* * 1/2
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.
Source: advance e-galley provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review
The Inevitable Collision of Birdie and Bash is about two people whose lives intersect at different times, each time with a different impact and outcome.
Bash is the child of a single immigrant mother whose health is ailing. It's no wonder that he's hardly doing well at school and hanging with the wrong person, namely his friend Wild Kyle, who happens to be the son of his mom's former employer. He meets Birdie at a party and the two engage in some comical banter. Unfortunately, their encounter doesn't have the chance to go anywhere because Bash is pulled away to take care of his friend. So they're stuck wondering about each other. Birdie has more on her mind than just the mysterious boy from the party. She's unsure about her future and doesn't know how to break it to her mother. She also has the added pain of not getting along with her out of control younger sister. At the very moment that Birdie decides she has to speak to her mother about a secret she's been holding, her family's world collapses. Birdie is left with the guilt of causing the accident and Bash is left with the heavy weight of the truth about what happened.
I'm not going to sugarcoat it: this was a tumultuous read. At any moment you're either gutted for Bash because life has been so cruel to him or ticked off at him because he's being an ass or boneheaded about something. Birdie's a mess because she's been unhappy for a while and sometimes she becomes almost detached from her life when she becomes so analytical. Then there's that odd moment of lightheartedness between them that makes you wish you could wrap them up in a bubble and keep them there. The somber truth about what connects them outside that bubble is inescapable. Granger takes our emotions all over the place as we watch Bash and Birdie pick up all the broken pieces of their lives and make attempts at moving on or in Bash's case, redemption. I was close to tears several times. If it weren't for that glimpse of hope down the road I don't know that I could have kept my composure.
I'm in between on this book. The events that transpired got me emotionally but otherwise I have mixed feelings about these two characters. I didn't feel a strong connection to either of them but rather I felt I was looking in from the outside the entire time. I will add that I'm glad that I read it as it's a reminder that everyone's life is more complicated than what we assume we know, and that Birdie and Bash are as complicated as can be.