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Crash into Me

Crash into Me

4.1 113
by Albert Borris

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Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country,


Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae have one thing in common: they all want to die. When they meet online after each attempts suicide and fails, the four teens make a deadly pact: they will escape together on a summer road trip to visit the sites of celebrity suicides...and at their final destination, they will all end their lives. As they drive cross-country, bonding over their dark impulses, sharing their deepest secrets and desires, living it up, hooking up, and becoming true friends, each must decide whether life is worth living—or if there's no turning back.

"Crash Into Me puts readers in the driver's seat with four teens teetering on the edge of suicide. But will their cross country odyssey push them all the way over? Only the final page turn will tell, in Albert Borris's finely-crafted tale of friendship forged from a desperate need of connection. An exceptional first novel." —Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank

?Take a bathroom break and be sure you have a few free hours because from the moment you open this book you're going to be on the ultimate heartbreaking, poignant road trip to a place you never thought you'd go.? —Todd Strasser, bestselling author of Give a Boy a Gun

"Albert Borris is a powerful and insightful new voice in young adult fiction.? —Neal Schusterman, author of Unwind

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
In this powerful debut, Borris follows a group of teenagers, each of whom has attempted suicide. Jin-Ae (a studious lesbian), Frank (a dejected sports lover), Nirvana-obsessed Audrey and lonely narrator Owen meet in a chat room and make a pact to take a cross-country “Celebrity Suicide Road Trip,” stopping at the graves of Hunter S. Thompson, Kurt Cobain and others (“We're visiting our suicide family—our people,” says Owen). They plan to kill themselves when they reach Death Valley. The well-developed characters have distinct reasons and histories that led to their earlier suicide attempts (a breakup, the death of a sibling). Their conversations over the weeks are tense, candid and often tempered with snarky humor: “Nothing like a four-way suicide pact to get you going in the morning,” says Jin-Ae. Interspersed with chat-room flashbacks and Top 10 lists, Owen's delicate and insightful narrative voice carries the novel: “I suppose it doesn't matter what form love takes; maybe we just need to take it when it comes.” It's a strikingly real account of an improvised family and the ways people change and grow. Ages 14–up. (July)
Children's Literature - Michele C. Hughes
An unathletic sports fan, a lesbian, a compulsive liar, and the guilt-laden narrator take a road trip across the country to fulfill a suicide pact in this story of rebellion and redemption. The realistic characters each have distinct voices in dialogue, and their narratives ring true as they reveal what brought them to contemplate suicide. Frank, the would-be jock, has a troubled relationship with his father. Jin-Ae, a Korean-American, feels trapped between her homosexual orientation and her conservative culture. Audrey, a rebel and a liar, is lonely enough to discuss suicide in a chat room. Owen, the narrator, seeks to escape the crushing sadness that weighs on him since his brother's accidental death. Along the way, the four visit graves of famous people who have taken their own lives and then, perhaps to stall for time, they pursue several items on each person's list of things they would like to do before they die. Owen's growing romantic relationship with Audrey affords him some hope in the midst of his morbid journey. With some ambivalence, Owen chooses to visit his brother's grave in San Francisco where a repressed memory about his family jars both Owen and the reader. The plot moves along evenly and intriguingly, told through Owen's journal of the road trip interspersed with snippets of the instant messaging dialogue that forged their friendship and their pact. Although the group ends their trip in Death Valley as planned, the trip becomes an affirmation of human connection, possibility, and hope rather than the one-way trip to despair they had planned. Reviewer: Michele C. Hughes
VOYA - Amanda MacGregor
