BOOK REVIEW: Clash by Nicole Williams

The only easy thing about Jude and Lucy’s relationship is their love for one another. Everything else is hard.

Especially when it comes to reining in Jude’s trigger touch temper and Lucy’s increasing jealousy of Jude’s Spirit Sister on the cheer squad who’s attached herself to him in just about every way a girl could. Feeling the stress of trying to hang on to her quintessential bad boy while becoming the foremost dancer in her class, Lucy knows something’s going to break. She wants both. She needs both. But if she doesn’t make a choice, she risks losing everything.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love might be the thing that just isn’t enough.





A stunning sequel to Crash and an even more emotional journey for our beloved characters, Lucy and Jude, two young people carrying a lifetime of hurt on their shoulders. This story explores what happens after their apparent ‘happily-ever-after’, whether love is enough to erase the stains of the past and which things in life are truly worth fighting for.

Lucy and Jude are back together. Their bond is stronger than ever and they are inseparable. They are in college now but in cities hours apart. However, that does not stop them from spending every free moment with each other. Lucy is studying to be a dancer while Jude is his college’s football star with a following worthy of a champion. Their devotion to each other is unquestionable but their relationship is also an unstoppable roller coaster where all they do is fight and make up, equally passionately.

“Nothing was easy about our relationship. Well, nothing but falling hard for each other. Everything else was like trying to swim against a current. You never quite felt you were making much headway, but the journey made up for the lack of real estate.”

Jude is still battling his demons, struggling to keep his anger at bay and be worthy of the woman he adores. He cherishes Lucy with all his being and considers her to be his whole world. Lucy, however, hates the flammable dynamic between them. She questions whether the love they share is worth the heartache they keep giving each other. She fears that something will eventually pull them apart and lives in constant anticipation of that ‘doom’.

“It feels like sometimes I’m just waiting for the bottom to fall out beneath us.”

But Jude keeps fighting for her tooth and claw, relentlessly reassuring her of what she means to him and giving her hope that even if ‘doom’ comes along, they would get through it together.

“I know. When it does though, we’ll just grab onto a rope and wait it out.”

Their biggest obstacle in this book is their young age and inability to see the big picture. While Jude is light years ahead of Lucy in terms of knowing what truly matters in life, he is still allowing his anger to rule his reactions and cannot see past his mistrust of people, occasionally even of the woman he loves. He is possessive of her and jealous of every guy that looks her way, hiding at the core of his anger a deep fear of losing her. Lucy, on the other hand, is stuck in some utopian notion of what perfect relationships should be like and she keeps convincing herself more and more that they would be better off apart. All it takes is the first big test of implicit trust between them and they fail miserably. What follows is a heart-wrenching, soul-shaking, pulse-igniting, fasten-your-seatbelts-and-don’t-look-down kind of roller coaster ride of two people who perhaps love each other too obsessively. Their ups and downs shook me deeply. I was a complete mess at times, screaming ‘nooooooooo’ in my head, wanting to head-butt Lucy for hurting a man who was willing to give everything up for her. But she was hurting herself as much as she was hurting Jude, her insecurities digging a hole in her heart deeper and deeper.

“I loved him, but I shouldn’t. I trusted him, but it wasn’t natural. I wanted him, but I couldn’t have him.”

The happy ending is inevitable so we are rewarded in the end for all the pain and suffering caused by the events in the book, but it is a bittersweet happiness in my opinion as the sceptic in me fails to believe that the type of doubts and reservations that were weighing Lucy down could be solved so easily and so effortlessly. I would have preferred them to work at it a bit more rather than just be ‘served’ the solution to their problems on a silver platter. I felt it somewhat trivialised their struggles and the heartbreak they put themselves through but I reminded myself, again, that this is a YA story, one that is meant to inspire young minds to believe in love conquering all.

“Love isn’t easy. Especially the really good kind. It’s difficult, and you’ll want to rip your hair out just as many days as you’ll feel the wind at your back. But it’s worth it. It’s worth fighting for. Don’t let what isn’t real blind you from what is. Life isn’t perfect, we sure as sh*t aren’t perfect, so why should we expect love to be?”

