Sunday, 11 July 2010

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti

"A boy, a girl, and the possibility of something real...

Seniors in high school, Sara and Tobey couldn't be more different. She wants to get into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when popular Dave asks her out, she's thrilled. But Tobey always creeps into her thoughts. Lucky for Sara, one of Tobey's goals is also to make her fall in love with him."

I've not read anything by Susane Colasanti before, but I've had a couple of her books on my wish list for a while. I did something I rarely do with an author I've not tried before, and actually ordered 2 of her books together, this one and 'Take Me There'. I started with this one and was very happy with what I found, and glad I took the chance and ordered two of her books.

Sara is smart, like, really smart and she doesn't go for slackers. But she's a romantic as well and searching for a serious love, something that will last, someone who can be her everything. Tobey is a slacker, he doesn't work at anything but still manages to do okay in his exams. He's determined not to go to college and to make it on the music scene with his band anyway. But he's also in love with Sara. He's certain they'll be perfect together and that one of the most popular guys in school, who's just asked her out, isn't nearly good enough for her. When Tobey starts making his interest clear, sparks start to fly.

Okay, so I admit this is a fairly predictable, slightly fluffy, young adult romance, but I really enjoyed it. It's told in alternating POV's from Tobey and Sara, and we get to see the same events through both eyes at times. Which to start with, took a little getting used to as it meant it kept jumping back a little to go forward. But it does work, really well. And it makes for a good way to tell the story of these characters who were easy to like and easy to relate to. The whole high school dynamic, the geeks, the jocks, the popular girls, was all there. It wasn't softened, ignored, or over used. It was just 'this is high school' and could easily be any high school.

The way Sara and Tobey thought, the way they see things, felt very realistic. And without giving anything away, the different male/female attitudes towards sex. And while I did really like both characters, there were times I didn't like them completely. Which for me, is a good thing. Makes them more real, because you never like someone, even someone you love, every second of every day, of every year. It just doesn't happen. I love characters I can get behind and get mad at and forgive. It makes them more real, makes them more interesting and makes for a better book.

I did mention that this book is a little fluffy at times. But that doesn't mean romance is all there is and it doesn't mean it doesn't come with some problems. There are a some little twists, things that could easily happen to anyone, that raise issues they have to deal with. The development of both characters over the course of the book is aided by their friends as well. Both of them have two best friends, and the relationships between them all add to the depth of the book, but also show how friendships can affect things as well. There are little side stories with the friends that we get to see parts of as well, which I liked. It meant they had more purpose than simply 'best friend of...'

Overall, it was a really enjoyable read, and one I struggled to put down. I was rooting for Sara and Tobey separately and together, hoping they'd grow and learn from everything going on and that they'd get what they were looking for. However, the last quarter of the book or so did feel a little rushed. Not badly, but it didn't feel like it quite had the depth the earlier part did. The timeline jumps got bigger and somethings seemed like they got skipped over a little. But the ending did tie things up nicely and satisfied me. It's not a huge issue, but it did let it down just slightly for me. Still a really good read, and exactly the type of book I wanted to read at that moment. Will be getting the rest of Susane's backlist very soon! 8/10

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