Book Reviews

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti – Review

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When It Happens by Susane Colasanti illustrates senior year in alternating perspectives of characters within the story, including the main characters Sara and Tobey. The book was a good fast-paced summer read, with a lot of somewhat cheesy romance. Most of the book was quite predictable which kind of took away from the plot. I’ve read so many stories like this, so it kind of just blends in with the rest as opposed to sticking out in my mind as being outstanding. However, I did mostly enjoy it. I think that the issues that the characters face in their senior year in this novel, are pretty accurate to reality, at least it was for me.

What I liked about the novel:

What I really enjoyed about this novel is the realistic aspect of reading about the characters doing homework and trying to succeed in school. It seems that a lot of contemporary novels don’t really focus on this, and the reader sees the characters going on ridiculous adventures and hardly ever paying attention to school. Although, getting into your preferred college or university is a lot of teenager’s top priority, so I liked that that was present in the novel. The book also depicted the characters experiencing realistic stresses over being accepted into their first choice school.

Additionally, I thought the romance between Tobey and Sara was good in the sense that Sara essentially made Tobey a better student and an overall better person.

I really enjoyed the friendship between Sara and her best friends. They seemed really close and supportive of each other, and they always asked each other for advice. I thought their friendship was really important to the story because even when unfortunate things happened, especially with their families, they were always there for each other.

What I disliked about the novel: 

At first I didn’t really like the writing style. The author uses quite a lot of extremely contemporary wording, and words that are found in a lot of teenager’s vocabulary. This is exemplified through the author’s use of the phrases “So I go”, as well as, “and then she was like…”. Perhaps part of the reason that I picked up on this is because I am also currently reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen, which many people can agree, is written quite profoundly and beautifully. I do tend to enjoy the classics because of this reason. Though contemporary authors utilize this writing style to appeal to teenagers, I found it a little bit distracting.

I also went through a period of time in the novel when I disliked Sara. She was mostly likable until she started being really into trying to fit in with the “cool” kids in her school. In my opinion, it was a little bit of a personality conflict because she was a proud nerd so it seemed, so it was kind of strange that she for a period of time, was concerned about how she was viewed by the “cool” kids – who turned out to really not be that cool at all.

I felt like the reader was supposed to really like Tobey as Sara’s boyfriend, or even just as his own character, but I really didn’t. I didn’t find Tobey overly charming at all. He seemed to only be moderately better than Sara’s ex boyfriend Dave. He was a slacker in school, and by no means was a Romeo. Personally, I wouldn’t have dated him, he seemed to do things that progressed his own agenda a lot which I didn’t like, I really wished that Sara would have met someone who had similar goals and dreams as her in regards to school.


Though there were some aspects of the novel that I disliked, I would still recommend it for anyone who is looking for a fast-paced summer chick lit novel. Some parts of the novel were really cute, and as I mentioned before, it was pretty realistic to senior year and the pressures and the anxieties that go with post-secondary applications as well as relationships! I give this novel 3/5.

Some Notable Quotes from the Novel:

“Too bad guys aren’t like Mr. Potato Head Where you can pick and choose which parts you want. Then we might come up with a guy who meets your standards.
– Maggie”

“Do you believe in fate?”
“I guess, but . . . its more about creatng the life you want so you can make that fate a reality. You know?”

“And there are a million possibilities. Like the possibility of going separate ways. Together.”

“Too bad Einstein’s dead. I’m sure he would have appreciated my latest discovery
within the space-time continuum.The closer you are to experiencing a monumental event, the longer time
stretches out.

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