From that time on, the world was hers for the reading....

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Susane Colasanti: When It Happens

I was excited to unexpectedly find When It Happens by Susane Colasanti at the library last week! I really enjoy her writing.

Sara and Tobey are different. Very different. In fact, on the surface, it would appear that all they have in common is the fact that they're seniors at the same high school.

Smart and determined, Sara wants to get into the college of her dreams, feel what it's like to be part of the popular crowd, and to fall in love. After waiting all summer for popular jock Dave to call, he finally asks her out. Sara's on her way to achieving all her dreams.

Focused on his music, Tobey cares more about the here and now. He doesn't give much thought to college and wants more than anything to win the school's Battle of the Bands competition. Little does Sara know, Tobey's goal is to fall in love too. And he's got his heart set on her.

When Tobey and Sara become partners in class, an unlikely friendship forms and they both start to realize that they aren't happy with the paths they chose to follow. Sara is learning that popularity isn't all it's cracked up to be and that Dave is definitely not her true love. Tobey wants to change is slacker ways to impress Sara, vowing to raise his grades and get into college. And soon they find themselves falling in love, dealing with jealous exes, and trying to figure out their futures.

When It Happens covers senior year from the first day of school through graduation and is told in alternating first-person chapters. Readers get to experience falling in love through the eyes of both Tobey and Sara. I was very impressed with Colasanti's ability to provide a realistic male voice to the story.

Though some may find the nod to "Say Anything" (complete with Tobey standing outside of Sara's house hoisting a boom box over his head) and the characters' frequent analysis of John Mayer lyrics to be a bit trite, I found those aspects endearing.

When It Happens perfectly relayed the emotion of first love and how it envelops your whole life. Susane Colasanti has a knack for writing realistic dialogue that made the characters come to life. She knows how teens speak and how they think. I look forward to reading more of her stories.

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