Wednesday, February 2, 2011

The Big Crunch: By Pete Hautman



A funny, clear-eyed view of the realities of teenage love from National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.

Jen 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 Jen starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.


Many of the YA books that I’ve read, (whether they be paranormal romance or a more realistic setting) have been over the top in the love department. It’s almost always love at first sight, gushiness, a big fight about something ridiculous, the road to get back together, and we’ll always be together moment. While this can be fine for some books and even a nice break from reality, it can get a little tedious when it’s in as many books as it is.

That said, The Big Crunch is not one of these books. Instead The Big Crunch is a story told in alternating view points of June and Wes. They don’t fall in love at first sight, but rather stumble into their relationship. Not only that but their struggles are real, as June’s family moves and they have to deal with a long distance relationship. Then without giving to much away, The Big Crunch ends in a realistic ending that will leave the reader feeling both satisfied and happy they read this fantastic book.

Not only was the story a refreshing change from the normal love story formula, but Hautman captures the essence of this relationship, with both the struggles and the emotional rollercoaster ride, in a way that only Hautman can. Readers will love June and Wes and really sympathize with them as they face the same challenges millions of people deal with everyday.

All in all The Big Crunch is a well written breath of fresh air to a story arc that has lately exhausted readers with its unoriginality. Hautman does a fantastic job creating engaging and relatable characters, and I personally can’t wait for his next book whatever the subject.

9 out of 10

Publisher: Scholastic Press

Published: January 1, 2011

Price: $17.99

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