by Jerry Spinelli

Paperback, 1997



Local notes

PB Spi




Yearling (1997), 176 pages


Seventh-grader John "Crash" Coogan has always been comfortable with his tough, aggressive behavior, until his relationship with an unusual Quaker boy and his grandfather's stroke make him consider the meaning of friendship and the importance of family.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

176 p.; 5.25 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Rachelthescrumplet
I almost cried, the way the jocks treated the nerds in this story, but it ends as the most heartwarming book ever.
LibraryThing member slevip82
Great book for teaching values.
LibraryThing member bw23
An absolute 5 star book about football and a 12 year old boy's social life. Crash gets his name from running into his cousin with his new football helmet he got for christmas. His grandfather came to live with Crash'sfamily and had a stroke! He soon got better, and Crash became friends with nerdy
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Penn Webb.
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LibraryThing member delaney.h4
Summary: All Crash wants to do is play football. He doesn't need a girl, he has one friend and that's good enough. He loves the competition, even in your friendly little tag football games. But I mean common Crash....taking down your own grandfather that's rock bottom low.
Review: A
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good, kinda sad, book.
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LibraryThing member jhagiya
This book would be a great addition to a middle school library collection. Its narrative style is easily accessible and touches upon elements relevant to this age: bullying, sports/athletes; self esteem; acceptance; stereotypes, family relationships; and friendships.

Teachers and counselors could
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also use this book to address all of these topics, especially bullying. The book illustrates how everyone has a choice in how they act. It’s a positive message showing how bullies can change their behavior in a positive way.
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LibraryThing member GI142984
The book is about a boy named John Coogan but is nicked named Crash. He meets a young boy names Penn Webb who is a Quaker, vegetarian, and doesn’t care for materialistic things. Penn wants to be friends with Crash but crash finds him to be more of a geek. Crash’s parents are work-aholics and
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his sister takes up Penn’s views on things and drives him nuts. He finds a new friend named Mike Deluca who not only is a bully like him but a big time jock too. They become bullies toward Penn, but Penn never says anything to them about it. When crash first met Penn, Penn explains that his great grandfather is pretty much his hero, this they have in common because Crash’s is his grandfather Scooter. Through the years Crash learns about sports, girls, family, and true life lessons. When Scooter has a stroke and changes, so does Crash. Crash and Mike don’t have anything in common in the end, but Crash and Penn do. They know what is really important in life.

This was a great book to sit and read. The message is great and the adventure of Crash is exciting. I enjoyed all of the characters and his little sister was adorable. This book just shows that you can find friendship in people that seem to have nothing in common with you.

