Monday, November 5, 2012

Book Review: Collateral, by Ellen Hopkins

Collateral by Ellen Hopkins really makes you think about the emotional damages to those involved in war, as well as their families. Hopkins portrays the challenges with realism and compassion.

Ashley never thought she would end up in love with a soldier, but Cole is different than she ever imagined a soldier could be. He writes poetry, and he's gentle, and kind, and they fall head over heals in love.

The story follows Ashley and Cole, as well as some other military couples as they suffer through deployments and training assignments that keep them apart for months at a time. Of course Ashley wonders what it will be like when they (or if they) are together all the time. Will their love survive being together?

And while they are apart, Ashley must go through week after week of not even hearing a word from Cole. Then, sometimes she will get a quick email, or a short phone call that really doesn't tell her anything. She is attracted to another man, and wonders if all the waiting is worth it. When she and Cole do get to be together for a few days, it seems like it's mostly about the sex.

Collateral really stuck with me. I felt the frustrations of the characters. I even had a dream my husband was cheating on me while I was reading this book -- and I know it was because of the book!  The emotions are real and will take your breath away.

Since I read the eARC, I'm not sure of the formatting. To me, it seemed like this book was prose with poems that were written by the characters inserted after some of the chapters. But Hopkins usually writes the entire book in verse, so I'm interested to see the final copy. Either way, her language, as usual, is lyrical  and beautiful. I also had difficulty with the jumping back and forth in time -- present, future, -- all these labels -- I really had difficulty discerning the order in which things happened.

I found Collateral to be depressing. I think a lot of Hopkins' books are -- and that's kind of what you sign up for when you read one of her novels. Collateral was also kind of "Bam!!! -- ending!" Wow. I suspected something like the ending might happen, but it was so sudden, and ended abruptly after with not much tie up.

Collateral is definitely a New Adult novel. The characters are college aged. There is some descriptive sex that would make Collateral appropriate for only the most mature teens. I would recommend Collateral to fans of realistic, heartbreaking romances. Fans of Hopkins, novels in verse, and New Adult Fiction will not want to skip Collateral.

Published by Atria, November 6, 2012
eARC obtained from Edelweiss
512 pages

Rating: 3.5/5

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  1. This sounds good and emotional... Since this seems to be a hybrid of verse and chapters I might try to ease into the world of prose.
    Brandi from Blkosiner’s Book Blog

  2. I'm so sad, and emotional just by reading your review. I want to know more about these characters, and their story. I'll definitely read this book. Thanks!

  3. I've got my first Hopkins sitting on my shelf at home. Totally stolen from my little cousin. Though, I've heard so much about her over the years. Her YA always gets phenomenal reviews...her adult was very mixed...I'm interested to see what people will think of her in the "new adult" category.

    1. This one is actually marketed as "adult" I think. But because of the ages of the characters, it really is New Adult. I think some publishers are afraid to market it as such. Thanks for visiting. I would recommend Crank -- if you haven't read it yet.

  4. Totally just read it based on your review, and ended up loving it!!!


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