Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Big Crunch

I have been wanting to read The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman ever since I read Kate's review of it at Book Aunt earlier this year. It is not often you find a book about ordinary every day teens in a typical relationship in YA books. No one here discovers their romantic interest is a vampire/werewolf/fallen angel/creature of Faerie. No one here turns out to have magical or supernatural powers or a hidden mythical heritage. There are no tragedies/disasters/psychological traumas in the characters past. It really is a book about two average kids who have a very typical relationship. If that wasn't attractive enough there is also the amazing cover which I just like to stare at.

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

June and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.
This is not that kind of love story.
Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.
From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, this is a love story for people not particularly biased toward romance. But it is romantic, in the same way that truth can be romantic and uncertainty can be the biggest certainty of all.

That is not exactly true. There is a fair amount of swooning scorching desire, teenage hormones and all that, but not at the first meeting. They do have chemistry and a strong attraction but it is far more realistically portrayed. It is easy to put oneself in the place of Wes and June because most people reading this have experienced, are experiencing, or want to experience the same sort of relationship.

Wes and June are both great characters on their own as well. June has moved around a lot and developed a snarky yet accurate assessment of all high schools and teenagers everywhere. She is a little prickly because she is never in anyone place for very long and views all relationships as temporary. She dates a boy because she feels sorry for him. She creates drama between herself and Wes by yelling at him for things that are not is fault and beyond his control. Wes is just a regular guy who plays video games and poker with his friends. He does crazy things without thinking them through all the way and then wonders how it happened when he finds himself in more trouble than he imagined possible. Both characters find themselves receiving some swift and stern parental intervention at one point. Everything about this book is highly relateable to anyone who is or ever has been a teenager.

Note on Content: This is a book where the main characters are juniors in high school. There is a scene where they attend a party with underage drinking (though they do not partake). There are also some discussions o of sex and sexual desire.

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