Students can tell a story about the person they admire the most in their family or on TV the most. They can also have a discussion about what a friendship really means, and how to avoid school bullying.
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LibraryThing member smyers
WOW! I loved this book and handed it right over to my 11 year old son and said try this out! Jerry Spinelli wrote a heartwarming book about a young boy who is a sports junkie. He has a younger sister who drives him crazy with her antics, and parents who work more than they are home. "Crash" the
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main character is approached by a new boy in the neighborhood who only wants to be a friend. Crash makes being his friend almost impossible, but this new boy doesn't give up easily. Soon Crash meets another boy who is more like him and they work together to irritate the other boy. The book goes through a 7 year span and shows the ups and down that face Crash and his family. Crash learns about friendship, girls, family and what is really important in life.
I loved this book. The story flowed smoothly, the subject line kept my interest, and the moral of the story was important for everyone to know. I will definately add this to my personal library, and have introduced it to my 11 year old son to read. My 14 year old son has read the book and loved it too. Jerry Spinelli offers a great list of books to read and I will be picking them up soon.
As a class extension, the students could talk about what makes a good friendship and a bad friendship. The students can discuss what could have/should have happened at certain parts of the story. Each student could draw a picture of their family members and make a short story about them. I feel the moral of this story could be discussed further. Also, the subject of grandparents could be a lesson in itself, possibly having grandparents as special guests in the class.
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LibraryThing member cmckee
When Crash Coogan meets Penn Webb, it is friendship at first sight for Penn; for Crash it is an opportunity to heckle and harass. Crash can barely understand Penn's non-violent and Quaker ways, and he has no grasp of a non-materialistic lifestyle. Crash is all about football, nice clothes,
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wrestling with Mike Deluca, and showing off for Jane Forbes. Penn is all about peace, kindness, and true friendship. Told as a first-person narrative by Crash, the theme revolves around his coming of age and maturing values. The laugh-out-loud humor stems from the author's writing style--a true middle school voice of sarcasm and sillyness. The great strength of the story is this humor as well as the many lessons to be learned such as loyalty, friendship, activism, and compassion, which are very pertinent to middle school issues. If there is a weakness, it may be that high school students would shun the book as immature, a time period they have left behind.
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LibraryThing member abbylibrarian
John "Crash" Coogan has always crashed through life. He's a jock and a bit of a jerk, caring more about clothing labels and sports than anything else, but his favorite pastime is making fun of his dweeby neighbor Penn Webb. Penn is a vegetarian and a pacifist and always seems to go against the
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grain. While Crash plays football, Penn tries out for the cheerleading team. But as seventh grade goes on, Crash just might find that he and Penn have more in common than he ever thought. I hate to designate anything as being "for boys" or "for girls", but this would be a great book for your reluctant readers. I think it's something middle school boys would definitely identify with and there are lots of items for discussion. It'd be a great book to read or listen to with the whole family and then discuss afterwards. Plus, it's funny and there are lots of sports.
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LibraryThing member Brooke28
Crash Coogan learns man lessons from his nerdy neighbor. Crash learns that arrogance is not going to win much.
LibraryThing member madelinelbaker
This novel is a good example of realistic fiction because Crash is not a real person, but the events that take place in the story could happen, and most teenagers deal with the issues of peer pressure, trying to fit in, and being popular.
LibraryThing member lrobe190

