Tammara's Reviews > Collision Course

Collision Course by S.C. Stephens
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May 19, 12

Read from April 21 to 26, 2012

Lucas is a boy in denial. As the sole survivor of a horrific accident that took the lives of his three best friends - including his girlfriend - he can't move past the denial, unless he's also immersed in guilt. Healing after a tragedy is never 1-2-3 simple. We don't clip-clop down the stages of grief, step onto the last spot and proclaim that all is well. Healing is a jerky, irrational, two-steps-up and one-step-back mess. We get stuck, and we backslide. We also cling to the aspects of one stage while moving to the next - and that is what Lucas does in Collision Course. He adds the horrible aspects of each step to his burden as he goes, rather than leaving it behind.

Complicating matters for Lucas are the things he never did or said. This made me think of the John Mayer song, Say. When my brother died, I was at his side. That was a miracle in itself - I literally arrived 15 minutes before he breathed his last breath, and it has always seemed to me like he waited for me. In my case, I repeated things I'd said to him before: I love you. You're the best little brother I could have had, and I'm so grateful that you were in my life. I'll miss you so much. I said these things because I wanted him to hear them, having no idea until later how healing it was in that moment, for me, to be able to say them to him.

Lucas isn't given the chance to say the important things or make the grand gestures. He was planning to tell Lil he loved her. They were planning to sleep together for the first time, but hadn't yet. Though he'd been best friends with Darren since they were five, and close friends with Darren's girlfriend, Sammy, he didn't get to say goodbye. The accident was quick, violent, and loud - and Lucas - the designated driver and the only sober person in the car - remembers it all.

He tells people he doesn't remember the accident, and the entire town believes he was drinking, too. Rumors abound, and because Lucas isn't fighting the gossip or standing up for himself, the gossip grows to impossible proportions. He feels survivor guilt. He feels inexperienced driver guilt (the road was slick from a sudden storm, and he hit the brake when he shouldn't have, sending the car off of the embankment). He feels incomplete from all that wasn't said or done. So he dreams his friends back into existence - pretending, in a way, that they aren't really gone. When awake, he wishes he'd died with them, every cruel taunt adding to his belief that he's guilty.

He experiences every possible emotion all at once, alone. His loneliness and isolation is, ultimately, what's keeping him from moving on. He needs someone to accept him, to care about his pain, to try to pull him out of that first stage. Enter Sawyer. I loved this girl. Loved her. She was one of the most selfless characters I've ever read. She wasn't perfect, but she was perfect for Lucas - patient and kind. She trusted her instincts, something that is a challenge for her (we learn from her backstory), because her belief in people has been unfounded in the past.

Is this a sad, depressing story? Yes. But it's profoundly moving, as well. And healing. If you've experienced a tragedy of your own, you will see yourself in parts of it. If someone you love is dealing with grief, you'll find ways to help. Ms. Stephens has penned another story told with raw, messy honesty, and I admire the hell out of her for it. She also writes with hope, and that isn't easy to do, with a story like this one.

Informative website: The Five Stages of Grief
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Comments (showing 1-9 of 9) (9 new)

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Jenny - TotallybookedBlog you will love this Tammara...be sure to have tissues on hand. It's a beautiful book with some lovely, warm characters

message 2: by Tammara (new) - added it

Tammara Thanks for the warning - will do. :)

Xenia Ha, I've just started that one as well - so far it seems quite promising! Looking forward to your review when you finish it :)

message 4: by Tammara (new) - added it

Tammara I've heard good things, and was really happy to see it on kindle!

Jenny - TotallybookedBlog it's a really emotional book Tammara. Can't wait to hear what you think of it.

Amanda Merkord I actually just started this book!!

Jenny - TotallybookedBlog Amanda you will LOVE it! as I said...have tissues ready. It really is a beautiful read. One of my faves

Jennifer LaFon - Book Bitches Blog great read but like Jenny said, have the tissues ready!!!

Janet I loved this book ... It made me cry in the sad and happy way ...

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