Friday, October 28, 2011

Wintertown by Steve Edmond

Title: Wintertown
Author: Steve Edmond
Pages: 336
Release Date: December 5, 2011
Goodreads: Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off.
Garden State meets Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in this funny and poignant illustrated novel about opposites who fall in love.
My take: I really liked Edmond's Happyface. It provided depth and perspective to a character a person would not usually concern themselves with. Also, illustrations added interest and depth as well.

This book is a little more complex but incomplete in some ways. Again, the illustrations provide more perspective and I finally understood that the point was that both characters seemed to be on the same quest but, in fact, they were not. What they had in common was a childhood friendship. Then Lucy's parents split up and Lucy moves away with her mom but returns every Christmas break to be with her dad where she and Evan pick up on their best friendsies status even though their contact throughout the year is nearly nil.

This year Lucy returns to her dad's house looking different. She's gotten a nose piercing. She's died her hair. She's gone all Emo. Meanwhile, Evan is struggling because he doesn't want to disappoint his parents who have big plans for his success and on the basis of him being the perfect student/child. And so Evan and Lucy clash and attempt to find some sort of equilibrium.

My expectation was that I would eventually understand why Lucy had turned so cantankerous and hostile. She's closed down and taking a lot of her anger out on Evan who is just doing what he's always done. So Evan is a parent pleaser and his dad is Mr. High Expectation and hovers over every little thing. Lucy is on the opposite end of the spectrum in that her parents completely ignored her and slipped into their own little dramas so she is seeking attention with her outward appearance, wondering when and if anybody will notice that she desperately needs approval. This is explained to some extent but the explanation and the resolution left me feeling dissatisfied.

For me, it was a nice little story about two teens who are attempting equilibrium in somewhat extreme circumstances (although nothing shockingly extreme - mostly parental involvement) but I didn't feel connected to the conflict, the plot or resolution.

3 Stars

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