Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman

Read the name Pete Hautman  as the author on a book and know something really good awaits. Patti listed him as one of her Top YA Picks of All Time and I can't argue. I heard about his latest, The Big Crunch, a while ago due to all the great buzz and early reviews and was very interested. A steamy romance by Pete Hautman? Yes, please. I was reminded of the novel when Leila of Bookshelves of Doom recently reviewed it for Kirkus. I immediately checked my local library and picked it up during storytime. In honor of yesterday's Read Across America, I read The Big Crunch.*

I can't imagine a more appealing cover. The comic book panels tell a relationship story without even reading the inside cover. (Which you shouldn't do since, as was pointed out, the main character is listed there as Jen not June. What happened there, Scholastic?)

The novel's title refers to the Big Bang Theory, which June is studying in physical science.  As Pete says in his video, it's a metaphor. (LOL)
According to Mr. Reinhardt, this was called the Big Crunch, when the entire universe became and infinitesimal dot. And then the Big Bang would happen all over again. She found that reassuring - that no matter how messed up the universe got, it would eventually have another chance to get it right.

June and Wes's romance is lots of Darcy/Elizabeth looks and thoughts and longing. They talk about sex, but it's about waiting. Not the abstinence-only kind of waiting, but the right-time kind. I'm trying to remember if there was much, if any, swearing. So all in all a clean romance between two likable protagonists who don't know if they'll be together forever, but who know that what they have is love, is special, and is theirs. Concussions, black-eyes, hot chocolate, stolen cars and all. Nice job, Mr. Hautman.

The Big Crunch could rival the upcoming What Happened to Goodbye as my favorite swoon-worthy book of the year. Curious, the fathers of the girls in both books have jobs about saving companies that require the family to relocate often.

*Almost in one sitting last night. Finally pulled myself away to watch Top Chef. I'm hoping the top 3 are Carla, Antonia, and Richard. Mostly I'm Team Not Mike.


Anonymous said...

Wow, I just finished this one as well and had the totally opposite reaction to it! Usually I agree with your reviews, but I thought this book really failed. I loved the idea of a low drama teen romance, but I just found the characters really flat and uninteresting. I had to force myself to finish it, which rarely happens to me with YA books.

joanna said...

Oh wow! You know, I wasn't a fan of last year's The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson which so many people swooned and raved over. So I totally get it. This one just hit me in a good way.

I was thinking after the review that I thought the ending was a little too sappy and that Wes and June were rather isolated into themselves. But I liked the Big Crunch theory metaphor, I liked their honesty (and the author's) about the seriousness of teen relationships and I liked that Wes and June weren't so wild and angsty.

Also, I appreciate that there were 2 sets of great parents.