A review copy of Collateral was kindly provided to me by Atria Books.'Each returning soldier is an in-the-flesh memoir of war. Their chapters might vary, but similar imagery fills the pages, and the theme of every book is the same - profound change. The big question became, could I live with that kind of change?'Alternating between the past and present, Collateral tells the story of Ashley and a marine named Cole. How they met. How they fell in love. How Ashley was transformed by Cole's deployment and how she struggled to make it through by using pills and alcohol to quiet her constant fears. Collateral was a deeply moving story that tells the tale of the one left behind in time of war, and how life can be when you love a soldier.Collateral is a realistic story in every sense because the war depicted within the pages is the exact war we're all living with today. Just as dark, gritty, and emotional as her other works with just enough hint at reality to make you wonder just how fictional it really is. Collateral does showcase the ‘worst-case scenario’ of loving a soldier, but that certainly makes it no less tangible. My heart ached for Ashley, her pain being so evident. I loved the snippets of Cole’s poetry, being able to see his outlook on his life in contrast with Ashley’s. Ellen Hopkins is truly an amazing writer and I'm so thankful for her stories. She uses no different words than any normal person but the way she uses them ends up turning them into something truly profound. 'Alone in this untamedempty place, I freea relentless volleyof words. Theyrageagainst the pages, a torrentof what was, what is, what yet may come. And when at last the spiritsrecede, I find echoed in their retreat, stories I dare not give voice to - nightmares set adrift in my paper harbor.'