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The Big Crunch

3.54  ·  Rating details ·  1,906 ratings  ·  324 reviews

A funny, clear-eyed view of the realities of teenage love from National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.

Jen and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.

This is not that kind of love story.

Instead, they just hang around in

Hardcover, 288 pages
Published April 1st 2011 by Scholastic Press
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Average rating 3.54  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,906 ratings  ·  324 reviews

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Jennifer Rayment
Mar 03, 2011 rated it really liked it

The Good Stuff

* Lovely realistic tale of first love
* very honest simple and so real, author knows and understands the up and down emotions of teens. Really brought me to my teen years & made me feel almost nostalgic
* poignant and beautifully written
* Teens trying to find their place in life, bumping around aimless at times and making stupid decisions -- yup pretty damn realistic from my memories
* Delightful quirky humour
* Although there was very little excitement, I just couldn't put the b
Mar 05, 2011 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: authentic and typical
Shelves: ya
Sidenote: The front flap copy refers to the main female character as Jen. Repeatedly. Her name is June. Not once is she called Jen. Oops.

This is sort of like that movie 500 Days of Summer. There seems to be a whole lotta "unconventional" love stories coming through the pipeline these days. But, although this one is tagged as one of those "This is not a love story" love is. Just because it's not love at first sight doesn't mean it's not conventional.

I sound antagonistic, but I'm real
Nov 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The first time Wes meets June, he thinks her mouth is too wide and her eyes are too far apart. June, in return, thinks his hair is shaggy. It would seem these two were not meant to be together right from the start. And yet, against all odds, their paths continue to cross. Thus begins a romance where nothing is easy to explain or simple to figure out. Navigating through friends, family, and their own heads, Wes and June fumble towards a unique happy ending.

Wow, this book was incredible. It's funn
Nov 30, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: teen-fic, high-school
Firstly: June. June, June, June. What is your deal, June? You're all hating the moving and then you're all falling in love and then you're all screwing things up.

And what was it about everyone not calling people back in this book? Every time I turned the page, someone was calling someone, looking at the caller ID, and ignoring the call. Or hanging up on each other! And then after they hung up on each other they would text each other. Society, I'm sad about you if this is what we're doing now.

Mimi Jazman
Feb 08, 2016 rated it did not like it
The reason I picked up the book is just because of the cover. It has a pretty cover and that's all. I'm so sorry but, this is not a book that I will pick up for myself. But, if you really like some YA fiction with not too much romance in it, this might be the right book for you.

The story is about two students that go to the same school. The girl just moved to the neighbourhood while the guy, who has been raised in the neighbourhood, just broke up with his girlfriend. And I bet you can guess what
Mar 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen, romantic, real, boy
Man, can Pete Hautman write accurately about what it's like to be a teen! The one drawback to this book, and the reason I didn't give it 5 stars, is that it's so realistic that it may not stand out in a world where everything is turned up to 11. I hesitate to call this book a "romance" because it implies sweeping emotions and insurmountable obstacles and dramatic climaxes. But the emotions in the book are quite sweeping--they sweep up Wes and June in ways that confuse and frighten them. And ther ...more
May 05, 2012 rated it it was ok
The jacket of this book describes it as “a love story for people not particularly biased towards romance.” The novel follows two teenagers — June, the daughter of a consultant who is always on the move, and has learned to keep herself disconnected in each new place; and Wes, a “semi-cool semi-geek” who lives in the little Minnesota town to which June’s family has recently relocated. On the first few days of school, June goes through the usual motions of trying to find a couple of decent girls an ...more
How to describe The Big Crunch? Well, I'd liken it to a rather nice stroll through the park - nothing extraordinary or supernatural, but sometimes normal and sweet is a welcome change from all the vampires and zombies and smoldering eyes. The pacing seemed a little slow, especially at first when Wes and June go about their separate lives in the same high school bubble. They'd brush against each other every so often, but drift apart again without more than a backwards glance. When they finally "c ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sydney   LaForest
Mar 06, 2011 rated it liked it
What I really liked about this book;;
• The characters. They were all really real and relatable, not blown-out-of-proportion and overly perfect like in a lot of YA books with a romance. Wes and June were really likable, which is one of the reasons I kept reading. They had their flaws, and that just made me like them all the more.
• The relationship between Wes and June. Unlike sooo many YA books you see, this book didn't use the cliche "boy/girl of my dreams... literally" or "instantaneous, deep,
Sab H.  (YA Bliss)
Aug 29, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: own, own-arc, vine
I love realistic and romantic fiction. This would have been a wonderful story for me to read. In fact, I even liked the story. But, imagine for a moment a fresh teen romance story that you were so eager to read... Now imagine that story being told by a ROBOT.

