The Big Crunch

The Big Crunch

By: Pete Hautman
Publisher: Scholatic Press
Publication Date: January 2011
ISBN: 978-0-545-24075-8
Reviewed by: Amy Lignor
Review Date: January 2011

Right off the bat readers will absolutely love and appreciate the fact that this is not another one of those love stories. You know the ones…where the boy and the girl are desperate to be in love because they fell for each other across a crowded room and knew that they were soul mates, and nothing and no one would ever break them apart? No…this is a true, realistic, humorous look at the very definite emotions that come upon you when you look across the room at someone and they remind you of a sea creature that gives off the heady scent of maple syrup mixed with fresh-tilled soil. That is exactly what semi-cool/semi-geek Wes thought when he got his first look at the new student in school.

To be fair, June was having a REALLY bad day. Girls will know and understand that day – where not only do you have to be the new kid in a new school, but you also drop something on your pants during the bus ride, as well as have something really disgusting dropped on you by a pigeon flying overhead. June races into the bathroom trying desperately to wash the deposit out of her hair and just get through the next few hours. She’s so sick and tired of this constant “day” playing out in her life. It seems that she has been uprooted and moved five thousand times in the past few years. Her father is a consultant for small businesses; they hire him to come in and fix their problems. But soon every job comes to an end and the family heads toward their next destination. This is why June tries to remain unattached as much as possible. Like her father always says, life is a time machine and she should always look forward, never back. Even June’s mom erases her contacts from her cell phone because once she’s gone from a location…she’s gone and all friends are supposed to be left behind.

Sitting in class, June tries to think about the clique of friends she needs to join, and whether or not she should pick a boyfriend from the Book Club (total brooders); the jocks (complete Neanderthals, but look very good in prom pictures); the fashion-conscious (who wear thumb rings and fix their hair constantly); or, the drama department (nuff’ said). She does run into a young man by the name of Jerry who’s running for class president. Jerry is a calm boy who won’t become one of those cavemen-types who think that June has to “give” him anything, so she begins to go out on dates with him. This develops into a friendly match…but for some reason June just can’t stop thinking about a boy she walked past on her way home from school.

Wes has stopped riding the bus because he wants, for some reason, to meet up with the new girl who he can’t get out of his thoughts. He tries to stop this slightly obsessive behavior when he hears that his friend Jerry is really smitten with her, but fate intervenes and they smack into each other – literally – at a local grocery store resulting in a black eye for June.

From then on Wes and June find themselves becoming a couple and the attachment that June really didn’t want to form suddenly becomes a reality. When she comes home one day and her father announces that they’re on their way out of Minnesota and into Omaha, June feels the absolute “Crunch” of her world falling down around her. She knows that Wes is the one person that she will truly never be able to leave.

As winter turns to spring and spring into summer, Wes and June find that it’s impossible to let each other go, which results in hysterical stories from a stolen car, to a job six floors below street level searching through shredded documents with a boss named Hitler.

This author has put together a fantastic story for people of all ages, and hasn’t joined the masses in putting out yet another Romeo and Juliet (Edward & Bella) novel of pure angst. Wes and June are two characters who are just on the cusp of love. They’re not hopping into the sack or hating on their parents because life doesn’t go well for them…they’re simply trying to take their first steps toward trusting someone with their hearts.

Quill says: This novel was a breath of fresh air. Whether a teen who is just starting to find that specific “spark” in another person, or someone older looking back on a time that they’ve never forgotten – everyone who has ever had that “crush” turn into something more will absolutely love this book.

Feathered Quill

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