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I Will Follow Him

Jenny reviews So Much Closer, in which the heroine pulls a Felicity Porter to TEH EXTREME, following the object of her (far, far way) affection to NYC.

I Will Follow Him

BOOK REPORT for So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti

Cover Story: Brown Bag It!
BFF Charm: Finally!
Swoonworthy Scale: 6
Talky Talk: Straight Up
Bonus Factor: New York City, Tasty Business, Warm Fuzzies
Relationship Status: I Will Be This Book's Big Sister

Cover Story: Brown Bag It

This kind of cover is why I never used to read YA. There is just a world of ew, here. However, it DOES represent the story, at least, so there is that. Still. Brown. Bag. It.

The Deal:

Brooke has been secretly in love with Scott for two years. He doesn't really seem to know she exists, but she has what she refers to as 'the knowing' about him, so she believes if she can just tell him how she feels, he'll realize that they were meant to be together. Just when she works up the courage to talk to him, though, he tells her he's about to move with his family from suburbian New Jersey into NYC proper. So Brooke decides to FOLLOW HIM THERE. (More on that later.) Lucky for her, Brooke's dad --whom she hasn't spoken to in, like, 5 years-- moved into the city after her parents nasty divorce. So she moves into the Village and enrolls in her senior year of high school at a new school... and finds Scott. And he still doesn't really know she exists. And he has a girlfriend. And THAT'S when things get interesting.

BFF Charm: Finally!

Okay, you guys. I had some SERIOUS problems with Brooke's behavior. It's not that I didn't find her likable, because she's actually really sweet, and genius-smart, and she has a passion for NYC that I share completely. But I REALLY had a problem with her CHANGING HER WHOLE LIFE AND MOVING TO A DIFFERENT CITY FOR A BOY. WHO SHE HAD NEVER HAD MORE THAN 1 CONVERSATION WITH. I wanted to sit her down and have a serious heart to heart with her, in which I would hand her a certain Stephenie Meyers book, and explain to her what it was to be a stalker. But in the beginning of the book, she wouldn't have listened to me anyway, and would have pointed out that she had always dreamed of moving to New York anyway, and that Scott was just the catalyst for making her dreams of living in the city come true, which IS the truth, so... I would have just winced and shook my head and hoped for the best.

However, Brooke surprised me, both with some serious shizz she had boiling under the surface, and with how she grew and embraced THE CITY and the new lifestyle that came with living in it. So I may have been cheering her on towards the middle of the book, and in the end, even though I didn't agree with her about all of her decisions, I was so proud when she realized that no one other person could determine her happiness, I would have been happy to give her my charm. Maybe even nestled in the day's special cupcake from Crumbs.

Swoonworthy Scale: 6

Who doesn't remember obsessing about that boy in high school who you were SO TOTALLY in love with, but never actually spoke to? That spine tingling fleeting eye contact that you were sure MEANT SOMETHING. That is swoon in its purest form. And sadly, who didn't maybe start watching a certain show because said crush watched it, or start listening (and of course liking) the same bands? However, as I've obvs. stated above, moving to a different city for said crush really, really triggers my 'Sista, PLEEZE!' response. So while I enjoyed the swoony moments, I found myself thinking the whole time, "When is Brooke going to realize that moving to a new city to follow a boy is not brave, it's kind of creepy?" So I might not have enjoyed the swoon as much as I could have.

Also, Scott was cute, and sweet and all, but John? YES, please!

Talky Talk: Straight Up

Colasanti's voice for Brooke felt authentic, and the pace of this book kept me interested without making me feel I had to rush through it to find the resolution. There is a little bit of 'teen speak', but she used it sparingly, thankfully, so I didn't find myself too annoyed. At times it feels both breezy and heavy-handed with the dram, but I felt that it reflected its characters emotions well.

The most intriguing thing about Colasanti's writing, however, is how it made me question some of my above harped on mentioned issues. By the time I finished, I found myself wanting to take this book around and have all of my peers read it, asking, "Am I wrong?" I mean, seriously, am I wrong? I am a 'good girl who makes good choices' from waaay back, so maybe my thoughts on Brooke's following Scott are too harsh? Just like with Siobhan Vivian's Not That Kind Of Girl, this book caused me to open my mind. Now, if I had a teenaged daughter, would I want her to move to a different city to follow a boy? I can answer that with an "Aw, HELL NO." But still...

Bonus Factor: New York City

There's just something about New York City. It's magical and fantastic and overwhelming and I CAN'T WAIT TO BE THERE IN MAY FOR BEA!!!!!! Colasanti gives us an insider's insider view of the city, dropping coffee shops and parks and places to get cupcakes that go way deeper than the million Starbucks and Central and Magnolia's. I want to go there.

Bonus Factor: Tasty Business

We love food like we love our cocktails around here, so qu'elle surprise that Brooke and her friends spend much of their time at Crumb's Bake Shop --or talking about Crumbs, or getting take away from Crumbs-- as well as drinking delicious coffee and eating sandwiches good enough to celebrate.

Bonus Factor: Warm Fuzzies

So at first, I thought Brooke's friend Sadie's idea of handing out prettily made notes to make someone feel better, or encourage them was a little cheesy, and done in a way that only a kid from NYC could do, and still seem cool. But actually, writing people nice notes to let them know you're thinking of them, or appreciate them, or wanting to encourage them? Truth be told, it's sweet, and we might all be happier folks if we engaged in acts like that. From time to time.

Casting Call:

Mary Elizabeth Winstead as Brooke

This was a no-brainer for me. Mary Elizabeth could handle both the confident and the vulnerable sides of Brooke.

Zach Roerig as Scott

And I can't think of a better actor to play a super cute nice guy, even if he might not be the right guy than Zach.

And I don't want you guys to think this is your typical love triangle by my casting, but I loved John so much, I couldn't wait to cast him!

James Franco as John 

I know he's technically too old to pass for a high schooler, but I figure if he can be on a soap and do movies and get a bajillion degrees, maybe he can make himself appear as a teenager again? Plus he has the ability to play goofy-endearing like nobody else. Nobody. And also, he's very handsome.

Relationship Status: I Will Be This Book's Big Sister

You know what? I thought I had a lot to show this book about life and shizz, but the more I got to know it, even when it wouldn't listen to my much older and obvs. wiser point of view, I realized that this book is going places. It's headstrong and cocksure, but it's going to learn the lessons life has to teach it, and I've realized that maybe, all it needs from me is for me to be there, with a hug, or a nice, encouraging note at times, and not "I told you so"s, or "I would have done things differently"s. It's a teenager, for chrissakes, it's all about having fun and discovering who it is. So I've decided that I'm just going to sit back and let it be itself, and when it wants to hang out and talk, I'll be there with the cupcakes.

FTC Full Disclosure: I received my review copy from Penguin. I received neither money nor cocktails for writing this review (dammit!).So Much Closer will be available on May 3rd.

But! I have a copy to give away! If you'd like this book, tell me so in the comments, and don't forget to hit the button to subscribe to following comments, because I'll pick a random winner next Tuesday, and announce it here!

Jenny Bird's photo About the Author: Jenny grew up on a steady diet of Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov and Star Wars novels. She has now expanded her tastes to include television, movies, and YA fiction.
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