by Jerry Spinelli


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Growing up, Jerry Spinelli was really serious about baseball. He played for the Green Sox Little League team in his hometown of Norristown, Pennsylvania, and dreamed of one day playing for the major leagues, preferably as shortstop for the New York Yankees.

One night during high school, Spinelli watched the football team win an exciting game against one of the best teams in the country. While everyone else rode about town tooting horns in celebration, Spinelli went home and wrote “Goal to Go,” a poem about the game’s defining moment, a goal-line stand. His father submitted the poem to the Norristown Times–Herald and it was featured in the middle of the sports page a few days later. He then traded in his baseball bat for a pencil, because he knew that he wanted to become a writer.

After graduating from Gettysburg College with an English degree, Spinelli worked full time as a magazine editor. Every day on his lunch hour, he would close his office door and craft novels on yellow magazine copy paper. He wrote four adult novels in 12 years of lunchtime writing, but none of these were accepted for publication. When he submitted a fifth novel about a 13-year-old boy, adult publishers once again rejected his work, but children’s publishers embraced it. Spinelli feels that he accidentally became an author of children’s books.

Spinelli’s hilarious books entertain both children and young adults. Readers see his life in his autobiography Knots in My Yo-Yo String, as well as in his fiction. Crash came out of his desire to include the beloved Penn Relays of his home
state of Pennsylvania in a book, while Maniac Magee isset in a fictional town based on his
own hometown.

When asked if he does research for his writing, Spinelli says: “The answer is yes and no. No, in the sense that I seldom plow through books at the library to gather material. Yes, in the sense that the first 15 years of my life turned out to be one big research project. I thought I was simply growing up in Norristown, Pennsylvania; looking back now I can see that I was also gathering material that would one day find its way into my books.”

On inspiration, the author says: “Ideas come from ordinary, everyday life. And from imagination. And from feelings. And from memories. Memories of dust in my sneakers and humming whitewalls down a hill called Monkey.”

Spinelli lives with his wife and fellow writer, Eileen, in West Chester, Pennsylvania. While they write in separate rooms of the house, the couple edits and celebrates one another’s work. Their six children have given Jerry Spinelli a plethora of clever material for his writing.

Jerry Spinelli is the author of more than a dozen books for young readers, including Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal. His latest novel, Stargirl, was a New York Times bestseller and an ALA Top Ten Best Book for Young Adults.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780553536645
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
Publication date: 04/07/2015
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 176
Sales rank: 25,595
Product dimensions: 5.56(w) x 8.25(h) x 0.37(d)
Lexile: HL560L (what's this?)
Age Range: 10 - 14 Years

About the Author

JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many novels for young readers, including The Warden's Daughter; Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Wringer; and Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; along with Knots in My Yo-Yo String, the autobiography of his childhood. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

Read an Excerpt

My real name is John. John Coogan. But everybody calls me Crash, even my parents.