Depressed teens Owen, Frank, Audrey, and Jin-Ae meet online and form a suicide pact. Dubbing themselves "The Suicide Dogs," they plan a cross-country celebrity-suicide road trip, which will culminate with their deaths in Death Valley. As they visit the graves of Anne Sexton, Hunter S. Thompson, Ernest Hemingway, Kurt Cobain, and others, Owen, who has tried to kill himself six times, documents their journey on his laptop. Along the way, group members reveal the stories behind their desire to die, telling tales of disappointment, absent parents, dead family members, failure, and sadness. Seeing each other's pain and finally finding support and friendship awakens each to the possibility of choosing life, if only they can find the strength to survive their road trip. Although each character has his or her unique voice and back story, timid, quiet, and broken Owen actually carries the plot. An expert in suicide and psychology, Owen fills his narrative voice with pain and uncertainty that are both believable and affecting. The account of their road trip is interspersed with old instant messages discussing their lives, why they want to die, and how they would kill themselves. The teens also come up with lists as they are in the car, such as the top ten songs about suicide and weirdest celebrity death sites. The content is often terribly disturbing, but Borris's nuanced and exceptionally compelling debut imparts an important message about hope in the bleakest of times. Reviewer: Amanda MacGregor
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up—Introverted Owen, brash confabulator Audrey, struggling lesbian Jin-Ae, and alcoholic Frank don't seem to have much in common, but they bond online over a shared interest: to commit suicide. Some of them have already made repeated attempts, and now they make a pact. They take a cross-country road trip from New Jersey, visiting the graves of famous people who have killed themselves, that will culminate at Death Valley. There, they will take their own lives—no backing down, no changes of heart. But as they crisscross the states, these isolated, unhappy teens begin to connect over more than just their desire to die; as they share their darkest secrets and most cherished wishes, real friendship and even romantic love develop. As the end of their trip grows closer, the time comes to decide: Is life worth living in spite of the pain, or do they keep their deadly promise? Borris's understanding of the emotional lives of teenagers shines through in his nuanced, well-developed portrayals of the protagonists, particularly Owen, the narrator, who emerges as a wry and wise observer of his companions. The action never feels pat or predetermined, and the author's depiction of the complexities of depression and suicide is compassionate, nonjudgmental, and ultimately hopeful. This first novel is a gripping addition to YA collections.—Meredith Robbins, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis High School, New York City
Kirkus Reviews
This is no ordinary road trip. After four high-school students-reticent narrator Owen, perpetual liar Audrey, Korean-American lesbian Jin-Ae and socially inept, alcoholic Frank-meet online, they head west on a celebrity-suicide road trip. Their last planned stop is Death Valley, where they will carry out a suicide pact. During their intense two weeks together, the teens bond emotionally and physically, as they make self-discoveries, explore their own reasons for committing suicide and feel validated for the first time. Flashbacks to the students' online chats show how far they've traveled-in miles and in changed perceptions. As they approach their final destination, they must decide if their trip has come to a conclusion-or if their lives are just beginning. This gripping debut novel gives a spot-on portrayal of depressed and suicidal teens with realistic voices. Fans of Jay Asher's Thirteen Reasons Why (2007) will find this page-turner a hopeful alternative. (Fiction. YA)
From the Publisher
"The ultimate heartbreaking, poignant road trip to a place you never thought you'd go." --Todd Strasser, bestselling author of Give a Boy a Gun

"Crash Into Me puts readers in the driver's seat with four teens teetering on the edge of suicide. But will their cross country odyssey push them all the way over? Only the final page turn will tell, in Albert Borris's finely-crafted tale of friendship forged from a desperate need of connection. An exceptional first novel." -- Ellen Hopkins, bestselling author of Crank

Product Details

Simon Pulse
Publication date:
Product dimensions:
5.76(w) x 8.54(h) x 1.11(d)
HL530L (what's this?)
Age Range:
14 - 18 Years

Read an Excerpt

The third time I tried to kill myself I used a rope. I picked the clothesline from the basement. I f gured the cord didn't have to be real strong because I wasn't going to drop off a bridge or from a tree. I needed it just strong enough to kill me.

I've tried to kill myself six times; seven if you count walking down the median strip near the trucks and thinking of jumping in front of them. I suppose that doesn't really count. I didn't do anything that time except walk and practice falling off the curb into traffi c. Everyone (mostly my mom, the psychiatrists, my two counselors) says that if I wanted to die, I would pick more lethal methods. Rope, I think, is pretty lethal.

