Sunday, April 01, 2007

The declaration of whatnow?

So here I am, expectations lowered to non-existent because before me is a MTV Books title. MTV? And it's called The Pursuit of Happiness? Who's Tara Altebrando?

Betsy's working at one of those re-enactment villages weighed down in the heat of summer by too many layers of period clothing. She's stuck working with a goth freak from school, and if that doesn't sound bad enough, her mother dies of breast cancer. Then her boyfriend gets flaky and her friends don't quite know how to talk to her anymore. Turns out the goth freak and that cute Princeton bound carpenter may be the only friends she has in a time she needs them most, now that the itchy costumes of the past become a refuge from her present.

I was shocked. Shocked, I tell you, about how good this was. Now, I admitted to having zero expectations from it, but even then it exceeded what would have been normal expectations. Every thread was tied up nicely so nicely in the end. It was refreshing. I didn't put together one little revealing element until the last page out of shear obliviousness, but it turned out to be a lovely varnishing theme to the novel.

Ok, now that I've convinced you that I really did enjoy this, I'm going to be frank about one element. Carpenter Boy (er...James) has got a girlfriend who is severely depressed. I've been around depressed people, and I understand aspects of Carpenter Boy's situation. I'm by no means an expert, but I had some issues with some of the things surrounding that plot line. Especially Betsy's interaction near the end.

Sara mentions that she'd give this title to fans of Sarah Dessen, and I think that she's right on with that one. It will work for fans of A Brief Chapter in My Impossible Life and Cures for Heartbreak as well.

(Yes, Sarah B, this means you ought to read it.)

You can do the MySpace thing with Altebrando, too.


Little Willow said...

The more people to sing the praises of this book, the better.

Anonymous said...

Well now I have to read it because you said the magic word: "Dessen!" If only you could have seen my facial reactions while reading this post -- I'm sure I would have amused you immensely. :)

Jackie Parker said...

You should give Adios to My Old Life a try, too. I think that you'll really like that one as well, Sarah.

Little Willow said...

I constantly say, "If you like Sarah Dessen's The Truth About Forever, you will like Tara Altebrando's The Pursuit of Happiness."

As of today, I have a new familiar-name==new-name tie-in like this: "If you like Deb Caletti's Honey, Baby, Sweetheart, you will like Beauty Shop for Rent ...fully equipped, inquire within by Laura Bowers." It is coming out in May and it is spectacular!

Jackie Parker said...

Ooo, Deb Caletti - she's going to be at my state library conference this month - I'm hoping to meet her. (need to read a couple of her books first... gosh, I'm so awful sometimes.)

Little Willow said...

If you get to meet her, please send my greetings!