The last thing Ashley ever expected was to end up a military wife. But Cole doesn’t match her stereotype of the aggressive Marine. He’s passionate and romantic, and their relationship evolves into a deeply felt, sexually charged love affair that survives four deployments. Cole desperately wants Ashley to marry him, but when she meets another man, a college professor, she begins to see what life might be like outside the shadow of war.
Written in Ellen Hopkins’s stunning poetic verse style, Collateral captures the hearts of the soldiers on the battlefield and the minds of their friends, family, and lovers who also sacrifice their lives and happiness for their country at war. Is the collateral damage worth the fight?
Reading Group Guide
Ashley Patterson, a graduate student and poet, never expected to become a military wife. But she and her best friend, Darian, fall for soldiers, both on separate paths to war. Darian and Spencer marry right away, for better or for worse, but Ashley and Cole choose to take it slower. Five years and four deployments later, Ashley is still passionately connected to Cole—her poetic, sensitive Marine. But as she looks back on the history of their relationship, she realizes that he has changed—the fear and tedium of war are starting to take a toll. Ashley’s doubts grow as Cole rises in the ranks, and she finds herself drawn to her poetry professor, Jonah, a laid-back surfer who encourages her to follow her dreams and never settle for anyone else’s ambitions. As Cole’s suppressed fury comes to the surface, Ashley must find the courage to fight her own battles.
Topics & Questions for Discussion
1. Discuss what it was like to read Collateral, a novel in verse. How long did it take you adapt to this narrative form? Wh see more