The Big Crunch is a sweet and entirely relatable story of teenage love. June and Wes don't expect to fall in love, let alone the forever-type while they're so young. With so many unknowns, true love seems doomed. But is it ever really doomed when it's for real (as we all want to believe as teenagers?).
Summary: Wes and June do not "meet cute." They do not swoon with desire. They do not instantly feel like soul mates. This is not that kind of love story.
Instead, June and Wes hang around in each other's orbits... until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially after June starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends. Especially after their orbits don't align so closely anymore. This is a love story for readers not particularly biased toward romance. But it is romantic, in the same way that the truth can sometimes be romantic, and uncertainty can be a big come-on.
The characters are neither exceptional nor social outcasts, which was a refreshing change from many other teen books. June is a plain-Jane; not ugly, not pretty. She's emotional and silly. She's an average girl, and while Wes is far more attractive, he's not without common flaws. He's not always a good friend and he doesn't think before he acts. He's OCD and can be overly sensitive.
Hautman is a master at realistic characterization. I loved June's voice— I saw myself in her, even the petty parts that I wish I didn't relate to. I experienced everything she did, from being aware that I'm picking a stupid fight with my boyfriend, to allowing my emotions to cloud my judgment, to obsessing over a relationship and not being able to let go, even when logic dictates that I should. Any teen who's ever been in love will see themselves in this story.
The cover is GORGEOUS. And although the cover reveals the direction of the story before you even start reading, it spoils nothing for the reader. The point of this love story isn't knowing how it ends; it's the journey of how they got there.
The Big Crunch is targeted at teen female readers, although I sincerely enjoyed it as an adult. The book is so relatable that it was almost cathartic for me. It was like reading my journals, but without the shame and embarrassment of seeing how dramatic my teenage years were. The Big Crunch is an amazing backlist book for Scholastic, and I'm sad that it has not done as well as similar books such as Eleanor & Park.
If you're looking for the perfect book for an on-the-mend heartbroken teen, or a teen reader who loves a light, yet page-turning modern love story, this is it.