The car slows. Frank turns off the expressway.

The third try was my angriest, my most dangerous. I put that thin white cord around my neck and tied a slipknot. Then I pulled it so tight that I pinched the skin on my neck and made myself pass out — but not die. I did end up with a bruise from rope burn that I couldn't explain away. I was in the psych hospital for ten days that time.

The car turns again onto a smaller road.

"How long until we can stop for the bathroom?" Jin-Ae moans from the front seat. Her voice squeaks.

"One minute," replies Frank.

I don't speak. I'm thinking about the rope and my third try, because this time I think I may use a rope again.

We turn into the parking lot. I spot Audrey inside Dunkin' Donuts. She bolts up from the table. I wondered if we would know her right away since she never posted her picture, but her crew cut, the buzz, is unmistakable. She knows us. I watch her grab her pack from the floor and zoom past the counter. Audrey slams out the door toward us.

"Bathroom?" Jin-Ae asks.

Frank nods. He turns off the engine. Jin-Ae opens her door, starts to step out but stops to watch Audrey. I like being in the backseat where I can watch them both. Outside, Audrey heaves her cup at the trash can. It misses. She doesn't stop, just keeps bounding toward the car.

"She's in a rush," Frank comments.

"Nothing like a four-way suicide pact to get you going in the morning," Jin-Ae says. She's always a bit loud, angry, abrasive, something.

Audrey is at Frank's window. "Let's go," she says.

"Down, girl," replies Jin-Ae, finally stepping outside the car. "Gotta pee."

"Can't we get going? I hate this town," Audrey whines. She leans in to look at me. "A pleasure to meet you, Your Highness. You all look different in person."

"She's in a hurry," Jin-Ae says to Frank, mocking Audrey.

"Come on," Audrey replies. "Mush, dogs."

Frank seems to smile at that comment. "Couple minutes. We need to stretch a little," he says to Audrey. "Been driving for hours already."

Jin-Ae points to the purple scar across Audrey's forehead. "So that's what a frying pan can do."

Audrey grunts but doesn't answer.

Frank gets out, takes Audrey's bag, and walks to the trunk. Audrey climbs into the backseat, near me, without saying another word.

I scramble out. We use the toilets, and then load up on doughnuts, and head north. None of us talk. We know where we're going, and what's in store.

Maybe I shouldn't have come on this trip. I don't even want to talk to them. It's so much easier to talk to people on the computer. You don't have to look at their faces. You can walk away. You can write whatever you want and then turn the computer off. I like it that way. Farther away from people.

"I'm officially a runaway now," Audrey says, once we're on the road again.

"What?" says Jin-Ae, turning from the front seat to look at her. "No wonder you're in such a hurry. Are we going to have the cops after us? Amber Alert and all that crap?"

"Just kidding." Audrey shakes her head. "I left a note."

"Suicide note?"

"No. I told my mom that I needed time to get my head together, and that I was staying at a friend's house for a while. She'll call my cell phone and yell, but she won't call the cops."

Frank turns the music up loud. "She better not," he yells.

"Won't matter in two weeks anyway," I mutter. No one hears me.

"Then how'd you get away from the folks, Frank?" Audrey hollers. "You tell 'em you're going on the celebrity suicide road trip?"

"No need to shout." He smirks, turning the music down. "And I don't know what you mean. I'm home. Like I told you, my parents are in Germany for a month. My brother is supposed to be watching me. Told him to cover for me or I'd narc him out for his weed."

"Really?" says Jin-Ae, excited. She grabs his arm. "Extortion?"

"Nice," says Audrey. She rearranges herself in the backseat, turning sideways with her feet resting against my legs, which makes me a little nervous. I'm not used to being touched. "All right you two, how about it?"

Jin-Ae says, "Hang on." She bends down, shuffling through her pocketbook.

Audrey, in the meantime, opens a small bag and pulls out a CD. She taps Frank on the shoulder with the case. "Nirvana."

He shakes his head. "Not yet. You have plenty of time."

