Title: The Big Crunch
Author: Pete Hautman
Published: January 2011 by Scholastic Press
My Rating: 3.5 stars
Tags: YA | Romance | Realistic
First Lines: The first time Wes saw June, he thought she was kind of funny-looking. She had these thick lips, a wide mouth, greenish-blue eyes that were a little too far apart, and her hair - a dark blond color - looked still wet from her morning shower.
June isn't looking for love, but she is looking for a set of temporary best friends and a boyfriend. After moving to Minnesota and starting the sixth high school she's attended in the last four years, she's given up on trying to connect with anyone in fear that she'll have to shortly say goodbye once again. The first time Wes sees June, she reminds him of a fish with her big lips and blue eyes. He nicknames her Aqua Girl and can't get her out of his mind for some reason. Soon, June begins dating Jerry, the best friend of Wes, but it isn't long before she gets tired of him and his political campaign to become class president. As June and Wes start to see each other more often, they aren't sure what their feelings for each other mean. June is scared to become close to him because what if she has to move again right as she's falling for him?
I've read my fair share of romance books but I have to say that this one is unlike the others. It was the definition of realistic and I don't think there was a single cheesy or unbelievable part of the novel. Because it was so down-to-earth and not that much happened in the story, the reader could really relate to it. Even though the story dragged at parts and was boring at times, I still didn't want to put it down. Wes and June's relationship was really interesting to watch blossom into something romantic.
The majority of the book was just dialogue and getting to know the characters. It lacked a lot of plot substance and drama which was a let down. However, I grew to know Wes and June very well; the character development was fantastic and the author really understood his characters. The book is told from both of the main characters' perspectives, but in third person. I think this would be a challenging way to write but Hautman knew what he was doing! Sometimes it bounced back and forth between the two characters so much though that it was a little distracting. It was a light, breezy take on the boy-meets-girl story. I was satisfied with the ending, so glad that it wasn't corny and didn't say what the next five years of their relationship would be, like some books do. It was a sweet novel focusing on the wonders of adolescent love. Characterization was brilliant, but plot? Not so much.
Cover Thoughts: I'm in love with it. It portrays their relationship through a year with the four seasons. I think it's creative, colorful, and makes me interested in the novel.