Study Guide

Crash Genre

By Jerry Spinelli

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Family Drama; Comedy; Young Adult Literature

All in the Family

Strictly speaking, Crash isn't a family drama because the central conflict is between two boys (Crash and Penn) from different families. But the storyline that gives the book its weight involves Scooter, Crash's grandfather, who has a stroke—an event that leads the Coogan family to make some major changes in their lives.

Plus, there are a few subplots that revolve around family dynamics:

  • The drama between Crash's sister and his mom as they battle over their priorities and Abby's evolution as a young environmentalist
  • The tension between the males and females of the family when they talk about Penn's pursuit of cheerleading
  • The friction between Crash and his dad, who doesn't seem to have a lot of time to spend with his son because of his work obligations

So, yeah. Family drama, even if it's not in the traditional sense.

Laugh It Up

Similarly, the book isn't straight comedy (because bad things happen), but the overall tone is pretty light. There are definitely lots of jokes.

When a book begins with someone using the words "Poop State," you can bet there will be a few laughs along the way.

YA? Why Not?

Finally, we're slapping Crash with the young adult label because the narrator is in seventh grade. When your main dude is a preteen, that's a good sign the book is geared toward people around the same age.

And, as with most YA novels, we see our main character begin to make the transition from child to adult. No, Crash isn't a full-fledged man at the end of the novel—he still has a ways to go. But he has grown up quite a bit and gained some perspective that he didn't have as the young bully who put mustard in Penn's sneakers. So the YA label fits.

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