"Two weeks," I say. Again, it doesn't seem like anyone hears me.

Audrey mumbles something I don't understand, and drops the disc onto the front seat between him and Jin-Ae. Frank turns right, following the turnpike signs.

"Here," Jin-Ae says, handing Audrey a piece of paper. "Our itinerary." She smirks. I spot our high school letterhead. I lean over, rereading with Audrey the list of fifteen colleges and universities that she and I are supposedly visiting.

"Nice fake. Federal offense, but nice forgery anyway."

"Works because we're from the same town," Jin-Ae explains. Audrey hands the paper to me, stares at me as if I should talk. Finally I do.

"Jin-Ae talked my mom into the phony college tour," I say. "My dad is in California, but they don't talk to each other, anyway."

"I even convinced them that there was a fee," Jin-Ae says, "so we both have some money."

I thought Audrey would be impressed by that comment, but she doesn't seem to care. "How long until Boston?" she asks. We're back on the highway now. Jin-Ae adjusts the mirror on her visor. For a second, I can see her face. Then nothing but dark hair. Audrey pulls out a pack of cigarettes.

"Five hours," says Frank. Audrey leans forward, offering Jin-Ae and Frank a cigarette. Frank shakes his head. "Don't smoke in the car, okay?" Audrey snaps the pack closed and sits back, hard.

According to MapQuest, Forest Hills Cemetery in Jamaica Plain, now part of Boston, Massachusetts, is 294 miles from the Cherry Hill Mall in New Jersey. Pictures on Google show a massive castlelike exterior and gate. If we're lucky, we'll arrive before rush hour and before the cemetery closes for the evening. I'd hate for our first stop to include jumping fences, especially in the dark.

Audrey keeps talking. "So, Jin-Ae, why do you get to pick first? You say 'head north' and we just have to follow?"

I find myself answering before Jin-Ae can speak. "Audrey, it's best to start on the East Coast. Everybody gets one suicide."

"Oh," says Audrey, "that's a cute pun there, Fact Boy. Nobody kills themselves more than once, right?"

"We share any extras," says Frank, taking her attention away from me. No one seems to see me shrink.

"I should have picked two," Audrey says, sitting back, folding her arms across her chest. "Three, even."

"E. E. Cummings and Eugene O'Neill are also buried there," Jin-Ae offers.

"Good research," Audrey says sarcastically. "Who were they?"

"Poet and playwright."


"No." Jin-Ae taps her nails on the window, obviously irritated.

"Then why are we going to see them?"

"We're not," Jin-Ae rebuffs. "First stop is Anne Sexton."

Audrey looks at me, ignoring Jin-Ae. "Bring any of their poetry?"

I shake my head, then look away.

"Hell, Audrey," says Jin-Ae. "None of us probably ever read anything by them. Anyone?" Jin-Ae's nail points to each of us. No answers. "See."

"They're famous," Frank states.

"They're dead," says Audrey.

"Amen," replies Jin-Ae.

Copyright © 2009 by Albert Borris

Meet the Author

Albert Borris
is a national award-winning student-assistance counselor who deals daily with issues of teen depression, suicide, substance abuse, and sexuality. He lives in New Jersey with his wife, teenage daughter, and two young sons. Crash into Me is his first novel.

