Check out the full review at Kritters Ramblings
My second Ellen Hopkins book and this one was just as good as the last, if not even better. Centered around the war abroad, this book takes you into a relationship between a young woman and a new Marine as they try to live through deployments and very minimal time together. The book unravels with many details that affect her relationship from his commitment level to past experiences her parents have had with the military - I never realized how many outside factors can affect a relationship beyond the two who are involved.
I really liked Ellen Hopkins' novel in verse Triangles (I stayed up all night reading it), so I was eager to read her latest work, Collateral. However, this story didn't grab hold of me like the story in Triangles.
Told in alternating past and present time, Collateral is the story of the relationship between Ashley, a grad student at San Diego State, and Cole, a United States Marine. Theirs is a passionate relationship, but also a volatile one. The story spans 5 years, with Cole being deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan multiple times, and Ashley left behind to deal with the emotional trauma of having a loved one deployed to a war zone.
In the author's signature "novel in verse" style, she accurately portrays the impact - the collateral, if you will - of being in love with a soldier. It's a difficult road to travel, with the highest of highs, and the lowest of lows. You can see the deepening impact that being deployed has on Cole, and in turn, the impact on Ashley, who increasingly depends on alcohol and pills to make it through. I thought the ending was unfortunately realistic, shocking, and sad, but not in the way you might expect.
My only quibble with the story was the poems that were "written by" Ashley and Cole. They didn't fit with the rest of the novel at all. Maybe that is my general dislike of modern poetry coming through, but about halfway through the book, I started skipping over those to get back to the main story verse.
An interesting story that makes you think about the impact of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars on not only the men and women serving our country, but also their families at home.