Rated Reads

When It Happens

by Susane Colasanti

Rated: High

Sara is a high school senior with definite plans for the future: she may not expect to be valedictorian, like her best friend Laila, but she is smart and talented and hopes, hopes, hopes to get in to NYU. As her senior year begins, she is also hoping (not just that, but visualizing) that she will be able to date Dave, a very cute guy who moved into town the year before.

At the same time, another guy in her school, Tobey, who’s cute enough but a total slacker when it comes to school, starts staring at her. Tobey and his two best friends have a band, and they hope to be able to hit the big-time with their music. Tobey’s parents and teachers wish he would put his smarts to use in getting better grades and planning on college. As the school year starts, he sets his sights on Sara and tries to figure out how to get her to go out with him.

The storyline, with its seemingly mismatched love interests, has echoes of ‘80s movie “Say Anything,” and Sara’s favorite movie scene actually comes from that film. And while When It Happens does fairly well in bringing together two generally likable characters, the book somehow misses just a bit of the sweetness of the movie it hopes to emulate. But for readers looking for a happy-ending teen love story, this book fits the bill.

Rated: High, for a whole lot of strong language, about 20 instances. There is also teen sex (mild to moderately detailed) and a fair amount of talk about it.

— Reviewed by Cathy Carmode Lim

Cathy Carmode Lim has been reviewing books for newspapers for more than 20 years, two of which she was a book page editor. She founded Rated Reads in January 2008.

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  • When It Happens
  • by Susane Colasanti
  • Rated: High
  • Genre: Young adult
  • Reviewer: