I received this book for free from St. Martin's Griffin in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger
Published by St. Martin's Griffin on July 25th 2017
Format: eARC, Hardcover
Source: St. Martin's Griffin
Birdie never meant to be at the party. Bash should have been long gone. But when they meet, a collision course is set off they may never recover from.
Sebastian Alvaréz is just trying to hold the pieces together: to not flunk out, to keep his sort-of-best friend Wild Kyle from doing something really bad, and to see his beloved Ma through chemo. But when he meets Birdie Paxton, a near-Valedictorian who doesn’t realize she’s smoking hot in her science pun T-shirt, at a party, an undeniable attraction sparks. And suddenly he’s not worried about anything. But before they are able to exchange numbers, they are pulled apart. A horrifying tragedy soon links Birdie and Bash together—but neither knows it. When they finally reconnect, and are starting to fall—hard—the events of the tragedy unfold, changing both their lives in ways they can never undo. Told in alternating perspectives, The Inevitable Collision of Birdie & Bash by Candace Ganger is a beautiful, complex, and ultimately hopeful teen novel that will move you to the very last page.
The Inevitable Collison of Birdie and Bash by Candace Ganger is center around a huge tragic event. Bash and his friend are in a car that runs over Birdie’s little brother. Birdie’s little brother has a slim chance of survival from this accident. Unfortunately, no one takes responsibility for this accident.
When Bash and Birdie end up working together at the local skating rink, Bash has a hard time keeping his secret. Bash struggles a lot internally with whether he should tell Birdie what he did. I think it is nice to see both sides of the story to this tragic accident.
Ganger has a unique and fun writing style. Even though this story has some heart wrenching content, I really enjoyed the story and the writing. The characters were really thought out and written well. I loved Birdie’s math jokes. They provided an extra bit of fun to the story. I really enjoyed this story.
Ali: Hi Candace. Thank you so much for stopping by Dazzled by Books today. I wanted to kick off this interview with a fun easy question. What is your favorite book of 2017 so far?
Candace: I’ve been a curmudgeon about reading lately, due to time restraints (we’re in the midst of planning an out-of-state move). I want to have more time to read so if someone can do a magical thing to the clocks, I’m all for it. Time shortage aside, I’m absolutely in love with Nina La Cour’s We Are All Okay and Jenny Han’s Always and Forever, Laura Jean, and though super late to the game, I’ve just started Anna-Marie McLemore’s When the Moon Was Ours (it’s breathtaking).
A: Did you always want to be a writer?
C: Always. From the time I could hold a pencil, writing is all I’ve ever counted on (even when I should’ve been learning, or listening, or whatever). Though, over the years, it’s morphed from writing haikus, then songs, and eventually, books.
A: What inspires your writing?
C: So many things! I’m an avid people watcher. Wherever I go, I take (mental) notes about a person’s nuances or the words they use. I listen for alliteration and cadence, imagining the conversation between characters in my head. I’m also incredibly inspired by my two weird kids. They say the most outrageous stuff that I couldn’t make up if I tried. Seriously. My 5-year-old named a main character in my next book by shouting it , repeatedly, out of nowhere.
A: What was the hardest part writing “THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH”?
C: The hardest part was writing all the trauma scenes. Because this incident is loosely based off something that actually happened in my family, I tried to be sensitive with how I handled the pain of it while also ensuring a thread of hope floated through.
A: What is your favorite thing about writing “THE INEVITABLE COLLISION OF BIRDIE & BASH”?
C: The Birdie & Bash banter, probably J I’m very much a Bash, as I’ve found through writing them, so it was fun to imagine Birdie squaring off with me. I’ve definitely had some challengers similar to these two. Their chemistry (for lack of a better word) forces them to be on their game and I love that.
A: Do you have any habits while writing? For example: a specific snack food you have to have or maybe music playing in the background.
C: I usually have the TV on the Food Network channel, and my usual Milky Way latte just beforehand. Preferably, when my kids are at school or a grandparent’s house because they’re loud.
A: What is your favorite thing to do when you aren’t writing?
C: I have a love/hate relationship with competitive, long distance running. I wasn’t active growing up, but since having my son, I’ve run everything from 5k to 50k. I guess I should also say I like spending time with my kids (when they’re not throwing fits) and husband of 10 years. My cats are cool, too.
A: Who is your favorite character to write?
C: Sarge—hands down. He’s my grandmother re-incarnated on the page. Writing his words, and seeing them in print, is almost like bringing her back to life. Almost.
A: Do you know the muffin man?
C: I know muffins. Chocolate chip, preferably.
A: Disney Princess or Disney Villain? Why?
C: Villains. I’m a Kylo Ren kind of girl. They’re much more fascinating.
government spying on us through our phones, I lose sight of Layla for just a moment. The crowd parts in a zigzag fashion and beneath the light machine, where the red, green, and blue hit the hardest, I see her—this statuesque beauty—hiding behind a trail of long brown hair and thick-framed glasses. With her hands folded snug in her lap, she’s looking around, sinking farther into the couch’s wilted threads as if hoping to not be seen, but I see her because hiding is typically what I do, too.
“My God,” I say. The cigarette hangs from my bottom lip, and this girl, who finally stops talking, is still looking at up me, glitter plummeting from her silver-tinted eye shadow. The flakes dance down to the tops of my boots like little asshole snowflakes. That shit should be banned. She follows my eyes across the floor to the big, plaid couch, letting her smile fade. Losing interest (finally), she drops my hand and disappears into the sea of people from which she first emerged.
