Crash by Jerry Spinelli: Summary & Characters

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  • 0:01 Main Characters
  • 1:11 Book Summary
  • 3:05 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Abby Federico

Abby has taught elementary special education and has her master's degree in this area.

In this lesson, you'll learn about the book 'Crash' by Jerry Spinelli. You will learn about the main characters, then read a brief summary of the book.

Main Characters

Jerry Spinelli's Crash is a middle grade book that focuses on a 'bully' named Crash and the people who change his views on friendship. Let's meet them now:

John 'Crash' Coogan: John Coogan is a seventh grader who loves sports and is very good at them. He has been athletic and competitive since he was a little boy, which was when he got the nickname 'Crash.' At the beginning of the book, Crash is a bully who picks on other people. Crash's parents are not around a lot because they are busy working.

Penn Webb: Penn is Crash's neighbor who is always nice to Crash even though Crash teases and bullies him. Penn joins the cheerleading team, and his parents are always there to support him in everything he does.

Jane Forbes: Jane is the new girl who moves to town, and Crash has a crush on her. However, Crash gets very angry when Jane makes it clear she enjoys talking to Penn instead of Crash.

Mike Deluca: Mike is Crash's best friend, and they get along because they both love fighting and football. Mike also bullies Penn, and usually talks Crash into joining him.

Book Summary

At the start of the book, we learn that Crash, the protagonist of the book, met his best friend, Mike Deluca, the year before. The two of them love football, fighting, and bullying. Mike and Crash especially like to bully Crash's neighbor, Penn Webb. However, Penn makes Crash uncomfortable because he is not intimidated by the bullying and continues to be nice and never does anything back to Crash.

We also learn that Crash is jealous of Penn because Penn's parents are around a lot and are very supportive of him. In one football game, Crash sets a record for touchdowns but is upset that his parents are not there to see it. Penn's parents come to the games to watch Penn cheer. Crash is also mad at Penn because the new girl, Jane Forbes, ignores Crash and talks to Penn instead. Jane tells Crash that he does not have a good personality.

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