Excerpted from "Crash"
by .
Copyright © 2015 Jerry Spinelli.
Excerpted by permission of Random House Children's Books.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Crash 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 333 reviews.
MeganJo More than 1 year ago
I read this book on the way back from a family vacation to the beach, it was so entertaining it made the 6 hour trip feel like 5 min.! As a middle school student myself I could really relate to all the characters. When you're reading this book, you become attached to all the characters wanting to laugh with them, cry with them, and you sometimes even get mad at them. In this book the main character Crash Coogan and his best friend Mike are the school's star football players, and don't forget bullies. They think they're really something special if they're only in 7th grade and they're already a household name. Other then being show offs, one of their favorite activities are making Penn Webbs life miserable, but being a football sensation isn't all it's cracked up to be, when Crash starts to figure out that Webb has something that he will never have, and it doesn't matter how many games they win. Crash starts to learn the hard life lesson of who your true friends really are.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is sooo hilarious. It is made for both boys and girls and is a must-read. I think the funniest part was when Crash got the idea that his grandpa would die if he didn't get a gift for him, so he gets a pair of red high heels. Even a 6 year old would find a more reasonable gift. The overall story teaches a good and enjoyable moral and would be great to recommend to preteens and teens.
coolioman123 More than 1 year ago
This book I can relate to a lot. The main character, Crash, is like me in most ways. We both like football and are good at it. We have friends who are good at it too. The only thing we don't have in common is that I don't have any grandfathers and he does. His grandfather was a sailor and my grandfather was a drunkard. He has one sister and i have two but they get on our nerves. There's this boy that just moved in a couple of years back and he's kind of geekish. They always do bad things to him but he doesn't really care. This geekish guy is slowly tearing his life apart. He wants to do bad things to him but not as bad as his friend wants him to. That's tearing him away from his friend. It's tearing the girl he likes away from him because she likes the geek and not him. He's tearing his sister away from Crash by protesting against a mall. And he's about to take his spot on the track team.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved how the author shows how even the toughest of kids have a soft spot. Literally from the first page, I was interested in the book. The way that the author uses an surprisingly accurate kid's point of view is hilarious! I would give it 10 stars if I could! Very touching!
schs More than 1 year ago
Crash is a great book! I loved reading it because it was so entertaining and relatable, it also contained alot of humor which added to the fun of reading it. The main characters are Crash Coogan, Mike and Penn. Crash and Mike are both star football players at their school. But they are both a bit self centered, bossy and sometimes they can be bullies. Crash also is ungrateful and sometimes doesn't understand or respect life and what really counts. But when Crash's grandfather becomes sick and has a stroke, he begins to understand how to respect other people and be thankful for what he has. I would definatlety reccomend this book to everyone but particularly people who like humor but also heart felt moments. I think some people would also enjoy because they could be able to learn a really important life lesson.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
After reading just the first few pages i couldnt put the book down. Personally, i dislike reading but this book really stuck out to me. My friend knew i didnt like reading so she recommended this book to me because it doesnt have too many pages and the author did a great job with how dramatic the boys live is when others pick on him. Honestly i recommend this novel to all children and teenagers!
romancemistress More than 1 year ago
Crash is one of those books that I've seen included on recommendation lists for years, and I've always thought, "yeah, I should read that so that I can recommend it to boys," but I never did. I saw it included on a list last week as one of the 50 Best Books for Boys and had a lady come into the book store looking for it, and I thought, "that's it...that's just too much of a sign for me to ignore it any longer." So I read it this afternoon...yeah, it's that quick of a read and I really enjoyed it. Most of the readers talked about how funny it was, but I was more struck at the subtlety of the writing. John "Crash" Coogan is not that likable; he's a typical nascent jock, thinks he's got to be the best, the fastest, the toughest. He's not that bright, but doesn't seem to care although when the new dorky guy, Penn, named after some race Crash has never heard of, he finds himself both fascinated and repelled by him. I don't know if younger readers get the mix of those feelings. Crash seems to just be making fun of Penn, but really he's so deeply envious of Penn's caring and involved parents, his security in speaking up for or acting on his beliefs, his total comfort in the core of what makes him Penn that Crash just has to punish him. Eventually though it is both the boys' love for their grandfathers that makes them the same, and also it's where Crash is redeemed as a character. Jerry Spinelli wrote a lovely little book that boys and girls can learn something from...and adult readers can enjoy it, too. As for me, yep, I've got another boy-centric book that I can recommend to my customers.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jerry spinelli is a genius! Wonderfuly writen fantastic way of telling how crash evolves through the storie. Great book on bullying. I've reas this book gazillions of times. Never gets old
