on September 1, 2015
Genres: Young Adult, Love & Romance, Social Issues, Dating & Sex, Friendship
Format: Advanced Review Copy
Source: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
I received this book for free from Little Brown Books for Young Readers in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.Buy on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, The King's English
On the night before they leave for college, Clare and Aidan only have one thing left to do: figure out whether they should stay together or break up. Over the course of twelve hours, they'll retrace the steps of their relationship, trying to find something in their past that might help them decide what their future should be. The night will lead them to friends and family, familiar landmarks and unexpected places, hard truths and surprising revelations. But as the clock winds down and morning approaches, so does their inevitable goodbye. The question is, will it be goodbye for now or goodbye forever?
Jennifer E. Smith is one of my favorite contemporary YA authors. I feel like I can always count on her to deliver a good story that takes me to a place in my teenage years. While I’ve loved all her books, her first one is my favorite. When I was at ALA this year, one of the Little, Brown publicists told me she liked this one even better.
Do I agree? Not really. I did enjoy this story, but I think maybe the plot was too far from my own experience to really get engrossed.
For instance, as noted in the summary, Clare and Aiden have been together for a few years. I didn’t have a high school boyfriend. I also didn’t go to college too far away from home (though I did move out). I had also ditched the high school scene kind of early to do some early college work.
That being said, there was a lot of tension and emotion that I could relate to. There is something so surreal and unbelievable about graduating high school and leaving for college. Even though you’ve spent four years with a group of people (provided you attended the same high school for all four years), those last days feel like a rush cramming memories and goodbyes. There is pressure to make it memorable. If you can make it memorable, then maybe it will last. Though, deep down you know things are going to change.
Another thing I love about Smith’s books are her flawed characters. Clare is self-absorbed. Not in a mean girls way, but in a “I’ve got big things going on and I’m failing to recognize other people do too” kind of way. And it was refreshingly normal. There is a lot of hurt and cutting words are exchanged, but it’s motivated by fear, change, and loss rather than a desire to wound someone. So, while it would have been easy to be annoyed by Clare or Aiden or any of the rest of the characters, I was just sympathetic.
So, while I wouldn’t say it was better than Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, it was definitely on par with Smith’s other novels, and I can’t wait to read the next one.