Sunday, December 23, 2012

A geek and a slacker in love

I am writing this entry with a smile on my  facea smile brought about by a surprisingly entertaining read. And that read is the novel by Susan Colasanti entitled When It Happens.

Sappy, contrived, cloying, forced. All these were my expectations when I turned to the first page of this YA novel. And I am smiling from ear to ear because I never found the romance sappy, the dialogue contrived, the burgeoning romance between the characters cloying, nor the ending forced.

I won't call the dialogue as natural, as I'm not familiar at all with how teens talk nowadays. But the banter and the wit flows smoothly, and Colasanti does make you feel for her characters when you read about their thoughts.

Nothing's particularly new here. Overachieving girl (Sara) falls in love with another senior (Tobey) who's main goal is to win the school's Battle of the Bands. Throw in the token best friends and the jocks and homecoming queens who make everyone's life hell.

But I wouldn't call When It Happens sterile. There's grit here, too. Sara's mother is a single parent who seems to have no trouble at all switching from one boyfriend to the next. And while Sara is a virgin, Tobey has a few experiences of his own. In fact, when Sara and Tobey talk about this issue, Colasanti doesn't go to a moral high ground.

This is still sugary sweet country, however. So one shouldn't cringe when Tobey realizes his potential, clean up his act, and gets accepted to a college in NY. One shouldn't hurl the book just because Sara gets accepted to a school in NY, too. When It Happens is still YA chick lit but without vampires. We can't have depressing endings here.

I'd gladly recommend When It Happens to my friends who have teenagers. It's an interesting read once you get comfortable with the language (e.g., "Protest much," "Drool much," and all those other much-es). Some of the scenes are funny. And you just might see yourself in one of the characters.

Read this book if:

  1. YA chick lit is your thing.
  2. You find yourself with nothing to do in one lazy afternoon.
  3. You prefer real people to vampires.


Tina said...

I read this a few years ago and it was pretty cute, although I can't stand how some of Colasanti's characters talk. I read only up to her second book and decided not to get the others because I just can't get used to how her characters talk. ^^

Peter S. said...

Oh! Hmmmmm.... I guess I need to read 1 more then. Thanks, Tina!

ekhtsasy said...