Eighteen-year-old Sarah McKnight has a secret. She's in love with David Brooks. Sarah is white. David is black. But Sarah's not the only one keeping secrets in the close-knit community of Kalispell, Montana. Her father George, who owns a local gun shop and proudly drives a truck with a Confederate flag bumper sticker, hides his own complicated past. When he discovers Sarah's relationship, George decides to share his feelings with Alex Mackey-a lonely classmate of Sarah's whom George has taken under his wing. As Alex embraces the power of Sarah's father's dark hatred, the hopes and dreams of young lives hang in the balance. In just a few short months, Sarah and David will graduate from high school and leave Kalispell for a new life together in Los Angeles. Maybe in California, they can stop hiding their love-and the other secret they share...something George McKnight-and Alex Mackey-will never accept.
Sarah and David are in love. Unfortunately, this love needs to remain a secret. Sarah is white, while David is black. Although their relationship would be tolerated by some, most people, including Sarah's protective father, would not approve. They live in a small town where most of the citizens are racist. Sneaking around isn't easy for Sarah and David, especially when Alex Mackey, a classmate, has agreed to spy on them for Sarah's father, George. When Alex discovers their relationship, and their biggest secret, he has to make a decision: keep the information to himself, or tell George and pay back a debt.
At first glance, Crumble appears to be a very quick and simple read. With just under 170 pages, you would think that there isn't enough time to really develop a story. Wrong. From the moment you start the first page, you are sucked into Sarah's world and you can't escape even long after you have turned the last page.
The story is told from two perspectives, Sarah's and Alex's. We meet Sarah first, who just discovered that she is pregnant. She is scared beyond belief. As if being pregnant wasn't hard enough, David is the father. She knows her racist father would never approve of the relationship, never mind a mixed race grandchild. I found Sarah to be a very realistic portrayal of the modern teen. She has a good relationship with her father, but has her secrets. She is struggling through a situation that we see far too often, and I felt her emotions were true to the situation, as were her actions. I think she had the same fears and doubts that all teenagers in her situation would have.
Alex, on the other hand, was a character that I struggled with. With abusive, neglectful parents, I pitied him. I knew that nothing good could come of his home situation or that of the relationship with George, but I was desperate for it. I was constantly fighting back feelings of hatred and sympathy for him. His story is another that we see too often. Lonely with a hard home life and then tortured again at school.
I think this was an important story to tell, especially from Alex's view. Often times we hear the stories in the news about school shootings and bullying, but we don't often stop to think about what brought those people into that situation. Why are they acting out so desperately? We are quick to blame these teens for their actions but not fast enough to hold any of the responsibility. A lot of times, these events could probably be avoided had we just taken a moment to stop and look around at what was happening.
I think what I liked most about this book was how it ends. I'm not going to give it away, don't worry, but I do have to commend the author for taking the route that she did. Was it all happy time with rainbows? No, but I understood why things ended this way and the importance of it.
Overall, this was a very quick yet intense read that deals with so many important issues. Racism, abortion and abuse are just a few of the struggles between these pages. Crumble is the perfect read for a rainy afternoon or even a day at the beach. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone who enjoys heavier, emotional subjects.
For more about Fleur Philips and Crumble, visit her website here.
One lucky reader is going to win their own copy of Crumble! This giveaway is open to US only (sorry INT!) and ends 7/12. Good luck!
*I received this book for free in exchange of my honest review. This did not influence my opinion in any way and all views and opinions expressed are 100% my own.