by Jennifer E. Smith
First sentence: “When Aidan opens the door, Clare rises onto her tiptoes to kiss him, and for a moment, it feels like any other night.”
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Review copy pilfered from the ARC piles at work.
Content: There’s some illusions to teenage drinking and sex, but it’s all tasteful and way off screen. If there is swearing (and now that I think about it, I’m not sure there is…), it’s all mild. It’s in the YA (grades 6-8) section of the bookstore.
Clare and Aidan have been a couple for the past two years of high school. They’ve been super happy and content in their relationship. But, it’s the night before they leave for college and they aren’t going the same place. Clare is headed to Dartmouth and Aidan for the opposite coast and UCLA. So, they’re going out this last night with one goal in mind (at least Clare’s mind): to break up. It’s a logical decision: they need to go away and be able to experience college fully, to not be constantly wondering if the other is being “faithful”. It makes sense.
Clare’s plan is to recreate memorable moments from their relationship, from where they first met through their first kiss and beyond. Except the evening doesn’t go as planned, and perhaps through the twists and turns that the evening throws at them, they can figure out exactly what to do with their relationship.
I love Smith’s romances. They’re generally sweet and simple, kind of like Baby Bear’s porridge: just right. This one was a bit more angsty than the others I’ve read, but understandably so. I appreciated that Clare was the “logical” one and that Aidan was the more emotional center in the book; it’s a nice twist to have the girl pushing to break up and the boy wanting to stay together. And the adventures over the course of the night were fun as well. It was an interesting take on relationships as well: usually, books either deal with the falling in love part, or the ending part but I don’t know if I’ve read one where there was a “conscious uncoupling” and Gwyneth Paltrow so eloquently put it. I found that difference to be a nice change.
But while it was all nice and comfy and sweet, that’s really all it was. While it wasn’t bad, it wasn’t anything I totally fell in love with. (Ha!) Still: a good book.