on April 24, 2012
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Cricket’s on a self-imposed break from her longtime boyfriend—but she’s picked a bad week to sort out her love life. For one thing, her mother’s romance is taking center stage: After jilting two previous fiancés, her mom is finally marrying Dan Jax, whom Cricket loves. But as wedding attendees arrive for a week of festivities at a guesthouse whose hippie owners have a sweet, sexy son—Ash—complications arise:
Cricket’s future stepsisters make it clear they’re not happy about the marriage. An old friend decides this is the week to declare his love for Cricket. Grandpa chooses to reveal a big secret at a family gathering. Dan’s ex-wife shows up. And even the dogs—Cricket’s old, ill Jupiter and Dan’s young, lively Cruiser—seem to be declaring war.
While Cricket fears that Dan is in danger of becoming ditched husband-to-be number three, she’s also alarmed by her own desires. Because even though her boyfriend looms large in her mind, Ash is right in front of her....
The Story of Us is a hard book to review. On the one hand I liked the premise of the story, but on the other hand, I felt it could have been executed a lot better. While I liked the story overall, the pacing was slow and sometimes it felt like the author went on these tangents that I just didn’t understand.
Cricket is experiencing a lot of upheaval in her life. Her mother is about to get married. She’s just moved out of her childhood home. She has to spend a week at the beach with her mother’s soon-to-be husband and his teenage daughters. Due to some mysterious but seemingly stupid move, she’s taking a break from her long-time boyfriend, Janssen. And let’s not forget, she has the weighty decision of which college she wants to attend looming over her head. Cricket does not handle change well and this leads to an emotional rollercoaster while she tries to figure out who and what she needs.
I could definitely relate to Cricket. I remember how I felt being 18 and just graduating high school, you have the whole world in front of you. When I graduated, the idea of moving away from everything I knew was terrifying. Cricket is still keeping in touch with Janssen through email, telling him about what’s going on, random facts about dogs, and most importantly relaying their love story back to him. It’s clear that Cricket isn’t sure she’s ready to let Janssen go. Further complicating things, Cricket meets Ash, who makes her feel things she’s only ever felt for Janssen.
I couldn’t really connect with Ash or Janssen. While the reader is able to learn about Janssen through Cricket’s eyes, with him only being present through emails it was hard to really feel anything but apathy towards him. I felt like I was supposed to want to really root for him and Cricket but that’s about it. As for Ash, I wasn’t overly sure about him either. He seemed nice enough but there was no depth to him. I realize that this book was really about Cricket dealing with her feelings about her relationships and not really about romance, I just wish I could understand her feelings more by getting to know them both.
There is a lot of drama in this book beyond Cricket’s immediate personal problems. Her mother is set to get married and Cricket is just hoping she actually goes through with it this time. On top of that, it seems like her step-father-to-be’s daughters would love nothing more than to sabotage their father’s relationship. While there is a lot of excitement throughout the story I had a difficult time with the pacing of the plot. There were too many places where Cricket’s verbose inner dialogue slowed the pace to a crawl.
Overall, I didn’t love The Story of Us. I was intrigued by the retelling of Cricket’s relationship with Janssen, and ultimately her family, but I wasn’t enthralled like I hoped to be. This is definitely a story about Cricket dealing with her feelings about all the different relationships in her life and I’m sure some people would really enjoy the writing style but it just didn’t blow me away. The saving grace for this story is that it does focus on Cricket’s evolving/devolving relationships which aren’t always the main focus of young adult literature. I will say that there were moments that made my heart beat a little faster and moments that made me feel like my heart was shattering into a million tiny pieces. It wasn’t that I didn’t like The Story of Us, I just wish I had connected better with the plot.