I could not tolerate the third person distant weird storytelling. It drove me nuts. I felt like my 5 years old daughter was methodically telling me what happened in a movie. It was just so emotionless, dull and utterly frustrating narration
Sep 03, 2011 rated it it was ok
Hauptman's romance novel was quite a disappointment to me. There was a lot of narrative; emphasizing the third person point of view. As a result, I felt bogged down as I read. The entire first half was very slow-paced and tedious; not to mention whoever designed the cover told the entire story in just four panels. I never felt any empathy nor did I relate to any of the major or minor characters. They all felt stilted, stereotypical, and forced. The latter half of the book had some innovative act ...more
Wandering Librarians
June and Wes do not fall in love at first sight. They do not think it's destiny they met. They hardly even noticed each other at first, and then Jen starts dating one of Wes' friends. June and Wes do finally find each other, but it's right before June learns that she's moving. Again. And that's a problem, because June has been taught to sever all connections every time she moves.

This was a thoughtful book and one I enjoyed reading. I certainly appreciated there was no eye contact from across and
Aug 25, 2010 rated it it was amazing
June moves around a lot due to her parents business. Her parents help companies come up out of the red, and then they move on to the next hurting company. So June winds up in Minnesota. Wes just broke up with his girlfriend of nearly 18 months, because he just needed some time to be himself. Then Wes sees June. The connection is not really instant. Wes can only really recall her aqua colored eyes. As they glimpse at each other more and more, and eventually have a conversation though, something d ...more
Feb 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Big Crunch is a story I think most people can relate to. It shows how you don't choose who you fall for, and that sometimes you can't even control the situations around you. One of the main characters, June, moves around a lot, so she usually keeps her distance and she goes for guys that she knows she won't get too attached too. She usually even ends up with similar friends in each school that she goes to. I've honestly never had to move, I went to the same Elementary School from Kindergarte ...more
Liz at Midnight Bloom Reads
Jan 28, 2011 rated it really liked it
The Big Crunch is one of the most sincere and realistic contemporary reads I've ever read. For sure, this is a romance novel... but it's not in a way that the two characters feel an instantaneous attraction and fall head-over-heels in love at first sight. No, this was an everyday story that I think anyone could relate with... and that's the aspect I thoroughly enjoyed while reading this novel.

On the first day of junior year, Wes surveys his classmates in his language arts class only to briefly p
Jan 09, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: romance, young-adult
If you’ve ever wanted to read a romantic story featuring two completely normal, well-adjusted people, look no further because this is the book for you. Wes and June are average suburban middle-class teenagers; they don’t have any dark secrets, troubled pasts, abusive families, addictions, jealous exes, or any of the other Big Problems™ that are typical of so many YA and adult romances (even their parents are still happily married). Neither is really looking for a relationship when they first mee ...more
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Allison *bookishinmpls* Bailey
I decided to read this book after reading a stellar review on a magazine website (the name of which I can't remember). I had never heard of it before, but it sounded like a fun change from my usual reading. The Big Crunch is the story of two high school students: June, whose family moves about every six months because of her father's job, and Wes, who has just broken up with his first girlfriend. This story does a great job of avoiding cliches or current trends- Wes is not mesmerized or filled w ...more
Aug 26, 2011 rated it liked it
June has grown up in a thousand different cities thanks to her dad's job, but has always been able to move on to the next one. Things change though when her family has a stint in Minnesota and she meets Wes, a boy her age just getting over a past relationship. The Big Crunch ends up being a realistic tale of boy meets girl without the movie magic, telling the story of two teens as they try to deal with their feelings for each other in a not so perfect situation.

