Author: Deb Caletti
Pages: 389 (Hardcover)
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: April 12, 2012
Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:
Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.
While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her....
This was my first novel by Deb Caletti, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Immediately, I noticed her writing style. It made Cricket's narrative very conversational and easy to get into. I also liked how there were letters to her boyfriend, Janssen, interspersed. It made their story feel more intimate, and hooked me. While much of the story does focus on Cricket and Janssen's relationship, I wouldn't call this a romance. It's more of how Cricket comes to terms with past decisions, handling her current situation, and dealing with change in general.
The author created a fantastic cast of characters! Cricket, her brother, her mother, her mother's fiance, his daughters, her aunt, her grandparents, two nerds, and two dogs are spending the week together at an inn before the wedding. Each of these characters were distinct and felt like someone you could know in real life. The pot smoking inn keeper, the zany sisters, the high maintenance step siblings, the wild puppy, and the sweet old dog. Yes, even the dogs were jam packed of personality! In fact, little Jupiter plays a major role in Cricket's story. I would even argue that she was the most important character in the book.
I do think my favorite part of this book was the letters. They always started out with some lighthearted dog humor, then evolved into a surprisingly deep comparison of dog and human behavior and relationships. This is also where we learn about Cricket's past, such as her abusive father, mom's ex-fiances and, of course, meeting Janssen. However, my one complaint is that Cricket constantly brings up this bad thing she did to Janssen. It took her 335 pages to finally spit it out! After being annoyed that she kept bringing it up without actually saying what she did, I was relieved that it wasn't something stupid or cliched. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it's something that hit close to home for me.
The Story of Us is a wonderful book full of heart. It has the right combination of seriousness and hilarity. I was not expecting to cry near the end. I started suspecting something, but never thought it would happen. Of course, it did and the tears came rolling. I will most definitely be checking out more of Caletti's work if this is any indication of her mastery of the YA contemporary genre.
"We'd all arrived believing some things and left knowing others. ( ARC pg 377)"
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