Beautifully said? Definitely. A tad simplistic? Hmmm.

Maybe I’m a cynical b*tch who believes that two eighteen-year-olds can solve world hunger more than she believes that they could decipher the complex formula that is life and love, but I will stand proudly here and admit that I really enjoyed this book, regardless of all the drama. It is a skilfully written story that grabs you from the beginning and doesn’t let go until the end. It could have been a bit longer, it would have given more credibility to the resolution of the storyline, but it was extremely enjoyable nonetheless.


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Crash by Nicole Williams

Southpointe High is the last place Lucy wanted to wind up her senior year of school. Right up until she stumbles into Jude Ryder, a guy whose name has become its own verb, and synonymous with trouble. He’s got a rap sheet that runs longer than a senior thesis, has had his name sighed, shouted, and cursed by more women than Lucy dares to ask, and lives at the local boys home where disturbed seems to be the status quo for the residents.

Lucy had a stable at best, quirky at worst, upbringing. She lives for wearing the satin down on her ballet shoes, has her sights set on Juilliard, and has been careful to keep trouble out of her life. Up until now.

Jude’s everything she knows she needs to stay away from if she wants to separate her past from her future. Staying away, she’s about to find, is the only thing she’s incapable of.

For Lucy Larson and Jude Ryder, love’s about to become the thing that tears them apart.


Oh, how I miss high school when I read a book like this one!  The careless summers, the hopeless crushes, the bickering with the parentals, the gossiping with friends, the lack of perspective… When pick-up lines were lame and they still worked.

“The name’s Jude Ryder, since I know you’re all but salivating like a rabid dog to know, and I don’t do girlfriends, relationships, flowers, or regular phone calls. If that works for you, I think we could work out something special.”

If only life could have stayed that way!

This is a nice little story of two teenagers from very different walks of life whose paths suddenly cross and nothing is the same after that for either of them. While Lucy has big dreams for her future and a tenacious will to match those dreams, Jude is someone whom people usually write off as a lost cause. – “Jude Ryder wasn’t only trouble, he was trouble with a side of danger and a dessert of heartache.”

But while Lucy’s life might seem OK on the surface, appearances can be deceiving more often than not. Her family has survived a horrific personal tragedy that has changed the family dynamic irrevocably. Each one of them has learned to deal with their pain differently. Her father has ‘checked out’ from reality by filing his days with predictable routines and showing little emotion towards anything. Lucy’s mother fills her days with work and expresses her pain through anger and resentment. Lucy, on the other hand, while carrying a very heavy burden of guilt and sadness with her, has not lost all hope in the world. She mourns for the past and the happy family she once had but she also hopes that the future would be brighter. And that is why she lets someone like Jude into her heart.

Apart from the initial physical attraction between the two of them, I believe Lucy fell for the man Jude could be, not the one everyone, including Jude, thought he was and always would be. She never accepted that his future was written in stone simply based on his dark past – she wanted him to see that anything can happen and that he was the only one who could make things happen. She saw the spark in him that people usually brushed off, she saw how desperate he was to break away from this pre-determined path that people expected him to follow which would have inevitably led to prison or worse. Lucy never pitied Jude, she never allowed herself to cry whenever she found out some heart-wrenching detail from his past because she knew he did not need her to feel sadness for him. He needed someone to feel hope for him as he himself never did. She made him want to change and become the person he so desperately pretended not to be.

“I don’t need to believe where I’ve been is where I’m headed. And I don’t need to believe that one tragedy can shape the future … Only I can do that.”

It was hard not to feel sad for Jude and the cards he was dealt in life but this book is about not lingering on the past and things one can’t change, but rather living life in the moment and filling one’s future with hope.

“Don’t live life hiding behind your past, live for right now.”

Some very serious topics were addressed  in this story – death, abuse, rape, depression, guilt, resentment – but I felt they were not really dealt with properly but rather skimmed over like pebbles bouncing off water. Even when characters were ‘dealing’ with issues, I felt it was a bit forced, rushed and with not much depth. However, I think this was quite appropriate for the YA genre of the book. It felt a bit like watching 90210 (am I showing my age here…?) but it was still a very fun and can’t-put-it-down-able read.

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