Thursday, September 3, 2015

Infinite In Between ~ Carolyn Mackler review [@carolynmackler @epicreads @harperteen]

Infinite in Between
Harper Teen
September 1 2015
480 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.
Starting Infinite in Between, I thought that the 'five teens' were 'five friends' (you know, who are also teens). I really like that I was wrong. Told from the five points-of-view of Mia Jake, Gregor, Whitney and Zoe, the novel follows them through the four years of high school.

The five first meet at freshman orientation and decide on an activity that has them promising to reunite at graduation.

As we follow them into high school the five are not friends, but they are aware of each other. Zoe is sure she won't be in New York long, that she'll be back home wit her mother and things will be good, again. Jake wants to figure out life without his best friend - and crush. Gregor wants to not just be the cello player. Mia wants to break out of her shell - if only she can figure out how. Whitney thinks everything is great, until it's all in danger of falling apart.

I love the way their lives intersect, almost intersect and how they still stay separate from each other. It is all very six degrees of separation: one has a friend who then gets to know another one; one is in a class with someone one's dating, etc.

As their lives progress through the years of high school, their relationships, who they know and who they're close to and care about continually shift. It brings some of them closer together, though still peripherally.

It seems like a lot to follow five people through four years, but Carolyn Mackler does it really well. We see, usually, short bits of each character's life. Sometimes it's the profound, monumental moments anyone would know would be life altering. Other times it's smaller things that don't seem that significant at the time, but as the book continues, we can see how important it was.

Though there are five characters, it really feels that we get to know each one of them. We see their growth, their accomplishments, their heartache, their uncertainty, their pain, their hope. Infinite in Between really does capture four years of their lives.

If you've left high school, Infinite in Between, is likely to make you feel nostalgic for it, if you're in high school - or about to be - it will give you hope for how things could, maybe be.






finished copy received from the publisher

2 comments:

  1. This grabs me right off the page! I love this premise and you give it a dazzling review! I remember our "Link" Day in High school where upper classmen lead groups of freshmen a day before classes started in order to get us acquainted with a few other individuals before school proper started. It was JUST like this, only without the poetic narrative. I would love to see a story like this.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much.

      My school didn't do anything like that (maybe it was too big?) but I love the idea - and how it worked here.

      Delete

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