Tuesday, August 13, 2013

The Infinite Moment of Us - Book Review

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I really liked Lauren Myracle's novel Shine because it had a great message of tolerance and anti-bullying. So I was excited to read her latest YA novel, The Infinite Moment of Us. I received a free autographed advanced review copy of the book at Book Expo America in May. I wasn't required to review the book, but I felt like doing so anyway. Mainly because my feelings for this book don't even come close to my feelings for Shine. I guess I find it hard to justify letting a 14-year-old (the minimum age recommendation for the book) read what is essentially soft core pornography. (The back cover of the book calls it "deeply sexy and achingly romantic".) A middle school summer book club pick this is not.

The characters in this book have just graduated from high school, and they really make me scared to have a child of my own. I know from personal experience that not all real-life teenagers engage in the activities of underage drinking, partying, sexting, and sex, but some do, and the fictional characters in this book certainly do. (Oh, and they also curse a lot.)

I'm torn over this because I'm a big proponent of keeping things realistic in books, but at the same time it makes me sad that teenagers are engaging in these behaviors. And based on what happens in this book, it's clear that these are activities to which these 18-year-olds are not really ready for. There is a scene in the book where the characters have a "fancy" dinner party, and you can sense that with this party, and the other things the characters do throughout the course of the story, they are play-acting. Playing out what they think are the roles of dinner party hosts and guests. Playing out what they think are the roles of husband and wife. Playing out what they think are the roles of men and women, not boys and girls.

By now, you're probably wondering what the heck this book is about. Well, here it is: For 18 years, Wren has been the perfect daughter. Her overbearing parents are so excited that she is going to college to become a doctor, but that's not actually what Wren wants to do. And so she decides not to go to college and do volunteer work in Guatemala for a year. Her parents are upset, but that's not the only thing Wren decides to do for herself. She also decides to start dating. One boy in particular: Charlie Parker.

Charlie is a foster kid who can't seem to realize that he is deserving of his kind foster parents' love, or anyone's love for that matter, including Wren's. But over the course of one summer, Wren and Charlie become inseparable and help one another learn more about themselves and what home and family mean.

If you're a parent reading this review, I'd suggest reading the book yourself before getting it for your child. And keep in mind that because the characters are 18, this book is probably better suited to 17- or 18-year-old readers. Maybe you can talk to your kids about the stuff that is happening in the book and be more supportive and involved parents than Wren's fictional parents in the book.

If you're a teen reading this review and still want to read this book, you won't get asked to show ID for it at the bookstore or library. But understand that just because the characters in this book are doing things (things that people you may know are doing), it doesn't mean you have to do them either. Sometimes doing those things makes you look stupid and feel stupid in the aftermath.

The Infinite Moment of Us is published by Amulet Books and will be available to purchase on August 27, 2013.

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