Sever one, another takes its place,

and you mourn.

Freefall into martyrdom, a bronze-skinned youth slips into the

crowd, pulls the pin. He and destiny embrace, together mourn.

Grenades are colorblind. A woman falls, spilling ebony hair

beside the blond in camouflage. Death’s doorman gives chase. All


Even hell capitulates to sudden downpour. Cloudburst sweeps across

the hardpan, cracks its bloodstained carapace. Hear God mourn.

Up through scattered motes, a daughter reaches for an album. She

climbs into a rocking chair to search for Daddy’s face, and mourn.

Downstairs, a widow splinters on the bed, drops her head into his

silhouette, etched in linen on the pillowcase, to mourn.

Alone, the world is ugly in black. When final night descends

to blanket memory, drops its shroud of tattered lace, who will




About war, creating vivid images

of severed limbs, crusting body fluids

and restless final sleep, using nothing

more than a few well-crafted words.

Easy enough to jab philosophically

from the comfort of a warm winter

hearth or an air-conditioned summer.

But what can a sequestered writer know

of frontline realities—blistering

marches under relentless sand-choked

skies, where you’d better drink

your weight in water every day or die

from dehydration? Flipside—teeth-

cracking nights, too frigid for action,

bored out of your mind as you try

to stay warm in front of a makeshift fire.

How can any distant observer know

of traversing rock-rutted trails,

hyperaware that your camouflage comes

with a built-in bull’s-eye; or of sleeping

with one ear listening for incoming

peril; or of the way fear clogs your

pores every time you climb inside

a Humvee and head out for a drive?

You can see these things in movies.

But you can’t understand the way

they gnaw your heart and corrode

your mind, unless you’ve been a soldier

outside the wire in a country where

no one native is really your friend,

and anyone might be your enemy.

You don’t know till you’re ducking

bullets. The only person you dare rely

on is the buddy who looks a lot like

you—too young for this, leaking bravado,

and wearing the same uniform.

Even people who love soldiers—

people like me—can only know these

things tangentially, and not so much

because of what our beloveds tell us

as what they’ll never be able to.


Me about falling in love

with a guy in the military,

I’d tell you to about-face

and double-time toward

a decent, sensible civilian.

Someone with a fat bank

account and solid future,

built on dreams entirely

his own. I’d advise you

to detour widely around

any man who prefers fatigues

to a well-worn pair of jeans;

whose romantic getaways

are defined by three-day

leaves; who, at age twenty-

six has drunk more liquor

than most people manage

in a lifetime. He and his

fellow grunts would claim

it’s just for fun. A way to let

their hair down, if they had

much hair to speak of. But

those they leave behind,

devoted shadows, understand

that each booze-soaked

night is a short-lived

retrieve from uncertain

tomorrows, unspeakable

yesterdays. Service. Sacrifice.

The problem with that being,

everyone attached to those

soldiers must sacrifice, too.

So, as some Afghani warlord

might say, put that in your

pipe and smoke it. Okay, that

was actually my grandpa’s saying.

But it works, and what I mean

is, think long and hard before

offering your heart to someone

who can only accept it part-time.

Meet the Author

Ellen Hopkins is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of eleven young adult novels, as well as the adult novels Triangles, Collateral, and Love Lies Beneath. She lives with her family in Carson City, Nevada, where she has founded Ventana Sierra, a nonprofit youth housing and resource initiative. Visit her at EllenHopkins.com and on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter at @EllenHopkinsLit.

Customer Reviews

Average Review:

