The Big Crunch

by Pete Hautman

Teenagers Wes and June go from avoidance to starry-eyed romance to love in a novel... read more

Teenagers Wes and June go from avoidance to starry-eyed romance to love in a novel that moves back and forth between their perspectives, often covering the same events from their differing points of view. They meet in autumn, shortly after June moves to Minneapolis. Her dad’s work means she’s likely to move again before the year is out, so she has no plans to become close to anyone. Wes recently broke up with his longtime girlfriend because he didn’t like being constantly attached. Wes and June sense a connection and spend fall trying to stay away from each other, but fate—often comically—repeatedly intervenes. June starts casually dating Wes’s awkward best friend, Jerry, but by winter she and Wes can’t ignore their mutual attraction. Then June discovers she has to move, this time to Omaha. A frustrating spring full of unrequited calls and text messages culminates in Wes’s impulsive road trip to Omaha. Their romance is renewed, leading to June’s summer job in Minneapolis and the chance for the relationship to blossom. Hautman is wonderful at capturing the intensity of both physical and intellectual attraction, as well as the swing between astonishing insight and impulse that is a hallmark of adolescence in this novel featuring two smart, thoughtful teens mindful of parental expectations but also charged with feeling and desire. (Age 14 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2012

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