Review: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
Release date: August 27th, 2013
For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?
Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.
And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...
Sexy, romantic, and oh-so-true to life, this is an unforgettable look at first love from one of young adult fiction’s greatest writers.
The cover: ABSOLUTELY BEAUTIMOUS. I wish my ARC had this cover! It's the reason I wanted it in the first place.
The story: I don't really know what to say about this book. I loved its frank and honest portrayal of teen sex; I hated its flat, boring, and unlikable characters. I liked Myracle's prose, though it was extremely tell-y at points; I disliked the insta-love. In the end, my dislikes far outweighed my likes, even though this is a book that could have been so much.
What I did like:
Wren's issues with her parents. At first I thought this was what the focus would be on, because the first pages of the book spent so much time explaining how Wren, the perfect daughter, has always lived for her parents. Her own desires are getting lost beneath the things that they want for her, and it's crushing her. They want her to go to Emory and become a doctor, and they've convinced themselves that's what she wants, too. Wren wants to take a year off and do community service in Guatemala. She wants to see the world, take a break, figure out what she wants. So many teens can relate to that, and I thought Myracle did a fabulous job. But then... Then, a really boring romance rook over the entire plot, but I'll save that for later.
I also liked Charlie. He's a foster kid who's had it rough, but unlike most foster kids in YA lit, he's currently in a very nice home with very nice people. That was lovely to read about, as was his bond with his younger foster brother and his tentative relationships with his foster parents. Again, the book should have focused more on Wren and Charlie's home lives and how that CONTRIBUTED to their romance. But no.
I also really, really, REALLY like the attitude this book takes towards teen sex. It handles it very realistically and naturally (and awkwardly! I loved that). Wren goes on the pill, Charlie gets tested, they have very honest conversations with each other. Things may get a little explicit for some, but it's all done pretty tastefully and romantically a. Sex-positivity in YA is always a plus for me.
Here ends the pluses.
Things I didn't like:
The romance: Meet Wren and Charlie. They have interesting back stories, but no personality. Charlie loves Wren for no reason. One day they make eye contact in a parking lot. Charlie and Wren are in super duper love and it's super duper boring. This is pretty much it.
They really, really, REALLY LOVE EACH OTHER, and I have no idea why, even though they tell me about it every five pages. I don't have an issue with how quickly they fell in love. Some authors have pulled that off. I don't doubt Myracle has the skill to write a spectacular love story, but I never felt anything when it came to Wren and Charlie. I never had any clue what the foundation of their love was.
The focus on nothing BUT romance: This book skims the surface of so many great topics (first sex, the end of high school, the beginning of your life, child abuse, the foster system, parental pressure, etc.), but with it's short length and endless lovey-dovey cheesy dialogue, there was just no time to get into it. Wren's very interesting conflict with her parents just gets magically fixed at the end when a character, who'd been very resolute in their opinion, suddenly does an about-face. Charlie's anxiety over his foster family magically goes away because... well, because Wren is selfish and Charlie is giving and blahhhh.
Wren: Oh, I so easily could have loved Wren. I should have. Her storyline with her parents was so powerful. So I have no idea why Myracle chose to write her as insecure and self-centered in her relationship with Charlie. Charlie is seriously perfect. Boring, yes, but sweet and eight thousand percent in love with Wren. But he is not rich, and works most days in his foster dad's store, and takes care of his younger brother, who is both in a wheelchair and HORRIFICALLY BULLIED. So yes, Wren, he cannot be glued to your side twenty-four hours a day. He is not CHOOSING THEM OVER YOU by spending one hour a week with them. Did you miss the part where the kid is bullied and in a wheelchair?! Oh yes, and please, Charlie, give up the college scholarship you've worked so hard for, abandon your fledgling family and little brother, to go to Guatemala with Wren so she feels more secure in your love. That's a perfectly reasonable thing to ask someone to do.
Then she flips out on him because he ends a phone conversation prematurely. And completely shuts him out. For like a week. I don't expect or want all characters to be perfect, but I need to be able to understand them, but I literally couldn't understand Wren's brain when she was behaving like this. It didn't make any sense, and it didn't feel like the reasonable, earnest Wren who tries to make her parents proud would behave like this.
But the worst of it was Starrla. Oh, Starrla, why did you even exist as a character? She and Charlie used to hookup, and... I honestly don't even know how to describe her, but her portrayal made me really uncomfortable. She's the "skanky girl with issues" that Charlie used to hook up with. Wren is excruciatingly jealous of her for no damn reason. The final Starrla confrontation is so... BIZARRE AND UNCOMFORTABLE. And of course Wren gets all saaad about it, like it happened to her. I'm sorry to be vague here, but I can't really get into more specifics.
|Suffice it to say that Bea doesn't approve of it.|
The only characters with personality are Starrla the Strumpet; Tessa, Wren's best friend; and PG, Tessa's boyfriend. I would have rather read a book about them. Tessa's the cliche "best friend who's more vibrant, talkative, and outgoing than the mousy protagonist", which is of course why I liked her.
This book had a lot of things going for it, but with characters I didn't connect to, instalove that took over the plot, and bizarre logic, it just never won me over.