Clementine's Reviews > So Much Closer

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti
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May 04, 11

bookshelves: 2011, fiction, ya
Read from April 20 to 25, 2011

Brooke has had a crush on Scott for like, forever. In a total Felicity-esque move, she follows Scott to New York after he moves there for his senior year of high school. Living with her distant, workaholic father is an adjustment, as is the realization that Scott may not be the boy for her after all. As Brooke adjusts to life in the city and meets new friends, she ends up on a journey of self-discovery that she didn’t know she had in her.

I’ve only read one other Susane Colasanti book, and while I didn’t love it, I was able to recognize that there were some good things present in it: she writes teenagers well, she allows her characters to be sexually active without it being THE BIGGEST DEAL IN THE WORLD, and she’s got a background as a high school teacher, which lends a certain authenticity to her stories. After finishing So Much Closer, I’m sorry to say that I’m still not a die-hard fan of Colasanti’s work, and that many of the issues I had with When It Happens apply to this book as well.

The problem for me begins with the fact that Colasanti’s novel is based on a premise that is dubious at best. The idea of a girl uprooting her entire life to follow her crush to a new city at the beginning of her senior year is problematic on its own, but it’s made worse by the fact that she’s so adamant about the move not being about the boy: Brooke reiterates that she wants to reconnect with her estranged father, that she wants to be challenged in school, that she wants to experience a different city, etc. None of this rings remotely true.

Perhaps the biggest problem, though, was the character of Brooke herself. I struggled with Brooke’s characterization simply because it wasn’t consistent. She is supposed to be extremely intelligent, having tested at genius levels, but she continually makes iffy decisions about school, her life, and the people around her. Nothing about her thought process nor her observations about the world around her strike me as particularly savvy or smart, let alone REALLY intelligent. Part of this can be chalked up to Brooke being seventeen and not having it all figured out yet, but there wasn’t any evidence behind the pronouncement of Brooke’s genius, and that made it difficult to believe.

I also struggled with the supposed allure of Scott. Even though I liked the way that Brooke acknowledged the fact that they didn’t have much in common except for chemistry, Scott was so boring from the beginning that I couldn’t bring myself to care about him. Like some other reviewers, the character of John was the clear crushworthy choice, and I enjoyed his funny, often manic personality.

The story is at its strongest when showcasing the city of New York. Colasanti lives in NYC and it’s clear that she has enormous love and respect for the city. The scenes where Brooke is exploring the city are the scenes that are the most alive. These are the moments that make the more dubious aspects of the book worth it.

Fans of Colasanti’s other works will probably enjoy her latest offering. It’s a fun, light read, perfect for summer. There’s a lot of potential present in the book, but unfortunately Colasanti never goes deeper than surface level.

So Much Closer by Susane Colasanti. Viking: 2011. ARC via Librarything.
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