Sunday, July 17, 2011

Back When You Were Easier to Love

Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
Dutton Books, 2011
296 pages
YA; Contemporary
4/5 stars

Source: Library

Light spoilers!

Joy and Zan used to be a couple.  Until Zan got his GED and fled small-town Haven for Pitzer College, leaving Joy bereft and obsessing over him.  Eventually she persuades his friend Noah to drive her to California so that she can get closure. 

For the most part, I really liked this book.  Joy is a hilarious narrator with her high levels of neuroticism, her obsession with organizing her books properly (don't we all do that?), and her deep love of Barry Manilow.  I found her narration light and very easy and quick to read.  I also loved that most of the chapters were very short.

A bonus for me was that Joy comes from Claremont, CA and wants to attend Scripps College, my alma mater.  Girl has good taste although unfortunately events in the book may sour her on the Claremont Colleges.  I hope she has the good sense to try for Scripps anyway because it's amazing and gorgeous, as described in the book.  Another bonus was their side trip to Las Vegas, where I will be going soon.  I can't wait to compare their experience to me (although I can drink and gamble so mine will probably be more exciting.)

But this is not a perfect book.  Joy spends most of her time obsessing over her ex-boyfriend Zan who's kind of a jerk.  Luckily she realizes that and she wants to move on while recognizing that it will take time.  Helping in the recovery process is Zan's friend Noah, the very cute and unbelievably nice guy (seriously, the things he does for her? So nice).  They seem to be developing a relationship but they don't even kiss, which would have helped this book; who doesn't like a nice kiss between two adorable people in a YA book?

Overall: Pretty funny and enjoyable fast contemporary read.

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