The premise: “Good girl” Wren Gray has just done the unthinkable–she’s withdrawn from college and decided to move to Guatemala for a year, much to her controlling parents’ chagrin. Wren continues to disappoint her parents by pursuing foster kid Charlie Parker. The rest of the book chronicles their intense, confusing, and ultimately triumphant relationship.
I’ve got a few trigger authors, and Lauren Myracle is one of them. The phrase “trigger author” doesn’t denote anything bad, per se–I’ve just read a lot of their stuff and know them well enough to know they’re only okay. (My other trigger author is David Levithan. I find him consistently underwhelming. It’s a struggle.)
I’d been wanting to read The Infinite Moment of Us for a while, but was hesitant when I found out Myracle had written it. Like with Levithan, I’ve never found her particularly insightful or entertaining, so New York Times‘ description of her as “this generation’s Judy Blume” was baffling to me. (Or maybe Judy Blume is another one of my trigger authors. It’s a mystery.)
I read the book anyway, clearly. It was at the library and had a pretty cover–I couldn’t resist.
There was no epiphany–I’m still not a huge fan of Myracle’s writing–but, unlike many of her other books, this one evoked a reaction. The way Myracle addressed the confusion of adolescence, growing up, and the risk of intimacy was well-done–every page resonated . The importance of family is a common theme in her books and this book was no exception, contrasting Wren’s hyper-controlling parents with Charlie’s loving foster family.
Myracle also explored her characters’ other relationships: Wren realizes her friendship with best friend Tessa is valuable but transitory, while Charlie navigates a dysfunctional relationship with Starrla, knowing he should pull away but unsure about the timing.
The book does a pretty good job of increasing tension, though some of the conflicts come across as a little…childish? Yes, these are 18-year-olds, and I recognize some of these behaviors as (unhealthy) things I’ve done in prior relationships. In that way, the book represents the teenage experience very well. Some of the teenage navelgazing was a little irritating, but most, if not all of the conversations, were ones I could see real teenagers having. I guess I was surprised that much of the plot hinged on two teenagers’ inability to deal with minor relationship difficulties. I read YA fiction all the time, so maybe I shouldn’t feel this way? It felt more dire than other YA books I’ve read (Anna and the French Kiss comes to mind), but not as heartbreaking as others (i.e., I’ll Give You the Sun.)
Okay, fine. I cried. A lot. From page 286 to the end.
I cared about the characters. Even though I thought they were dumb at times and made terrible, terrible decisions, I cared about what happened to them, and I wanted a happy ending. One of my favorite books that I read this year (Just One Day–review forthcoming) had an ambiguous yet satisfying ending. Infinite Moment‘s ending reminded me of that, which I enjoyed. I didn’t need everything in the characters’ lives to be wrapped up; I was happy enough to know they were on the right track.
The only other aspect I wasn’t crazy about was the graphic sexuality. There are, however, only one or two sexual scenes. I know people have different opinions about sexuality in YA books, so do with that information what you will.
Even though I’ve never been crazy about Lauren Myracle–or about books that take place in the South–I would recommend this book. It’s the best one she’s written by far and will leave you crying for 31 pages.