Thursday, April 19, 2012
Q for quiet journey of love - The Big Crunch, by Pete Hautman (fiction)
Quietly, Wes escapes his smothering relationship with his girlfriend.
We've all heard about the Big Bang theory of the universe's creation, but maybe you haven't heard about "the big crunch" as one way that the universe might end, with everything condensing down to one tiny point of matter.
Pete Hautman reminds us that falling in love, whether gradual or sudden, is a lot like that big crunch - a moment when you realize that the only point in the entire universe is the person you love.
June, Wes, and their friends are very real people; their enthusiasms and worries are real, too. Is the love that Wes and Junie share real enough to survive her family moving away?
Find this clever, funny love story today at your local library or independent bookstore today.
Yes, I keep pointing you to your neighborhood businesses and institutions because they are worth supporting now so that they can keep supporting you and your community in the future.
And if the description of how June makes real hot chocolate for Wes after they walk together in the snow doesn't make you immediately long for a cup, I'll drink it for you.
Book info: The Big Crunch / Pete Hautman. Scholastic Press, 2011. [author's website] [author interview] [publisher site] [book trailer]
My Recommendation: Another new high school – June hates how her dad’s job moves them so often. Does she want to fit in or stand out this time? Semi-cool dude Wes notices her in the halls, someone new to wonder about while he tries to figure out exactly why he broke up with his girlfriend. His pal Jerry seeks her out immediately as part of his campaign for class president, even though the election is months away.
So the three sort-of friends wander in and out of each other’s days as Jerry pushes his campaign forward, Wes needs someone to talk to since he doesn’t talk to Izzy anymore, and Junie is forced to get involved here in Minnesota when her mom erases all her Chicago friends’ numbers from her phone – “There is no reverse gear in this time machine,” says her dad.
As the days grow cooler, June finds herself somehow dating Jerry steadily. Wes keeps mentally replaying his conversations with her, trying to figure out what made her choose the persistent campaigner over him. His little sister teases him about leaving his brain out in his garage workshop, and his buddies Alan and Alan take advantage of his distractedness to make steady in-roads on his savings during 24-hour poker marathons.
When Wes and Junie run into each other with a thump during a snowstorm, it’s rather eye-opening… and heart-stopping. Time to let Jerry down easy as they become a couple and learn to negotiate the differences in their lives – only child June who’s moved so many times, big brother Wes who’s never gone anywhere.
And then Junie’s dad announces another move on New Year’s Day. How far is it to Omaha? Too far to keep up any sort of relationship, according to her parents. Are they right? Will the Wes-shaped hole in June’s heart ever heal? Will she finally decide for herself whether it’s time to move on or stay connected? Can Wes get past his family ties into Junie’s larger world?
Hautman shows readers four seasons in the lives of June, Wes, and their friends – a year that changes everything and doesn’t change the important things, when a little push turns into The Big Crunch of decisions that cannot be undone. (One of 5,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com) Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.