Amulet Books (an imprint of Scholastic), 316 pages
US Release Date: August 27, 2013
Format/Source: ARC, via Around the World Tours - thank you!
Challenges: SARC 2013, Contemporary Challenge
For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?
Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.
And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...
Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.
“I didn’t say it was dumb,” Tessa said. “It’s what you feel, and guess what? Feelings are like three-year-olds. They’re not rational. They’re just there.”
I tried to put a positive spin on that, but I’m not certain it worked out. I’m glad it does, but at the same time, that overall responsibility made this kind of boring to me, and oddly? A bit like propaganda. I know it’s only because I’m a bit older, I’ve gone through all of this – but still. There was a certain measuredness in the storyline, and I found myself thinking “Yeah, I guess that should be the way it’s done but it never is…” quite often.
But I am glad a book like this exists out there. It should, it really should, no matter how much of a negative I list that as. It is a lot of mature content, especially at the end (was a little surprised at some of the detail!), but it’s handled well. It didn’t quite fit well together to me though; it was older material, but some of Wren and Charlie’s thought processes were a lot younger in my opinion.
Which is probably my main issue. I just felt like both characters were so sheltered. I’m not naive enough (or snobby and worldly enough) to believe there aren’t people who grew up like this (or are currently growing up like this), but sometimes it was just too much and the story no longer felt real. I just wanted to be like, “DON’T YOU READ/WATCH TV/MOVIES/DO ANYTHING?!”
Something I did like though was the progression of Wren and Charlie’s relationship. It was a little startling when it started, but together they made a lot of sense. Sure, I have problems with Wren and her sensibilities, but it worked well with Charlie’s. They made sense, and it felt like a natural timeline.
Charlie was the other saving grace to this novel. He was sweet and nice and interesting. I found myself most taken with all that he held back, which was interesting – I rarely like that in characters. But it added a certain dimension of him that was truly appealing and worked with the rest of the book.