With my heart nearly beating out of my chest, I watch Couch Girl. The way she tucks her hair behind her ears with precision, the way she nudges her falling glasses up the bridge of her nose, the way she pretends she’s not as earth-shatteringly stunning as she really is. Radiance surrounds her—not a halo, but some kind of ethereal glow—and I can’t look away. She looks up at me. Once, twice, three times; tries to avoid my eyes, but can’t. For the length of a whole song, my gaze doesn’t abandon her, and by the middle of the next song, she’s smiling at me. Score. Normally, I’d hang back, wait and see if we “accidentally” cross paths, but Layla’s determined eyes are on me so I up my game. To finish her.
I push through the haze and find my way to Couch Girl. She looks up at me with these electric green eyes that are more evident through her lenses, and I do something I thought I’d never in a million years do—hold out my hand.
“I don’t dance,” she says, reluctant.
“Me either. Too many germs.” A few seconds pass before she decides to take my humble offering. I pull her to her feet, and our palms smash together and slide across the dampness. This would normally gross me out, but I kind of want to linger in it with her. Gently, I lead her to the center of the floor where we are now gestural shapes on this dark canvas, too.
“Help me out here,” I say. “See that girl over there?” I point to Layla with my middle finger. A silent dig, if you will.
“I need her to see us talking.”
She scrunches up her face. “I’m not getting in the middle of whatever that is.” Her finger is waving around, grabbing Layla’s attention. “But thanks.”
As she tries to walk away, I tug on her sleeve. Eyebrows arched, and my own full puppy-lipped pout now in full effect. “Please.”
She must sense my sadness (read: desperation), because with one sharp sigh and a roll of her beautiful eyes, she digs her feet firmly into the floor. “Okay, fine. Just for a minute though.”
We’re not dancing, not swaying or grinding, but here we are, in the epicenter of it all. She crosses her arms, I cross mine, too. “So are we going to actually talk or just pretend?” she snaps.
“Who the hell are you?” I ask with a smirk.
She looks down. “Who am I? You mean what name was I given at birth, or who am I in a general sense?”
I start to respond, but she interrupts.
“Because, in said general sense, I’m a girl at a party I should’ve never come to but did and am now trapped in this weird interaction between subjects A and B while I’d much rather be at home teaching my chunky cat how to drink from a running faucet, thank you very much.”
With my gaze pressed hard on her porcelain skin, I drop
the last bit of cigarette to the floor and twist the cinder into the grooves until it burns no more. My smile grows, and all of a sudden, I don’t care if Layla’s watching or not. “Fair enough.”
“Who are you?” she replies with a touch of snark.
I look down to the holes in my shirtsleeve where the fab- ric has worn, and I realize I have two choices here. I can tell her the lame, true story of my life and wait for her to walk away, or I can do the opposite and hope that, for one perfect night, I’m allowed to feel this way about a girl who’s way out of my league, knowing the second I leave here, this, whatever this is, leaves with it.
Plus, it’d totally piss Layla off, and that makes it sweeter. “Well,” I say, “in a general sense, I’m a boy at a party I
should’ve never come to but did and am now gloriously trapped in this enlightened conversation with, probably, the most captivating girl in the entire house. In an even generaler sense”—she stops me, tells me that’s not a word— “I’m nobody. Well, until I saw you.” My smile widens. To sell it.
She blushes. Her fingers fumbling through her long, silky strands, she objects. “One, that’s so ridiculously cliché, and two, statistically speaking, you’re a percentage of this party as a whole house equation. Without the exact number of bodies—I estimate around thirty-seven—you’re something like 2.7027 percent somebody without ever seeing me.”
My heart drops through this creaky, wooden floor, and this smile that’s still pasted—it’s about to rip my face in two. The forces of the earth have rumbled beneath my feet and combined, climbing up through the dirt core, into my heart. We stand here, for, I don’t know, what feels like an infinity (she abruptly explains infinity is a concept and there’s no way to solve for x, so in reality, we can’t actually stand here that long), and all these things start flying out of my mouth—how I graduated last year, I’m only in town for tonight—and with
every passing lie, I think, You’re no better than Kyle, which makes me sick—like, physically ill with the sweats and a weird clamminess and all these symptoms that remind me how I felt when I first met Layla.
When the song ends, we hold on to this moment that, in the space between, feels like a million electrodes have be- gun to rattle and vibrate. I feel it fuse to my bones. It con- nects us together, grounds us, right here, right now. Layla’s gone—who cares now?—but just as I start to ask for her num- ber, or the name she was given at birth, a tiny little thing with big, springy curls that dangle over one eye pulls at Couch Girl’s arm.
“Ready to go?” the friend asks. She’s looking me over in this protective kind of way, and I know what she’s thinking because I beat her to it.
While the two of them decide, a hand slaps the back of my shirt hard enough to leave a mark. I turn around to see Kyle’s cousin’s friend’s college boyfriend with a worried look on his face. “Your friend might need to go to the hospital. He’s, like, not waking up.”
With a heavy sigh, something that follows Kyle’s hijinks often, I silently agree to retrieve my sort-of-ill-behaved dog that does as he pleases. Before I can even think about what to say to Couch Girl next, I spin around and she, and her tiny friend, are gone.
Just like that, it’s over before it even started. Story of my goddamned life.
Two days have passed since the house party, and I’m still thinking about what an idiot Kyle is. The only chance I had to talk to (probably) the most interesting lady specimen I’ve ever met, and he totally screwed me. One night to be all the things I’m not, maybe make out a little, and instead, I spent the wee hours of yesterday making sure his ass didn’t die of alcohol poisoning—again. And now here we are,