Reminiscent of the classic movie Say Anything, a debut novel for anyone who is searching for something real.
At the start of senior year, Sara wants two things: to get into her first-choice college and to find true love. Tobey also wants two things: to win Battle of the Bands and to make Sara fall in love with him. Dave, the boy Sara was hoping would realize she exists, moves in on Sara first. But Tobey is impossible for Sara to ignore. He gets the little things that matter to her and, most importantly, he feels like a soul mate. Can a slacker rock star wannabe win the heart of a pretty class brain like Sara?
Hilariously and movingly told through Tobey's and Sara's authentic voices, Susane Colasanti's debut novel sizzles in its portrayal of two teens searching for the one.
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Susane Colasanti is the bestselling author of When It Happens, Take Me There, Waiting for You, Something Like Fate, So Much Closer, Keep Holding On, All I Need, Now and Forever, and the City Love trilogy.
Susane has a bachelor's degree from the University of Pennsylvania and a master's degree from New York University. Before becoming a full-time author in 2007, Susane was a high school science teacher for ten years. She lives in New York City.
You can connect with Susane at her website, susanecolasanti.com.
Sara is searching for something real. It's the start of senior year, and the brainy and beautiful teen is determined that this will be the year she finds "it" -- that elusive little thing called love. She's been crushing all summer on Dave, who asked for her phone number at the end of junior year. She's been waiting for his call for months, stressing about her search not for just any boyfriend but the one who truly gets her, understands that she must make it into New York University, grasps the whacked-out relationship she has with her mom. She's got all her hopes wrapped up in Dave, not knowing that Tobey -- the slacker guy from art class who seems to care only about his band -- has spent countless hours crafting a plan to win her over.
So it goes in When It Happens (Viking, 17.99), Susane Colasanti's debut novel, which successfully captures the angst and exhilaration that come with new love. Colasanti's tale unfolds in a "she said/he said" style, with chapters that tell the story from the viewpoint of each main character. Two sets of typefaces -- one for Sara's side, another for Tobey's -- make it easy to track who's talking.
That Colasanti, a public high school teacher in New York City, gets what high school is like is evident. Film and music references are sprinkled throughout her text, from Sara's favorite movie ("Say Anything") to a band (R.E.M.) she's heard of but never listened to until Tobey. Mentions of drugs, sex, eating disorders and the social pressures teens face aren't overdone, and the dialogue is breezy and realistic (including a few gratuitous f-bombs and a URL to a porn site). Even Colasanti's description about getting dressed for gym is legit: "First I sniff the shirt that's in my locker to make sure it doesn't smell too bad. Even if it does, I still have to wear it. But then I know not to stand too close to anyone."
Colasanti obviously remembers the kind of love that makes your insides churn, belly flips and all. Her take on young romance is insightful, fresh and fun, her characters fully formed and likable. Knowing how the book will end hardly matters, for When It Happens is sort of like high school itself: The outcome may be predictable, but what's really important is what happens along the way.
Debra Leithauser, editor of The Post's Sunday Source
Copyright 2006, The Washington Post. All Rights Reserved.
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