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Review: Collateral

December 9, 2012


Ashley and her best friend, Darian, are students at San Diego State University when they meet a couple special guys.  The problem is, they’re Marines, and that can only mean one thing – deployment and separations.  Ashley has never pictured herself as a military wife, so she’s hesitant at first.  She and Cole are thrown together a lot, though, since Darian and Spencer’s relationship has developed so quickly.

As Ashley gets to know Cole, she discovers that he’s not at all what she expected a Marine to be.  Rather than macho and tough, he’s sensitive, calm, and caring.  He even writes poetry and it’s good.  He’s not around much, though – he’s transferred and deployed – so their relationship carries on long distance but they see each other as often as they can.  They become engaged and, after a while, Ashley begins to have doubts.  The deployments seem to have changed Cole or is she the one who’s changed?  She has to decide if she can live in the shadow of war.

Collateral, by Ellen Hopkins, is a very powerful book.  Since it’s written in her usual verse, the language is spare, yet telling.  I am in awe of Hopkins’ writing and I think she is a genius.  To write such an emotionally charged book in verse can be no easy task but she does it extremely well.  I cried, gasped, and cringed as I read this fabulous book.

Ashley and Cole are both wonderful characters that many people will be able to relate to.  They just want to be together and love each other but he feels a duty to serve his country.  Coming second to a calling like that is hard to live with and takes a strong person.  Hopkins gives readers a glimpse of what it’s like for both characters – the agony Ashley feels when she doesn’t hear from Cole for a week or two and the desire to see her again that keeps Cole going.

This is a thought provoking book since there are no easy answers for either character.  I think a book club would find a lot to discuss in it’s pages.  I just loved Collateral.  The real men and women like Ashley and Cole have been on my mind ever since I read it.

Review copy provided by Simon & Schuster.  I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
23 Comments leave one →
  1. December 9, 2012 5:44 am

    Sounds really good. I’m sure there are a lot of people who could relate to this story!

  2. December 9, 2012 6:34 am

    It sounds really good – and it’s going on my list. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. I hadn’t heard of it before.

  3. talesofwhimsy permalink
    December 9, 2012 8:14 am

    Sounds awesome. Seriously. Nice review.

  4. sandynawrot permalink
    December 9, 2012 9:00 am

    She IS a genius. I need to go on a Hopkins bender. The interesting thing is that if you “read” her books on audio, you can’t tell they are in verse. They are just a well-written, thought-provoking story.

  5. December 9, 2012 9:37 am

    Ooh I have this one and I really want to get to it soon! You inspired me to perhaps bump it up on my list. 🙂

  6. December 9, 2012 10:31 am

    I enjoyed her YA books and know I will like this one as well. Great review.

  7. December 9, 2012 12:23 pm

    Nice review! Haven’t heard of Hopkins but plan to make her acquaintance soon. Thanks!

  8. December 9, 2012 1:39 pm

    This book has stuck with me too. I think it’s deserving of more attention, and I can’t wait to catch up on more of Hopkins’ work.

  9. December 9, 2012 3:25 pm

    I’ve never read Ellen Hopkins before, but it sounds like I should! Nice review.

  10. Beth Hoffman permalink
    December 9, 2012 4:09 pm

    Terrific review, Kathy. I’m not familiar with this author and will add her to my list.

  11. Patty permalink
    December 9, 2012 4:17 pm

    I have yet to read any of her books…the verse stops me cold even though I know it shouldn’t.

  12. December 9, 2012 7:19 pm

    She must be amazing to write such a powerful book all in verse.

  13. December 9, 2012 8:13 pm

    I’m sure there are so many women (and men) who can relate to the circumstances in this book. It is a difficult way of life and having a relationship.

  14. December 9, 2012 8:34 pm

    I just love books written in verse and this one sounds like a book I should check out given the subject matter.

  15. swright9 permalink
    December 9, 2012 9:19 pm

    This one sounds pretty loaded. You sold me on it. Does sound good

  16. December 9, 2012 9:57 pm

    You know, I don’t think I’ve ever read a whole book in verse. For some reason it doesn’t appeal to me. But this one does tempt.

  17. bookingmama permalink
    December 9, 2012 9:59 pm

    I definitely need to read this one. She’s just so talented!

  18. December 9, 2012 11:46 pm

    I loved your review. I’m not sure I would ever read this, but you have me thinking about it.

  19. December 10, 2012 1:11 am

    This does sound quite thought-provoking. Terrific review as usual, Kathy!

  20. December 10, 2012 12:19 pm

    I think I’ll have to read this one at some point!

  21. December 11, 2012 3:35 pm

    Definitely sounds like a compelling story. There are so many tough ones when it comes to a war, and this one sounds like it shares an important part of all who are part of the military-family community. It’s never easy and moving to small cities can be especially tough, away from family and friends, and then the fear that they will get called up, or deployed, is always frightening. Sharing this side of the relationship before all of that is interesting. I agree that a book club would have a lot of dialogue around this one. Sounds like a good book to pick up.

  22. December 11, 2012 7:50 pm

    I am loving your response to her writing!! I didn’t really care for her first adult book that she wrote a few years ago but have loved every single one of her YA books. I have a copy of this one. Now I will be putting it on my 2013 list for sure!

  23. December 29, 2012 8:46 pm

    As you already know, I didn’t like this one as much as you did, but Hopkins is definitely a talented author.

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