Monday, October 20, 2008

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti


Sara and Tobey couldn’t be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara’s other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she’s thrilled. But then there’s Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey’s goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey’s real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

Grade: B

God, I needed this. (A girl has much to grain from a pinch of romance amidst the midterm hustle.) I have no idea what worked here to make this novel as, I don’t know, endearing? Whatever it was, kudos to Ms Colasanti—a mi me gusta.

Okay, so the theme of this novel is already stamped on the title—what happens when it happens. “It” being “something real”. (I’m gonna do an adjunct summary to the one above because I’m having fun describing this story. Bear with me.) Voila:

See, the (very likeable) heroine, Sara, gets caught up in this relationship with one of those projected Everything Boys—popular, good-looking, charismatic, *barfs out every Gary Stu quality under the sun* (etc.). She’s thrilled—wouldn’t you be? Except that Dave (that’s the Ken doll) doesn’t make her feel very special; in fact, he’s only in it to, you know, “get down tonight” and she’s just not ready for that. Being with him is labor in and of itself cos the dude is, when you get down to it, a son of a bitch.

Meanwhile, over in Reality, there’s Tobey, a seemingly confident (not so much on the inside, as seen through his first person narration) musician who wants to be with Sara. While she’s undergoing her will-she-or-won’t-she in regards to breaking up with Ken Doll, Tobey keeps devising ways to get her to get it over with already because he thinks she’s his “something real” and vice versa. (! Too cute.)

This isn’t really a spoiler because any half-wit can probably happens: They get together. (!! Too cute.) And unlike with Dave, Sara feels this incredible connection to Tobey. He does too, with her. It’s instant—it’s a click—it’s love.

It is TOO CUTE. Just thinking about them as a couple makes me squeal, so I know other romance lovers out there (especially those who like for the girl to go for the dark-haired, brooding, creative type) will devour this one. It’s not only for the fluff-munchers either—there’s a certain aspect of their relationship (this is a spoiler I won't share) that inspires some tension between the two. (Tension = sweet torment for us readers. :D) So all is not perfect in paradise, making the realist within me very happy. 


Make no mistake however, this isn’t perfection epitomized. (Can perfection be epitomized?) While I loved the focus on Sara and Tobey’s squeal-ness, Sara’s best friend and even Sara herself had some tough home situations which were only dealt with in peripheral. If these element had to be in the story, I think they deserved to become more prominent (and, conversely, to be given a more complete resolution). Also, there were a couple of characters, like Cynthia and the art teacher, who felt more like props than real people and were only utilized when jealousy needed to be stirred or there was something to be figured out. In that sense, this novel came short. 

ETA: Oh and I meant to add in here somewhere that sometimes I got sick of Tobey objectifying Sara (many a sexual scenario ongoing in his imagination). I mean, I know you’ve got the hots for her, but it got to the saturation level. Andandand, I sometimes found his narrative cheesy. Because this = two first person accounts, Sara and Tobey’s. Most of the dual narrative novels I’ve read encounter this problem when the author tackles the opposite sex, so it’s not exclusive to this book. Or maybe guys really are like they’re portrayed and I just have issues when it comes to figuring that out. 

Howeverrrrrrrrr, I (perhaps highly) recommend this one. It goes by very quickly and, to me at least, it was of the very feel-good variety.

That said, I still disliked the second Colasanti book, Take Me There. Hard to believe it followed When It Happens, but there you have it.


Amee said...

Well there is something called the sophomore slump (or something of that nature), so it's not too surprising. For me anyway.

But wow, I really want to read this now. I wanted to before when Reader Rabbit first told me about it, but now even more. (Even if it isn't the epitome of perfection.)

WannabeWriter said...

This review was too cute. :]

I read this one. I thought it was cute too, but I don't know, the noticeably teenager-ish style and the double-narration of the same events isn't usually something I like. Anyway, great review, as usual!

Alea said...

I'm so ready to squeal!!! Can't wait to read this one! I smiled just reading your review of the cuteness!

Steph said...

WannaBeWriter - def a point to consider, however since I read Susane's 2nd book first, I thought the structure here was a LOT better. Not all of the events were recounted through both of their perspective, only the ones that really mattered (maybe one or two that didn't, but that I can forgive). I'm just a sucker for a feel-good romance. It was a LITTLE cheesy, but hell, I have cheese every day for breakfast, I can make room for it in some books. Worked here, IMO. :)

(Though I see your point with the teenagerish feel. Like this? Drove me mad. This intercepting the sentence with a question mark. Apparently a signature Colasanti move, as seen in both novels.)

Alea & Amee - READ!


Kelsey said...

I read the first few chapters, didn't get very far into it and I just never finished it. I guess I kind of thought that the writing was a bit cheesy and I'm also not a huge fan of dual narration, but It's good to know you liked it!

"Get down tonight" That was too funny!

Oh, and also, I just wanted to tell you....since you recommended it, that I'm reading Prep, should finish it tonight as I have like 50 pages left and I think I might have the review scheduled for Thursday or Friday....soooo keep a look out for that.

Rylie said...

You know, there were parts of this book that I liked and thought were cute, but I found that Sara's character became really annoying after a certain point. Did anyone else have that issue?

Vanessa ( said...

I loved this one! :)

In a weird way, your review is kind of exactly like mine.
It's just one of those books that refreshes you and makes you feel happy for Tobey and Sara.
I'm glad you liked it. :)


Post a Comment

Hey! For some reason, this embedded comment form makes most people click twice before the comment is processed and published. It's not you - it's just that it's a new Blogger feature with kinks and all that. (But I adore it and don't wanna get rid of it!) I removed Captcha to make the process easier. You don't have to rewrite the comments twice; just click on SUBMIT twice and it should work. If not, email me. Thanks! -Steph