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LibraryThing member sntorrejon
This book is about a seventh grade boy named Crash Coogan. He got his nick name by wearing his helmet and crashing into his cousine Bridgett. Crash is a bully who always likes to pick on his neighbor. This gives you a point of view of what a bully goes through and all that he learns from his
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LibraryThing member lppeters
This is a classic story of friendship defeating all odds and winning in the end. Crash Coogin is a popular football player who is known for being a jerk but when a sudden turn of events occurs in his life that affects his family, it starts to affect who he is as a person as well. His new neighbor,
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Penn Webb, is a goofy, care-free boy who loves to love, which makes him the pretty much opposite of Crash. This story will leave the reader wanting to know if their differences can be overlooked.
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LibraryThing member agwood
This is about a young boy named Crash who gets kicked out of his house one afternoon with his friend James. Crash's mother sends them to the arcade where they met a girl named Winnie. Crash likes Winnie and he gets into a big fight with her boyfriend. Continue to read to see what happens next.
LibraryThing member skstiles612
I love Jerry Spinelli’s books. I can’t believe it took me this long to read this one. I grabbed it from my shelves to go home with me over the summer. I’m glad I moved it up the list. This is the story of three young boys and the influence they have on those around them.
From the minute Crash
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Coogan met Penn Webb he’d decided he didn’t like him. Not only did he not like him he was going to do everything possible to make his life miserable. Then Mike moves in and becomes Crash’s best friend and the two of them make Penn’s life miserable. The thing that bother’s Crash the most is that Penn doesn’t get mad at him or at least doesn’t show he is mad. Penn is a Quaker and doesn’t believe in violence so he never retaliates. He continues to be friendly no matter what is done to him. Now Crash’s sister has become a champion for animal rights, and has become a vegetarian, just like Penn. It is a kindness that Penn shows to Crash’s grandfather that changes things for Crash. What could be so powerful that Crash would choose the “dweeb” over his best friend?
The characters were well developed and the plot was extremely realistic. As I read this book I was almost able to plug the names of former students into the place of the characters. This will be one I highly recommend to my students and especially anyone who loves Jerry Spinelli.
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LibraryThing member sFWCT
Crash was an interesting read because it is written from the POV of a bully. His descriptions of the things he does to hurt or annoy others give the reader insight into the mind of a selfish, brutish mentality. I can understand why he thinks the way he does. Crash is not entirely mean, he has his
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soft spots for his family and who he considers his friends. He goes through a large change in his view of the world and people from his experiences. So he is definately a dynamic and interesting character.
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LibraryThing member bplma
Newbery Medalist author Jerry Spinelli's love of sports come through again with this entertaining and thought provoking, realistic, hopeful and very readable book for middle readers. When we first meet Crash Coogan he is sports crazy and obsessed with living up to his questionable reputation-- he
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crashing into everyone he comes across-- his friends, his sister, his family, his problems. When you have no feelings, nothing can bother you. But as the years and the story progress, Crash has some choices to make-- about strength and courage and bullying and pain and family and friends. A great coming of age novel especially, but not exclusively for boys. Think Blubber for boys. upper elementary/early middle school reading lists.
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LibraryThing member Sandra305
I love Spinelli's books, but this was not one of my favorites. I felt the main characters were too stereotypical and not as fully developed as the characters in some of his other books. Some of the storyline also seemed a bit unrealistic and overly simplistic. The book is still a good read because
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Spinelli is a great writer, but I was a little disappointed reading this one after reading some of his other books.
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LibraryThing member abinanth
This book is about a boy name Crash Coogan who hates his neighbor Penn Webb because he is different from him. In gr 7 him and his friend Mike Deluca bullied him. Crash's Grandfather, Scooter came to visit and later on he got a stroke. Crash is a boy with complicated relationships with friends and
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family who has the courage to fix it before it comes any worse.
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LibraryThing member zn14
very funny book about football. One character is a very odd person. pretty easy and understandable to read.A+
LibraryThing member hollster74
This is the story of football jock and bully, Crash, and his quirky neighbor, Penn. For as long as he can remember, Crash has always made fun of and looked down upon Penn. When Crash's grandfather, Scooter, has a stroke and develops a relationship with Penn, Crash realizes that there is more to
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life than being the biggest and best. The story of Crash's transformation from bully to caring, empathetic friend is heartwarming and redeeming.
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LibraryThing member br14alth
Jerry Spinelli’s Crash was a good book. It was definitely not one of my favorite books because the reading level was lower than mine. If you are into books that have something to do with football and choosing who your friends are then this will be a great read for you.

John “Crash” Coogan is
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known for being the best at everything. Everything changed for him when Penn Webbs moved into his neighborhood in the 1st grade but not the way you think it might change. When Crash met Webbs he immediately thought he was a very peculiar child. When he found out they were in the same grade Crash was not happy. For he didn’t like Penn Webbs. Crash bullied him but not a least not until the 6th grade. Mike Deluca bullied Penn, but a lot worse than John. Mike, one day, took it too far. John started second guessing his friendship with Mike and his relationship with Penn. Is Mike taking it too far? Crash has to make a decision. Is he going to be friends with Mike, his partner in bullying and football? Or is he going to befriend Penn his neighbor and the boy who he hated for so long?

Crash by Jerry Spinelli was a good book. I don’t typically read books by Jerry Spinelli because his books don’t really appeal to me. However, overall this book was good. It had a good plot base, the character’s feelings were expressed well.
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LibraryThing member rgruberexcel
RGG: Easy, fun read about a middle-school athlete's emotional maturing.
LibraryThing member mochap
Great story of a bully and how he learns to be a friend. Believable character arc.




½ (231 ratings; 3.8)
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