Title: Welcome to Crash
Author: Lina Langley
Publisher: DSP Publications
Length: 214 Pages
At a Glance: A thought-provoking spin on a coming-of-age story for a very complex character with equally complex relationships, and an unexpected twist tying it all together.
Reviewed By: Lindsey
Blurb: At first, Damien feels lucky to land a job at an influential art studio, but it soon becomes obvious that something’s not right. His gorgeous boss, John, is interested, and he’d be the perfect man for Damien—if Damien wasn’t already in a relationship. It isn’t long before Damien is at the center of a love triangle, forced to choose between hot, punk John and his secret affair with his professor, Levi. And that’s just the tip of the iceberg, because something impossible is happening to Damien—and it’s having a drastic effect on his health as well as his perception of reality.
Each time Damien goes to work, things grow more bizarre, starting with Sam—an artist who has been dead for years and now somehow… isn’t. Damien’s unusual circumstances also free him from the restrictions of monogamy—or so he thinks. Levi, who cannot believe Damien’s claims, fears for his sanity. John also has strong doubts when Damien reveals knowledge of a catastrophic event looming in John’s future. Whether the men he loves believe his wild claims or not, neither can deny Damien is languishing, and if they cannot save him, he’ll be lost. More importantly, they must convince Damien to save himself.
Review: Welcome to Crash is the intriguing coming-of-age tale of a twenty-something, Damien. I can appreciate the realness of Damien’s character, and overall, he was exceptionally well-written. I liked him, but at the same time he drove me crazy because he was just dang self-absorbed. I won’t lie, there were times it got on my nerves, and I wanted to yell at him for being such a jerk. I totally disagreed with his decisions and choices on many occasions, which were made irresponsibly and selfishly, but I couldn’t help but see the good in him too. He didn’t like to hurt those around him, he tried to stay honest with Levi and John, and reacted emotionally when he disappointed those he cared about. He was just… immature. I think that is why, to me, he came of as a genuine character. I can recall making many a dumb decision at that phase in my own life—legally an adult but not quite mentally one. Looking back at that super confusing time, I can say I still had so much left to learn, as does Damien. So, when it is all said and done, Damien was realistic and somewhat relatable. Not a bad person, just had a lot of growing up to do.
This story involves a of love triangle, and yes, there is cheating. I’ll admit I am not a fan of books where that is a central part of the plot, and although I don’t really like that it was one of the focuses in this book, it was done in such a way that though it’s not okay, I understood how it came to pass. It’s interesting because it is clear there are deep feelings for both Levi and John, and the connection Damien has with each of them is completely different. The complexity of the relationships Damien has with each, and the subsequent effects on them all, held my attention.
As Damien’s health declines, the reader gets to see both Levi’s and John’s clear caring for Damien, and their fear for him makes it that much harder to dislike either one. Honestly, it’s difficult to dislike any character in this story. They are each flawed, Damien especially so, but at the same time they are essentially good people. Sometimes they make bad decisions, or react poorly to situations, and other times they make the only decision they think they can, given the situation. Each one—from Damien to his family members to his friends and his lovers—react in understandable ways as everything starts crumbling apart. Despite the underlying plot twist, everything else was portrayed in a way I could see happening to anyone.
The twist added just the right amount of unique to the situation and created that additional obstacle, making it difficult to predict how it would all play out. The resolution, in the end, I think happened the only way it could despite the fact it was bittersweet. There is hope there yet still an unknown factor on what will come to pass since Damien and everyone else surrounding him had been put through the wringer and needed time to come to terms with everything.
I did have a personal issue in that I wish I could have seen more character growth in Damien, if not throughout the story then during the epilogue. Granted, towards the end Damien seems to start comprehending his actions, his selfishness and their destructive path which affected so many of those around him. But, it wasn’t really a concrete change, more like an “aha” moment where he realizes he needs to do something different. Since the epilogue takes place within weeks after everything goes down, it isn’t accurate to have him change so much in such a short amount of time. So, there were only small indicators he was growing as a character. I understand why there wasn’t a huge amount of progress for him, but it doesn’t mean I didn’t want to see it happen.
This story isn’t necessarily a feel-good book, and that isn’t a bad thing. I found it to be a rather thought-provoking coming-of-age journey with Damien, one that left me feeling pleased in some ways, melancholy in others, but with a feeling of hope for what is in store for Damien.
You can buy Welcome to Crash here: