Book Review “Smashing” M. Constantine

Smashing Book Cover

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At sixteen, Francine Valhalla’s head is filled with student council meetings, SAT words, and the tantalizing possibility that she might escape her type-A life for a while with a summer trip to Europe. Over-scheduled and always on her game, Franny and her dad are planning Ivy League acceptance, and nothing gets in the way of that. Neither of them suspects when he drops her off at the 5th Street Rec Center on a sunny April afternoon that it might be the last time they see each other. But within moments disaster strikes. Franny is trapped in the Rec Center’s basement with 7 other teens, among them an enigmatic street kid who calls himself Smash.

Smash is tall, charming, and the only one who keeps his cool when it seems like the whole world is falling apart. Franny finds it hard to believe that he’s not scared, but Smash isn’t fazed. Trapped for five days, the teens form a tight bond, looking to Smash to make the decisions that will save them. For Franny, Smash isn’t like anyone she’s ever met before. She almost can’t help but fall for him.

Although rescued, the teens are unable to locate their families and are taken to a temporary emergency shelter, dubbed Camp Freedom. With all the chaos and confusion, Smash is the one thing that serves as a distraction for Franny. Except that something about Camp Freedom changes him. Instead of being the guy with the killer grin that gives her serious butterflies, he pulls back, giving tantalizing hints about a troubled past.

Constantine has done a great job with her first book! She has aced creating unique and believable characters as well as a unique and creative premise.

From the beginning of the book I was reeled in like a fish on a hook. 

Smash and Francine have an interesting relationship. It moves fast but in dystopian novel’s that’s usually the case. When the world has gone to crap, we don’t have time to dilly dally. 

Franny has a unique home life and I love that the author chose to highlight this situation in her book. It helps to normalize something that really is normal. Teenagers get mad at their parents…whether their parent is gay or not. It happens.

Smash was a deep character. As a former foster kid….I felt his pain. Smash is just a teen who has been hurt in too many ways too many times in life. All he wanted was a family. 

What I don’t get about Franny is….why didn’t she just invite Smash to come with her? Why couldn’t her dad just take care of Smash too? Since Smash already knew how to get out of the compound…couldn’t he just wait and hop in the car when Franny left? If they really loved each other couldn’t they of tried something? 

The ending felt really anti climatic. Realism wise…the ending is probably what would of happened.

A terrorist bombing was an interesting idea. It’s a fear I would say a lot of people have since 9/11. I enjoyed following this group of teenagers through this realistic event. I think the author does a great job of realistically portraying a possible reality where this has happened. 

Fascinating stuff.

World building was great. Character development was awesome. Pacing was well done. 

I enjoyed the book but felt like the ending needed a bit more so I am granting it 4 stars.

4 star

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The Technical Data:

Title: Smashing | Author(s): M. Constantine |

Publisher: Melissa Constantine / Publication Date: 10-7-2015 |Pages: 320 (paperback) | ISBN: B016CJLS1C | Genre(s): Young Adult / Dystopia  |Language: English | Rating: 4 out of 5 |  Date Read: 1-31-2016 | Source: Copy from author

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