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The Story of Us

Review

The Story of Us

Cricket's story unfolds in alternating chapters as she pens yearning messages to Janssen, her longtime love, discussing the past scenes of their relationship. The emails are interspersed with the story of her present life, which is on the cusp of major changes --- and she hates change.

"This is a poignant story concerning one very likable character's complex emotions about leaving one passage of her life to start on the next chapter. Although the plot is leisurely and there is an enormous cast of secondary characters, author Deb Caletti expertly crafts Cricket's tale into a satisfying page-turner."

Cricket, her brother Ben, and her mother are packing up to move from their beloved old Victorian home, their peaceful refuge after a difficult divorce. They, along with their cherished beagle Jupiter, will be moving in with mom's new husband, Dan. In the meantime, they meet family members at Bluff House, a rambling seaside bed and breakfast, which is to be the scene of the wedding (if, Cricket keeps thinking, her mother doesn't back out as she has done with relationship commitments of the past). First, though, Cricket tells Janssen that she will write down their love story, beginning with seeing him for the first time. And, as in every email to Janssen, she speaks of their mutual admiration for the canines of the world --- Jupiter and other dogs, with their many appealing traits.

At Bluff House, aging hippie owners Rebecca and Ted Rose welcome them. Others soon arrive. Cricket's stepfather-to-be (she hopes) brings his two huffy daughters, Amy and Hailey, who do not approve of his upcoming marriage. Meeting these potential stepsisters gives Cricket terrible flashbacks of trying to live with the children of her mother's previous boyfriend. Dan also brings Cruiser, a big rambunctious puppy, who is soon cowed by petite elderly Jupiter. Cricket and Ben adore Dan, a good guy who works as a contractor and who only wants his wedding to go smoothly. However, "smooth" is not the word to describe the complicated interactions that ensue between characters. The week before the wedding is meant to be a "getting to know you" period between families, and it is often tense or worse. There are both new relationships to attempt to form and old fractured ones, such as divorced grandparents, to tiptoe around.

Cricket's computer geek friends, Gavin and Oscar, appear, pitching a brand-new tent filled with electronics galore on the beach. Gavin manages to get Hailey interested in video games, which leads to some surprising developments. Meanwhile, Cricket's own life, as she yearns for and remembers her long years of loving Janssen, is muddled by the attentions of an old friend and the discovery of Ted's beguiling son, Ash. Ash and Cricket feel a mutual attraction, which only adds to her confusion, as do the mysterious comments Janssen writes to her. Is he getting interested in someone else? Cricket knows she has a limited time to make a commitment to Janssen, but can she do it?

This is a poignant story concerning one very likable character's complex emotions about leaving one passage of her life to start on the next chapter. Although the plot is leisurely and there is an enormous cast of secondary characters, author Deb Caletti expertly crafts Cricket's tale into a satisfying page-turner. As in her previous books, Caletti's descriptions of family are wonderfully charming and vivid. While Cricket's "the story of us" tells of her relationship with Janssen, it also encompasses her family members, including a particularly endearing one. My advice: stock up on tissues before you start reading this book!

Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon on May 31, 2012

The Story of Us
by Deb Caletti

  • Publication Date: March 19, 2013
  • Genres: Fiction, Romance, Young Adult 12+
  • Paperback: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon Pulse
  • ISBN-10: 1442423471
  • ISBN-13: 9781442423473