Title: The Story of Us
Author: Deb Caletti
Published: April 2012 (Simon Pulse)
Summary: Cricket has a very long week ahead of her - her entire family has come together for her mom's wedding, and it's supposed to be a time for celebration. But for Cricket, the timing couldn't be worse. For years Cricket's been half of the perfect couple, destined to be together forever. Now, because of what she's done - something she would give anything to take back - Janssen has walked away. Maybe for good. Cricket has always panicked in the face of change. now she is forced to face her fears and decide once and for all what she wants, and how she's going to get it. Over the course of the week, secrets will be revealed, bonds will be tested, and Cricket's confusion - and her desires - may very well send her spiraling down a path she never thought she'd take...with no idea where it will lead her.
My Review: I impatiently awaited The Story of Us by Deb Caletti for quite a while. I discovered the awesomeness that is Deb Caletti last year when I read The Six Rules of Maybe and Stay. I fell in love with her writing and her characters, and I vowed to read all of her books. Although I have yet to accomplish this, it is still a goal I want to attain at some point. I had high expectations for this book, and while it did not quite meet them, it was still an enjoyable read.
I'm just going to put this out there. I'm not a dog person. I don't like dogs, or pets in general, really. I know, I know. I don't have a heart. I'll be awaiting the people with pitchforks banging down my door any moment now. Say what you will, I just don't like them. Therefore, a lot of times, I have a hard time connecting to the areas of a book where an animal is so significant to the main character or story. There are some exceptions. For example, most Kristan Higgins books, the aforementioned Six Rules of Maybe, and Island of the Blue Dolphins, among others. However, this did not happen in The Story of Us. Jupiter, Cricket's dog, was extremely significant. The letters from Cricket to her boyfriend-on-a-break, Janssen, were mostly centered around dog facts and stories. Jupiter and the other family's dog both got significant mentions. If you are a dog person, you will probably like this book a lot more than I did.
However, it's not all about the dogs. The story was interesting. I had never read anything quite like it. It was very much about Cricket, yet the other characters played large parts, too, both for their own stories and for Cricket's. I love Caletti's flair for writing secondary characters. There were quite a few of them in this book, so it was difficult to keep them all straight at times. But they were definitely all original and fun. Not one was cookie-cutter. They were all very multi-faceted for being secondary. Caletti also does a great job of capturing family dynamics, no matter how the family itself is assembled.
I really felt for Cricket with a lot of her issues. I don't like change, either. She was dealing with a lot of new possibilities in her life, and Janssen had been a part of her for so long, she was not quite sure how to cope with her situation. There were some things I wish she'd have been a little quicker to realize, and I did not always understand her logic. But seeing her grow and come to terms with some things was a great experience.
I loved Ash. Like, I really, really loved him. I truly wish that he would have been around for more scenes. The book focused more on Cricket, as it is really her story more than a romance. As for Janssen, I didn't expect to like him. After all, she was supposed to be moving on. Right? From the summary, that's what it sounds like. Yet Janssen was an amazing guy, too. And her older brother's best friend! Not going to lie - that's one of my favorite tropes. I won't give away the ending, but both guys were great in completely different ways.
One definite positive of this book is that I'm still thoroughly in love with Caletti's writing. I saved probably twice as many quotes as I'm posting here. Her ability to capture concepts with the written word will never fail to astound me.
❝What’s to love about uncertainty? Nothing. It’s scary – a big black hole of possible outcomes. Change requires bravery, and I don’t even like to walk into creepy basements alone. Sometimes I’ve even wished there was a human pause button, where you could choose some point in your life where you could stay always.❞
❝I think my heart must have escaped my chest. At least, it felt like it was pounding madly enough to leap out, rebelling, becoming the sort of heart it had never been before, a sorority girl heart, say, set loose in Daytona Beach during spring break.❞
❝My mother always said that our own stories were where we made sense of things, but I think all stories have that power. You could put your confusion and upset and worries into whatever book you were reading. You could sort of set them down in there, and you could come out with your head on a little straighter. I don’t know why stories worked that way, but they did. They’re an actual place where confusing things order themselves.❞
❝Every family is crazy. If it’s not crazy, that’s crazy.❞
❝She would bring you some great book because she was a book matchmaker, because she loved books the way other girls loved clothes.❞
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