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Crash into Me 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 110 reviews.
alexsiscaldwell More than 1 year ago
I got this book yesturday. I finished it in a few short hours. From the first sentence, I was hooked. I forgot that I was even reading; and became apart of the story. I awoke with a new way of seeing things; positively. I highly recomend this Amazing book. :)
book_wormx3 More than 1 year ago
At first I was a little unsure about how much I would like this book because of the characters pretty much going on a suicide trip, but I was so wrong. This book is so wonderful and I would recommend everyone to read this. The characters are so lively and I thought that I was on the road trip with Jin-Ae, Frank, Owen, and Audrey. The dialouge is how my friends and I speak so i could relate to how they were feeling. I only have had this book for a month and I have already read it a few times. THIS IS A MUST READ!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
i loved this book! very good teen read(:
notsurehi More than 1 year ago
I read it as part of last year's book club, and I loved it so much I bought it for my cousin as a Christmas present.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I highly recomend this book, i loved it. At points i didnt like the diologe between the charecters, but this book made me want to go on a road trip, it got me thinking, and i absolotly loved it. One thing i hated was the ending, it was suspenceful, which i hate. The ending made me want to throw my precious book against the wall. But its deffinitly worth reading.... Go read it.
Jane Krause More than 1 year ago
Wow good book
Jordan Dermody More than 1 year ago
This was a really good book! Short read but good:)
Sierra Clegg More than 1 year ago
This book totally resonated with me
BooksWithBite More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because of the hope it brings. Four friends gather together for one last trip before they kill themselves. All of them stricken by some type of guilt or pain just want out of this world. During this trip they discover that there is much more to life. Hope. I love this book. All four of them found each other with no one else to lean one, they found hope together in their unique friendship. During their trip, they visit graves of people who committed suicide as well as fulfilling their one last wish. I loved that while reading this book you found yourself watching them find hope in the new found friendship. Little by little each of them let down their guard letting the others in to their world. We saw Owen whocarried an extreme amount of guilt for years. Frank who felt like no one was their him. Audrey who just wanted to get away. And Jin-Ae who had trouble being herself. In the end they realized that they are not alone and always had each other. They also fell in love. And love made them see the world in a different place. They wanted to travel more and do things that they have never down before. Love and hope gave them a hunger for something they never though they have. There was some sex(nothing graphic just talk of it), drugs, and of course illegal stuff.*
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Its gr8
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
At first i wasnt sure i would really like it, but after i finished it i really loved it and it gave me a new outlook on life. Its amazing i recommend it. (:
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great story, especially for youth.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
missheart3 More than 1 year ago
one of the best books i have ever read, from the first sentence your hooked. I honestly couldn't put the book down everywhere i went the book was in my hand. I ended up reading the book more than once
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Bookworm101 I. Am. In. Love. With. This. Book. Im not suicidal, and i thought this book was . Read it un 3 houts. I forgot it was a book, the author uses such great discription, i thought it was a movie. One of my favorits! U dont uave 2 b suicidal to like this book.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Dazzlamb More than 1 year ago
When I first saw the cover of Crash into Me, I was intrigued. A boy and a girl holding on to each other like they will never be able to fall again when stumbling. I expected a quite steamy romance, so when I read the book’s back I was surprised to encounter something very different. Crash into Me is about four young people who still need to find their place in life... or in death. Everyone of the Suicide Dogs, as they call their group, has a different personality and other reasons for suicide. The group’s name expresses something wild and uncontrollable, just like the kids themselves are in their decisions to take their lives. As we learn more about their pasts, we are drawn deeper into their dark secrets and begin to understand how they feel. Suicide is a very drastic and burdening act to be confronted with in a YA novel. It is still a very important topic, a problem no one should ignore so easily. Albert Borris treats the topic with respect, but still achieves to integrate funny scenes which relax the dark atmosphere of this suicide trip. Sometimes the ironic way is exactly the right way to call attention to an important topic. That Crash into Me didn’t turn out too dark and depressed was achieved by adding some romance and even the time for wishes and hope. Between each chapter of the Suicide Dogs’ journey are Top Ten lists or extracts of chat sessions, which I really enjoyed and considered as softening up the whole serious story. The journey was very exciting, but in the end I missed some more informations. Suddenly actions accumulated and the end came way to abrupt. In my opinion this novel could have contained a few more pages, but the overall story and plot idea are thrilling and interesting. This is a novel about the darkest of your days and the way finding the path back to light. Four teenagers go on a road trip, but they will explore so much more than just a few famous American spots. THE VERDICT Sometimes a road trip can be the shortest way to yourself! Crash into Me is about a road trip full of adventures, freedom and self-discovery. Sometimes even the darkest of your thoughts can be fought with the bright shining light of friendship, comfort and love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book and sorry about my typos in my comment below
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