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this book! It's about John Coogan also known as Crash. It starts out as a memory when he is six years old, and how he met Penn Webb. Penn is the only kid that doesn't call him Crash. After the memory, it comes back to the present. Crash and Mike (Crash's best friend) go to the same school. They just started middle school, so did Penn. When Mike and Crash tryout for football they see Penn Webb trying out for cheerleading... Find out what happens in Jerry Spinelli's, Crash.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this for my sixth grade summer is REALLY good! I read this in three hours!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Looks funny and cool. Im about to read it for school. I hate school
ljs0 More than 1 year ago
thanks it sounds like a good book for a 6th grader that thinks hes tough ljso 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is so awesome! When I was reading this, I couldn't pull myself away. Jerry Spinelli did a great job making the story of Crash( the main character) and all the other charcters.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for part of my sixth grade summer reading. I love it! I bought it this afternoon and finished it at 8:37. Im probably going to read it again in august to refresh my memory. Someone i know had a stroke so when Crash grandfather had a stroke i was so upset.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It sometimes got confusing but it was overall good
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book and would recommend it to anyone.
Rachelthescrumplet on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I almost cried, the way the jocks treated the nerds in this story, but it ends as the most heartwarming book ever.
madelinelbaker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This novel is a good example of realistic fiction because Crash is not a real person, but the events that take place in the story could happen, and most teenagers deal with the issues of peer pressure, trying to fit in, and being popular.
lrobe190 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
sFWCT on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Crash was an interesting read because it is written from the POV of a bully. His descriptions of the things he does to hurt or annoy others give the reader insight into the mind of a selfish, brutish mentality. I can understand why he thinks the way he does. Crash is not entirely mean, he has his soft spots for his family and who he considers his friends. He goes through a large change in his view of the world and people from his experiences. So he is definately a dynamic and interesting character.
abinanth on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is about a boy name Crash Coogan who hates his neighbor Penn Webb because he is different from him. In gr 7 him and his friend Mike Deluca bullied him. Crash's Grandfather, Scooter came to visit and later on he got a stroke. Crash is a boy with complicated relationships with friends and family who has the courage to fix it before it comes any worse.
Sandra305 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Spinelli's books, but this was not one of my favorites. I felt the main characters were too stereotypical and not as fully developed as the characters in some of his other books. Some of the storyline also seemed a bit unrealistic and overly simplistic. The book is still a good read because Spinelli is a great writer, but I was a little disappointed reading this one after reading some of his other books.
lppeters on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a classic story of friendship defeating all odds and winning in the end. Crash Coogin is a popular football player who is known for being a jerk but when a sudden turn of events occurs in his life that affects his family, it starts to affect who he is as a person as well. His new neighbor, Penn Webb, is a goofy, care-free boy who loves to love, which makes him the pretty much opposite of Crash. This story will leave the reader wanting to know if their differences can be overlooked.
bplma on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Newbery Medalist author Jerry Spinelli's love of sports come through again with this entertaining and thought provoking, realistic, hopeful and very readable book for middle readers. When we first meet Crash Coogan he is sports crazy and obsessed with living up to his questionable reputation-- he crashing into everyone he comes across-- his friends, his sister, his family, his problems. When you have no feelings, nothing can bother you. But as the years and the story progress, Crash has some choices to make-- about strength and courage and bullying and pain and family and friends. A great coming of age novel especially, but not exclusively for boys. Think Blubber for boys. upper elementary/early middle school reading lists.
GI142984 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The book is about a boy named John Coogan but is nicked named Crash. He meets a young boy names Penn Webb who is a Quaker, vegetarian, and doesn¿t care for materialistic things. Penn wants to be friends with Crash but crash finds him to be more of a geek. Crash¿s parents are work-aholics and his sister takes up Penn¿s views on things and drives him nuts. He finds a new friend named Mike Deluca who not only is a bully like him but a big time jock too. They become bullies toward Penn, but Penn never says anything to them about it. When crash first met Penn, Penn explains that his great grandfather is pretty much his hero, this they have in common because Crash¿s is his grandfather Scooter. Through the years Crash learns about sports, girls, family, and true life lessons. When Scooter has a stroke and changes, so does Crash. Crash and Mike don¿t have anything in common in the end, but Crash and Penn do. They know what is really important in life. This was a great book to sit and read. The message is great and the adventure of Crash is exciting. I enjoyed all of the characters and his little sister was adorable. This book just shows that you can find friendship in people that seem to have nothing in common with you.Students can tell a story about the person they admire the most in their family or on TV the most. They can also have a discussion about what a friendship really means, and how to avoid school bullying.