Monday, May 2, 2011


by Emily Wing Smith
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published April 28th 2011 by Dutton Childrens Books

Placement in the Pile: Middle of the Stack reaching to New Heights

What's worse than getting dumped? Not even knowing if you've been dumped. Joy got no goodbye, and certainly no explanation when Zan—the love of her life and the only good thing about stifling, backward Haven, Utah—unceremoniously and unexpectedly left for college a year early. Joy needs closure almost as much as she needs Zan, so she heads for California, and Zan, riding shotgun beside Zan's former-best-friend Noah.

Original and insightful, quirky and crushing, Joy's story is told in surprising and artfully shifting flashbacks between her life then and now. Exquisite craft and wry, relatable humor signal the arrival of Emily Wing Smith as a breakout talent.

Going into this book I wanted to be so in love with it. I had read amazing reviews from others who have read it, and I ADORE Emily. I cannot say that enough. Emily is one of the sweetest most genuine people I know and I love her to death. But my job is to review how I felt about a book, not how I feel about an author. And that dichotomy with this novel makes my job very, very hard.

Honestly, at the beginning of this book I had a very hard time because I really, really disliked the main character. Joy was whinny. And since we are jumping straight into her Bella-like obsession with her boyfriend who out of the blue left, without having any feeling for who he is and why he did it, we don't sympathize with her feelings, at least I didn't.

And on top of that I honestly have to admit I was a bit offended by the main character and completely disagreed with the image she portrayed of California Mormons verses Utah Mormons (which I will admit that I am a California Mormon who moved to Utah in my later teen years, and I have to say most of the "differences" portrayed were pretty wrong for me and my life experiences, and I couldn't get over the negative view it was portraying.)

That being said, all of those issues were in the beginning of the book. But I kept plugging along dealing with Joy because of my love of Emily.

And I'm glad I did.

In the end, the plotline was a little predictable but very enjoyable. Joy realizes that Zan is not who she thought he was, that she isn't even who she used to be with Zan. That it's okay to be herself. And that in the end, that is what makes her happy. There were some really funny moments, some really sweet moments and I have to admit, I liked Joy in the end. All in all, this story was worth reading. And it is worth giving it a try. Just remember, plug through the beginning, the end is enjoyable.


Sara B. Larson said...

Hey, look, a review! ;) Jk. I'm sorry you didn't like it as much as you wanted to; but I'm glad the ending was worth it. I will still give it a try.