Post to your social network


Most Helpful Customer Reviews

See all customer reviews

Collateral: A Novel 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read every single book by Ellen Hopkins. Im telling you read anything and everything by her because her books will always give you something to think about. They do what books are supposed to do: entertain!
BlkosinerBookBlog More than 1 year ago
Holy wow. This was my first Hopkins book and let me just say that I was blown away. This is a story that packs quite a punch and left me reeling. She totally surprised me with the ending but yet I was happy and broken hearted all at the same time. Collateral is def a book for mature teens and if it is not classified as.new adult I think it is a perfect candidate. There is more steamy scenes than I am used to with traditional ya but I think it was still in good taste and fit with the tone of the story. There is also drinking and sinew pretty disturbing scenes but I think it use one of the most realistic stories I have read about soldiers. I think that it was said best though that you can't really understand unless you are a soldier or the emotional toll that it takes on a family or loves one that the soldier leaves behind. Ashley the main character took me on quite a journey with her and it was an emotional one. I really felt for her and understood the places her mind took her. She was brave for the decisions she made and I appreciate the emotional cost of the decisions she made and the growth that I saw in her how she loves Cole, finds herself and ultimately makes the best choices for herself no matter how. Bottom line: Hard hitting, emotional story about a soldier at war and the woman he leaves behind.
KDH_Reviews More than 1 year ago
Ellen Hopkins is one of my favorite authors. To date, this has been the only novel of hers that disappointed me. One of the things I've enjoyed most about Ellen Hopkins's books has always been her ability to pull off stories done in verse. It didn't happen here. While I want the story to be a complete story (and it was), it didn't read like poetry to me. It read like a story that was cut up and formatted to look like poetry instead of being actual poetry. This was probably the biggest disappointment for me. The story was frustrating. There were so many times when I wish Ashley would just get fed up with Cole's BS and leave him. Ashley is supposed to be smart, but her actions prove otherwise. As someone that's been in a relationship and refused to leave (even when I knew I should) because of love, I could understand to a certain extent. By the end of the book, though, I was irritated and fed up with Ashley. Instead of seeing a smart woman, I saw a weak, selfish, and naive girl. After everything she had been through with Cole, it was disappointing to see that she had grown little as a character. Cole's character is hard to flesh out in the story as we don't see very much from his point-of-view. We're presented with certain facts about him and left to fill in the rest of it ourselves. Unfortunately, I feel like this paints Cole into a negative light that doesn't necessarily do justice to who he really is. [Note, I'm not defending him or his actions.] Overall, I didn't care for Collateral very much. I was really looking forward to this book and I'm saddened that it didn't live up to my expectations. That being said, I'm sure many people will love Collateral. 2.5/5 stars
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Although this book was written well and in a unique manner, I would not recommend it to someone who is in a relationship with a military member. Throughout the novel, Hopkins drills in the dangers of dating marines. I thought this was a bit unfair. When all was said and done, the strongest message I took away from it was that marines are damaged and not suitable for healthy relationships. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. I could not put it down. I rrad everything ellen hopkins writes she is my favorite author. Collateral was just so different. I know little to nothing about the military and what their families go through everyday. For me to get insight was interesting as well as shocking. The twist and turn in this book were so unexpected. Th eending caught me off guard. It was a great book and i hope everyone reads it. It gives you a insight to the military life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Ellen obviously does not write a bad book. It keeps your interest through out the entire book. The way she flips you from past to present time keeps you wanting more. The story line is such a great idea because its relative to the world around us now. The things we ignore that we shouldnt! She should have went more indetailed with some of the events and scenes! It leaves you wishing she would have wrote more and developed the character and scene more. All in all though very happy and would reccomend it. GOOD BUY!
KrittersRamblings More than 1 year ago
Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings My second Ellen Hopkins book and this one was just as good as the last, if not even better.  Centered around the war abroad, this book takes you into a relationship between a young woman and a new Marine as they try to live through deployments and very minimal time together.  The book unravels with many details that affect her relationship from his commitment level to past experiences her parents have had with the military - I never realized how many outside factors can affect a relationship beyond the two who are involved.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasnt exactly what I was expecting but overall definetly a great book! I will reccomend to anyone who enjoys this type of book!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I can't get passed this author calling Marines "Soldiers". Soldiers are in the United States Army. Not the United States Marine Corp. Individuals in the Marine Corp are Marines. I'm in the Air Force and I'm an Airman. Navy are Sailors. I wish people would stop calling every military member Soldiers. Decent book though although I'm not a fan of the book written in stanzas.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Good nook book
reader02VA More than 1 year ago
I did not particularly care for the style in which the book was written. I had a hard time staying interested.