My sister and I saw Susane Colasanti on a teen author panel at BEA, and we were so taken with her neurotic charm that we spent a creepery five minutes zooming in on her
boob name tag with the camera to try to figure out who she was so that we could scurry home and read her books.
And Colasanti was amusing and articulate in person, and seems to be part of that Maureen Johnson/Holly Black/Libby Bray twitter cabal that exists only to suck the hours from my day in 140-char increments, and I wanted to love this book SO HARD but alas. I am decidedly fehh.
Ok so. Lani and her bff Erin have been drifting apart, largely because Lani has abandoned her friend-group in favor of saving the whales. And she spends a lot of time being like, They all feel like I turfed them when I haven’t, but Lani? I am reading this book and I tell you you have. You can be all, I’m just interested in different things now, which is fine, but there’s only so much time in the world and a raging obsession (recycling) must needs detract from other activities (certain friends who can’t spot a Number 2 plastic bottle at ten paces). And while it’s TOTALLY FINE AND NORMAL to develop new interests, don’t be looking at your neglected friends all, Why everybody so mad?
(Part of my impatience with Lani maybe [definitely] stems from living in Victoria, BC, aka the Recycling Capital Of The World [also the Being Smug Thereof], where a thousand eyes will follow you to make sure you break your coffee cup down into its component parts [recyclable, compostable] and God help you if you just throw it away. It is literally like living in those recycling karma commercials.)
What were we talking about? Right. So Lani and Erin: drifting. Except that once when they were little’uns Erin’s mom drove a car into a lake *urge to make GPS joke rising…rising…* and Erin was like, Lani, come in the back seat and don’t drown! So teen-Lani feels like child-Lani owes child-Erin her life, which makes it SO HARD YOU GUYS when Erin starts dating Jason and Lani and Jason discover that they are fateful soul love-mates. This is usually the part where one of them is a werewolf or a faerie but no dice. They are just straight-up melodramatic teens.
And I could tolerate Lani being a self-righteous recycler, but her reasons for thinking she and Jason are something like fate betray a gross unawareness of LITERALLY EVERYONE ELSE IN THE WORLD. Like, Jason refers to something as being ‘ridic’ and Lani’s like, You know abbreve! I thought I invented that! And I am like, Child, I dated a guy in college who spoke entirely in abbreve and it make me want to smack him. Point being, almost everyone now in their 20s has gone through a phase of using abbreviations like ‘obvs’ and ‘totes,’ YOURS TRULY UNFORTCH INCLUDED (see: early posts on this very blog), so clearly you only know, like, five people or you would not think you had invented this.
And then they both tap their cake forks together and go, Cheers, and she’s like, I thought I was the only one who did cheers! Lani, every child I have ever babysat knows that when you are both holding a thing, and one of you holds that thing out the other person is to clink their thing against that first thing and then you say ‘cheers’ (or, if the thing is a decidedly non-clinky thing like a marshmallow stick, it is permissible to say ‘clink’). I am not fated to date any of these children, despite their previous awareness of what it means to ‘cheers.’
Which, ultimately, this is the caboose of the Redundancy Train: Colasanti’s teenagers are SUCH TEENAGERS. They think they invented everything. They think they connect on ‘a whole new plane of existence’ and ‘have the kind of connection [their] parents can’t even imagine.’ They get pissed about stuff just because they can! Remember that? Remember taking offence at every imagined slight? Remember thinking you’d found the Love to End All Loves? REMEMBER HOW INSUFFERABLE THAT MADE YOU!?!
Anyway, after a whole novel of Jason and Lani being complete and utter soul mates except that Jason is dating Erin and Lani owes her life to Erin (you may recall) until Jason is suddenly no longer dating Erin and then Lani is like, No, we can’t…my best friend…but WHOLE NEW PLANE OF EXISTENCE BASED ON OUR SHARED KNOWLEDGE OF ABREVE etc and I no longer care.
I am so sad about this. If I were fifteen years younger I would turn on some Radiohead and gaze into a candle while I obsessed over what might have been. You were supposed to be like Sarah Dessen, Colasanti! Kirkus told me so!
*disclaimer: Spock’s unimpressedness in no way reflects the feelings of the Done Read. I unabashedly love Wills and Kate and wish them sunny days and covet Her Duchesness’ outfits. And hair.