As I alluded to in the summary, th
Feb 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: teen
Pete Hautman is a Lake Wobegon Minnesotan like me and he's a funny thoughtful guy as a public speaker so when I saw that this book was up for an award today I grabbed it and finished it in a day. The book is billed as being an atypical romance novel. Wes and June are juniors in high school. Wes has just ended a serious relationship with his girlfriend Izzy and he's disjointed. June has a nomadic lifestyle because of her dad's job so she's used to changing schools frequently and deals by being de ...more
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by LadyJay for

The first time Wes saw June, fireworks definitely did not go off. He thought her greenish-blue eyes were set too far apart, and her hair looked as though she had stepped right out of the shower. June resembled a sea-creature, and not in a mermaid-like way.

He started calling her Aqua Girl, and eventually all Wes wanted was for June to be his.

Their affair is tumultuous, just like most teenagers in the throes of first love. Wes soon discovers that his relatio
Lindsay Hunter
Dec 14, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-young-adult
Wes & June are your typical teenagers. They aren't vampires, werewolves, angels or anything else beautiful & supernatural. They are just trying to survive high school & figure out who they are & where they belong. When they first meet, they don't even like each other very much. Wes thinks June is funny looking & June doesn't really even notice Wes, they just orbit one another’s worlds until they eventually collide (literally) and they fall in love. There is no love at first sight, no gushiness t ...more
Aug 25, 2010 rated it really liked it
This book is one of the more realistic teenage romances I have read. There's no sweeping, swoon-worthy instant attraction. Nope, June and Wes fall for each other in the more traditional everyday way. Sometimes its nice to break from the supernatural attractions and read something true and Hautman has given us a chance to do just that with The Big Crunch.

This book was a fun, quick read full of intelligent and entertaining characters. June and Wes were both really fun. You get to read about them i
Feb 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I read this book in about 5 hours. I couldn't put it down! I think Hautman is a magnificently candid writer. I love how he crafts a story and builds his characters. I've read reviews where readers think Hautman's books offer little plot, but the journey his characters travel while their lives intertwine is truly remarkable. To captivate an audience through the interactions between characters rather than the places they go or the things they do is highly creative. "The Big Crunch" made me laugh o ...more
Apr 20, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I've been looking for a copy of The Big Crunch by Pete Hautman for so long that I was so overjoyed when I found one and bought it right away - regardless how much it cost (it was pretty expensive). Fortunately, I was spared from regretting the purchase. The story contained within this book was worth every penny I paid for it; even though this is mainly a very light read, it had a lot of great moments and I loved that the romantic angle was uniquely executed. The characters were the type you woul ...more
Sep 16, 2012 rated it really liked it
‘The Big Crunch’ is a two hundred and eighty-eight paged young adult romance novel by award winning author, Pete Hautman. It follows two high school juniors – June Edberg, a girl who recently moved to Minnesota because of her father’s job from Chicago and, and Wes Andrews, a confused guy. When they first meet things seem off and Wes isn’t able to figure out whether he likes June or is plain freaked out by her! As time goes on the two find them-selves falling in love, until Jane is forced to move ...more
May 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
God this was just the one of the most incredible match. Mumbai Indians played just like the Netherlands and win the unwinnable match. This somewhat lessen the awfullness of reading this boring predictable book.

You know what will happen in the end by just looking the book cover. And nothing interesting happens in-between. The only time i enjoyed reading it when the girl was leaving and i was just hoping maybe they will forget each other and move on.

Oh well, hopefully next one will be better.

Mar 07, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: chick-lit
I loved it when I finished it last night, but now I look back at the plot and it was mediocre. It was merely a piecing together of random events that just happened to be about the same peope. Sure, the romance was cute and somewhat interesting, but the fact that it wasn't a normal love story is not true. Really, what is a normal love story? There'snothing normal about love. Someone else has commented on this 'strange' love story and I totally agree. Also, whoever said that on the inside front co ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it
I'd like to create a new sub-genre: Melina Marchetta Lite.

I liked this because it was a pretty realistic read about just a girl and a guy liking each other bordering on life changing love, and those feelings that go with it.

Not at all over the top with the romance, not too exciting either. But not cheesy, silly or unrealistically fake.

I would say this is not for everyone. It's not terribly exciting either, very little drama, no huge climactic event that changes the course of the characters.

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Pete Hautman is the author of Godless, which won the National Book Award, and many other critically acclaimed books for teens and adults, including Blank Confession, All-In, Rash, No Limit, and Invisible. Mr. Was was nominated for an Edgar Award by the Mystery Writers of America. Pete lives in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Visit him at

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