At the start of her senior year, Sara wants two things: to get into a top college and to find true love. Tobey also wants two things in his senior year: to win Battle of the Bands and to make Sara fall in love with him. A popular jock named Dave, though, moves in on Sara first. But Tobey's quirky wit and big blue eyes are hard for Sara to ignore. Plus, he gets the little things that matter to her - like why she loves the Lloyd Dobler boom-box scene in the movie Say Anything....Can a slacker rock-star wanna be win the heart of a pretty class brain like Sara?Review - This was my first foray into the world of Colastani and I was really happy to be taken along on a ride that features the perspectives of both romantic leads. I am a sucker for well executed duel-perspective narratives and this one definite makes the grade. Unlike many contemporary romances, When It Happens hasn't been toned down with the intent of not offended the masses. The sprinkling of real life issues makes this more than a fluff-fest.
What is most curious about this novel is the fact that after our two leads fall in love, we spend time with them as a couple. It's not a kiss, love declaration and goodbye kind of deal. I really appreciate that Colasanti chose to do this when resolving sexual tension is usually the death knell for any story (or a story with poor writing.) The dichotomy of what these two people want in the beginning of the story and at its conclusion is quite an interesting journey. Sara wants to have a Sweet Valley High Todd Wilkins type and be popular, Tobey wants Sara. What they find it that their expectations don't meet up with reality and sometimes this can be a disappointment or a surprise.
There's a certain level of ....schmoopiness (my mother's term) to them as a couple that can be a little much. But then I am cynical hag way past my teen years. There were couples like this is high school and they baffled me then too. It really buys into that teen idealism and romance that you have in high school, that feeling in the pit of your stomach, the flutter in your chest and the certainty of your undying love. In some respects it is predicable but the general population don't buy a contemporary YA romance if they want the two leads falling into spectacular hate (though that does sound fun).
Colasanti has taken enough chances with some subject matter and the structure to make it more than a cute love story. I also dig pop culture references that work for me and Colasanti had plenty for me to chuckle over or reflective upon wistfully. It's plain old fun. When It Happens an enjoyable read and I will be reading more from this author.
Format: Paperback, 336 pages