So Much Closer, by Susane Colasanti
Published: May 3, 2011
Genre: YA contemp
Source: ARC provided by Penguin for review.
When Brooke's crush, Scott, moves from their suburban town to New York City, she decides to follow him there. Living with her formerly estranged dad and adapting to a new school are challenging, and things go from bad to worse when Brooke learns that Scott already has a girlfriend. But as she builds her new life, Brooke begins to discover a side of herself she never knew existed. And as she finds out, in the city that never sleeps, love can appear around any corner...Oy. I read this book yesterday, and before going to bed, I loved it. But after I've slept on it, there are a few things about it that bug me, though my review will still remain relatively positive.
Let's start with what I didn't like.
First off, Brooke is a genius. Through the roof IQ scores style genius. And yet, the girl has no common sense. It takes her a long time to catch on to what's going on around her.
She follows Scott to New York. What senior in high school would leave everything behind, to follow a boy to another city? To leave her friends, and her mother, to go live with the father who deserted them....all for Scott? No. I don't care how much she wanted to live in the city her entire life, only a heartless little drama queen would be willing to take those steps. All for The Knowing.
Which leads me to problem number three. The Knowing. Enough with this fate business.
And last, there were characters who seemed to serve no purpose. Rhiannon--which I would assume is the same Rhiannon from Colasanti's other novel, Take Me There (haven't read it). What purpose did she serve other than popping in from another novel? If she isn't the same Rhiannon, then she really served no purpose. And there's another, but revealing this one's non-purpose would be spoilerish.
Now, what I did like.
The story. Despite its flaws, Brooke goes through a transformation that was honorable. She morphs into someone who cares about people, and starts to value more important things than a boy. She starts to realize all of her past mistakes, and takes steps towards fixing them. She took drastic steps in the beginning for some boy, but the girl in the end of the book wouldn't have done such foolish things. Though I doubt she would have stayed in Jersey had she been given a do-over, because her decision to move to NY really did turn out to be what was best for her.
I liked both John and Scott. I liked these boys for different reasons. They were very different characters, and despite Brooke's feelings toward them, I believe they both had their redeeming qualities. Neither were perfect, both had flaws, but that's the reality of the world. Which makes So Much Closer feel that much more real.
The city. Brooke's adventure through the city almost makes me want to visit! (Almost.) I imagine a beauty in it that I hadn't ever thought would be there. I'll be completely honest. When I think about NY, I see buildings, taxis, and bustling pedestrians. Through Brooke's eyes, I saw the city differently.
It was quick. This is one thing I absolutely love about Colasanti. She manages to fit a whole story in a short, quick, fun read. And while sometimes I desire more, there are days when I just want to sit down and read a book from front to back, and walk away feeling satisfied. That's something Colasanti delivers.
So Much Closer was a fun read, that forces you to see the beauty in simple things. Look up.