In the summer after high school, Wren Gray thinks she is finally ready to go after what she wants. Even if what she wants is the exact opposite of what she has been working towards for her entire life. Even if what she wants is the exact opposite of what her parents want for Wren.
Charlie Parker, on the other hand, wants exactly one thing and one thing only: Wren Gray. Unfortunately the odds of her noticing him, let alone being actually interested in him, are pretty low.
Then high school ends and somehow, some way, Wren and Charlie meet. And both of them are interested. Unfortunately, it takes more than mutual interest–or even love–to create a lasting relationship. As Wren and Charlie finally get to know each other, neither of them are sure what the future will hold for them in The Infinite Moment of Us (2013) by Lauren Myracle.
Lauren Myracle is a wildly popular author. Her books are daring and edgy and completely unflinching when it comes to some difficult topics. That is part of why Myracle is also a perennial favorite for book banners who challenge her books.
I haven’t read a lot of Myracle books but she is absolutely wonderful at all of her events and, really, I wanted to love this book because I respect Myracle immensely for making hard choices and for never shying away from hard subjects in her books. I was so excited going into it.
The Infinite Moment of Us is a charming, sexy story of first love and all of the challenges and thrills it entails. It’s a story about walking into the unknown that is life after high school. It’s a story about a boy with a troubled past and a girl with everything going for her.
Then everything falls apart.
Let me start by saying that The Infinite Moment of Us is an honest, thoughtful meditation on first love and growing up. All of the pieces are handled well in Myracle’s skilled hands and the story has a lot of appeal. I am most certain that this book is going to rock a lot of worlds and many people are going to love it. Much as I wanted to be, I am not one of those people.
Wren is one of the most frustrating heroines I have recently encountered. She is proactive. She has agency. She knows what she wants. In theory she is everything you want in a heroine. Unfortunately in reality she is just irritating. Wren comes from a privileged family. She is making a daring, bold decision to defy her parents in order to do what she wants. While that is admirable and incredibly hard, with Wren it also came from such a place of privilege that it was impossible to ignore.
Myracle hints that Wren’s parents are suffocating but readers don’t see enough for it to really be convincing (this is a recurring problem because the novel is short–336 pages hardcover). Similarly, everything Wren does seems to be meant to suggest that she is strong and proactive and responsible. Unfortunately in most cases it instead comes across that Wren is a rich girl who wants the world to reshape itself to better suit her needs–particularly when it comes to her boyfriend Charlie.
I suppose it makes sense but a central conceit of The Infinite Moment of Us became the idea that one character had to give up something to be with the other. There was no middle ground. No compromise. It became a question of all or nothing. It was deeply troubling–maybe in part because Wren and Charlie are so relatively young–that there was this expectation of either of them having to give something up to be together.
Wren and Charlie together also alternated rather rapidly from being adorable together to being, well, strange. I still haven’t been able to pinpoint why but as the story progressed I became vaguely uncomfortable with almost everything Wren and Charlie said to each other from him calling her baby to their talking about feeling like a “man” and a “woman” because of being with the other. It all started to feel unsettling the more I read.
To add to an already significant assortment of issues, Myracle made some very strange choices with the book’s antagonist. I cannot say more because of spoilers but suffice it to say that the last eighth of the novel takes a very bizarre and completely unexpected turn.
I’ve heard this book described as a modern version of Forever. And it reminded me very much of some other novels I have read. Unfortunately The Infinite Moment Of Us was not quite as well done as those other novels. This book had all of the potential to be wonderful, and I’m sure with the right reader it will be. Sadly, I was left at the end with a sense that for me as a reader the entire story was largely pointless.
Possible Pairings: Catalyst by Laurie Halse Anderson, Forever by Judy Blume, When It Happens by Susane Colasanti, How to Love by Katie Cotugno, The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, Just One Day by Gayle Forman, The Piper’s Son by Melina Marchetta, Some Things That Stay by Sarah Willis
*This book was acquired for review from the publisher at BEA 2013*