The Story of Us: Reviews
Booklist, starred review
Caletti’s latest Pacific Northwest romance is a stunner, with depth and ambiguity that respects and challenges the reader. Recent high-school graduate Cricket is at a crossroads in so many areas of her life: she can’t decide which college to attend; she has pushed away her adoring, long-term boyfriend, Janssen; the beloved family dog is clearly on her last legs; and her notorious “runaway bride” mother has found a terrific guy, Dan, and is getting married and moving out of the family home. Set over the course of the wedding week at an inn on the coast, the plot swirls to a heady, comedic climax while letters from Cricket to Janssen provide backstory. Among the wedding guests are Dan’s two spoiled, possessive teen daughters from a previous marriage, two sets of sparring grandparents, and the incredibly attractive Ash, a local boy who flirts nonstop with Cricket. Like many of Caletti’s protagonists, Cricket is a tremendously sympathetic Everygirl coping with issues of abandonment and trust. The tone of her narrative swings between wry accounts of comic wedding mishaps and heartbreaking meditations on the nature of love and loss: “Love, deep and endless and brave in the face of certain loss—through death and leavings and growing up and letting go.” One of Caletti’s best, this is a title to reread and savor.
Eighteen-year-old Cricket’s mother has left a trail of broken relationships behind her, but this time she’s found a “good guy.” Cricket, however, fears that her mother won’t go through with her marriage plans. Indeed, the week leading up to the wedding, as family and friends arrive at a large coastal inn, is fraught with spoiled soon-to-be stepsisters, fighting dogs, and the sudden divorce of the groom’s parents. And Cricket has her own romantic problem: she and her long-term boyfriend, Janssen, are “taking a break” so she can sort out what she really wants (something that grows murkier when she meets the innkeepers’ son). Some readers may tire of offbeat secondary characters and the accelerating chaos, but they will savor Cricket’s thoughtful and poetic observations about love—her letters to Janssen, in which she writes about her dog, Jupiter, and what dogs reveal about love, are quite moving (“Their goodness is goodness, and their love is love… and nothing you do seems to change that”). Caletti’s (Stay) ninth novel is a rewarding story of a girl’s struggle to live and love in a world of constant change. Ages 12–up. (Apr.)