Crash Test Love by Ted Michael
Source: Delacorte Books
Grade: 3 stars out of 5
I recall previously I had read Ted Michael’s debut novel The Diamonds and compared it to "Mean Girls", the movie starring Lindsey Lohan. Now I’m going to compare his second novel to “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days”.
Henry is considered a “player” but there’s more to that. His mother left him and his father years ago, just one is gone never to return. Ever since then Henry has this idea never to get too close to girls because they always leave. He and his best friends crash sweet sixteen parties and hook up with a girl there—though Henry is only with enough of the charm to go through with that plan. He leaves the girls with false names to confirm that they will never meet again. That’s what he planned to do on this night. But he runs into Garrett who seems to captivate him for the very start and leaves her with his real name: a crash-code broken.
Garrett is new to Long Island having just moved. She’s very susceptible to the male gender and has had her heart broken several times—because what’s love without the freefall. But she’s made a pact to herself: she will not date or fall in love until college. But she can’t get Henry out of her mind. You can imagine how surprised she is when she discovers him to be at her new high school and the reputation he has. Or even her own. Apparently there has been a rumor that Henry has already made his latest conquest with Garrett.
But the J squad a.k.a. the three most popular girls in school are going to help Garrett out and she’s elated because she hardly ever makes girl friends. They have a condition though: make Henry fall in love with you and dump him during Destiny’s sweet sixteen—the largest party ever—or else we’ll make your life miserable here. There’s just that one little problem you see. What happens if you fall in love with him as well?
The novel is separated into two point of views: Henry and Garrett that rotates. It gives a more in-depth impression that works well with the story. However there is an inconsistency with Henry’s point of view in regards to the dialogue. Typically it goes in this format:
But then there were at times when normal dialogues pop up with ‘he said, “…”’ that threw me off.
I love Henry’s friends. They are quirky, silly, off the top with the most lamest jokes ever, and they’re the kind of friends that will be there for you thick and thin. Some scenes make me go ‘awhhhh’, some scenes make me snort and laugh, but every scene portrays them as likeable fellows.
Henry is the middle man. I like him. I get confused by him. I find him dislikeable the way he uses girls. But he grows. After the conversation about his mother you find his personality understandable (just not likeable). As he falls in love with Garrett he’s freefalling. He’s multidimensional with more emotions than what meets the eye.
Garrett is the type of character that I dislike. She plays victim almost constantly that irks me. I had this very strong urge to skip her chapters.
Overall Crash Test Love could have been stronger. I felt like I enjoyed reading the secondary characters more than the main characters and the ending felt…odd. I guess odd is a poor substitute of how I really feel because the ending is different from the norm and I can’t figure out if it’s a cop-out or a brilliant move on Michael’s end.
Some people love
me it. Me? Not so much. I think it's just the colors.