At the start of senior year Sara knows exactly what she wants, especially when it comes to who she wants to be with. Dave is her perfect boyfriend: cute, popular, and he seems to like her. And he’s cute and popular. Maybe they haven’t actually talked that much. And true they don’t actually have a lot in common. But that doesn’t mean they can’t work, right? Who can argue with true love? Right?
Turns out Tobey would like to argue. A lot. Because while Sara is busy visualizing her future with Dave, well, Tobey is visualizing Sara. A lot. Before Tobey can make his move, Dave steps in. Game over, right?
Tobey knows Sara is it. He knows they have a connection even if she doesn’t think they have anything in common. With a lot of work and a little bit of luck, Tobey is prepared to show Sara that he could be her perfect boyfriend even if she is super smart and out of his league and all she sees right now is a slacker guy who plays guitar.
At the beginning of the year Sara and Tobey don’t really know each other. By the end, Sara and Tobey might have a whole new beginning together in When It Happens (2006) by Susane Colasanti.
When It Happens is the first of many delightful books by this author.
Written in chapters alternating between Sara and Tobey’s narrations, Colasanti creates a layered story with overlapping events seen from different angles. Although the plot is straightforward the story is complex and filled with characters with depth and a lot of charisma.
Love stories come up a lot in YA stories but Colasanti’s snappy writing and authentic voices make this book something different. Aside from being a gratifying story, When It Happens is an authentic snapshot of Tobey and Sara’s senior year with everything from college panic to wacky teachers and, yes, first love.
Possible Pairings: Dash and Lily’s Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan, What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen, The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg, If I Stay by Gayle Forman, Unearthly by Cynthia Hand, Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta, Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins, Say Anything