The Infinite Moment of Us – Lauren Myracle

The Infinite Moment of Us – Lauren MyracleTitle: The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle
Publishing Info: August 27, 2013 by Abrams
Source: BEA 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Find it on the web: Buy from Amazon // Goodreads
Date Completed: July 31, 2013

    For as long as she can remember, Wren Gray’s goal has been to please her parents. But as high school graduation nears, so does an uncomfortable realization: Pleasing her parents once overlapped with pleasing herself, but now... not so much. Wren needs to honor her own desires, but how can she if she doesn’t even know what they are?
    Charlie Parker, on the other hand, is painfully aware of his heart’s desire. A gentle boy with a troubled past, Charlie has loved Wren since the day he first saw her. But a girl like Wren would never fall for a guy like Charlie—at least not the sort of guy Charlie believes himself to be.
    And yet certain things are written in the stars. And in the summer after high school, Wren and Charlie’s souls will collide. But souls are complicated, as are the bodies that house them...

bookreview1When I first read the summary for THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US, I thought this would totally be a “me” book. It sounded like I shared a lot of things with Wren — not only in high school, but in present day as well. (Hell, I’m still trying to please my parents. I don’t think that will ever go away.) Add a love story with a “meant to be” aspect and I was totally jumping up and down for this one! Once I started reading, however, I wasn’t quite sure that this was what I expected it to be.

I could identify with Wren in regards to her parents — She wants to live up to their expectations and she’s always been a “good” kid. That totally was and always has been me… But Wren’s parents felt a little too harsh for me, to the point that Wren’s mom is telling Wren that she likes a certain kind of juice, Wren tells herself in her head that she never liked that kind of juice, and drinks it anyway. That just kind of threw up a red flag for me because not only are Wren’s parents forceful and overbearing, but clearly Wren doesn’t ever take the time or the courage to stand up for herself with even the smallest things and that really bothered me. Wren and I weren’t off to a great start.
Gosh, I can’t remember who it was (and please remind me if you see this, you lovely blogger, you) but I wholeheartedly agreed with her that I don’t like reading about a goody-goody and that’s kind of what I felt Wren to be. She was a good kid because she wanted to be, yes, but it was just a little too far for my tastes because I feel like she was doing things JUST to please her parents and never doing a single thing for herself. That’s just no way to live and it actually made me mad that she was doing that.

I tried to let it go and just let myself fall into the story but the dialogue and Lauren Myracle’s unique and creative writing style just weren’t sitting with me well either. On one hand, Wren and Charlie (and their friends) are very much teenagers — They joke around, try to impress one another, go to parties, and talk about their ‘first times’. But on the other hand, Wren and Charlie have incredibly deep, philosophical, and existential conversations. I understand that teens can easily be immature and mature at the same time, but the book seemed to jump from one end to the other and I didn’t feel a gentle or natural flow between these two polar opposites. The vernacular felt like that too, not just the topics of conversation. Maybe it’s just me being an old curmudgeon but I know that teenagers may use harsh words or language, but things like that don’t always read well in books. Tangent: I saw Lauren Oliver a few months ago and she made a great point that in books/TV/movies/media, the way people speak in real life is often edited out and made smoother because it’s just harsh to listen to unless you’re actually in that conversation — taking out the “ums” and the “uhs”, the cutting off sentences and backtracking and replacing harsher words with nicer ones, etc. Whenever I come across “realistic speak”, I feel like that point just gets driver further and further home because I find the “realistic speak” really hard to read.

I did like how Wren and Charlie ended up “meeting” and dating. They were two kids who went to the same high school, knew each other (in fact, Wren had a big crush on Charlie), but never really hung out before, so how special is that to see a crush blossom info a full-on relationship? I feel like too often I’ve read stories about a long-time crush seemingly turning into something and then the MC gets her heart broken or she gets humiliated. Unfortunately, I just never really fell into sync with Charlie & Wren’s relationship. I was rooting for them at first but I just never picked up on the chemistry between the two of them and with their two individual back stories, I just couldn’t help but compare it to PUSHING THE LIMITS by Katie McGarry (give or take a few plot points).

Now let’s talk about two hot-button issues: the shooting range scene and the sexual content. Firstly, I actually appreciated seeing the characters handling firearms safely and that it was a big concern of P.G.’s that everyone do things appropriately and safely. I was happy to see guns NOT involved in a book as part of gun violence, but on the other side, I also agree with Christina that I’m not sure why that scene was relevant in the book at all except to make a statement… Maybe that was a way for Wren to try something for the first time that her parents wouldn’t approve of in a different and safe space? She had already made her decision to go to Guatemala though, so that just didn’t seem necessary to the book, in my opinion.
Now the sex part… Lauren Myracle does have a whole foreword as a kind of forewarning and explanation — She wanted the book to be realistic and she didn’t want to shy away from the details just because it’s a young adult novel, and I can totally support her on that. I’m just not sure I liked the details that were included in the book. I feel like a very inexperience teenager like Wren would probably have overlooked some of the specifics included and instead described… different things (hey, I’m not going to go into the details myself haha). I can only speak from the things my friends and I have talked about throughout the years (which hey, we’re girls… We talk about a LOT of things) and it just didn’t feel true to who Wren was — in spirit or in experience level. We had a whole discussion with this through email with all the Selective Collective ladies since we featured THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US this month, and that seemed to be a general consensus from a range of 20s – 40s in age (although I guess we’re missing the actual teen opinion haha).

I guess THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US just turned out not to be a “me” book. I didn’t quite pick up on the relationship like I’d hoped and there were quite a few points that turned me off. I did like some small things here and there but it just wasn’t enough for me to come out with a really good opinion of the book overall and unfortunately this is one of those books that the more I sit on it and think about it, the more I find that I was upset with. I actually found myself rushing through the end of the book because my connection with these characters had just waned and with the abrupt ending of the book, I felt jolted and unsatisfied.

character_breakdown1

Wren // Character Obsessions: Walking on eggshells with her parents, Guatemala, Charlie, finding her true path.
I really wanted to relate to Wren and to feel like we had travelled down similar paths, but the more I read, the less I found in common with her. I was frustrated that she wouldn’t stand up for herself and then the first time she does, it’s a HUGE life decision and an immense change. I felt like her relationship with Charlie was clingy, which true, I’m sure I had quite a few clingy relationships in my teen years, but sometimes that’s just really hard to read. Again, not necessarily a character issue, but more like I was seeing things I didn’t like seeing in “past-me” so it just makes it hard to read sometimes.
Charlie // Character Obsessions: His family, his brother, Wren.
Charlie wasn’t really swoony for me. He actually reminded me too much of Noah from PUSHING THE LIMITS which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but he also didn’t feel like his own character within my own thought process. Again, a me issue, but what can you do.
addiction_factor1

Kept Me Hooked On: The strength of love. I love a good “we’re-in-love-and-nothing-can-change-that” story. When either Wren or Charlie screwed up, it absolutely killed them inside and I think that’s a true tell not of guilt, but of missing someone that much or hurting so badly because you know you’ve wronged them.
Left Me Wanting More: Connectivity. I just didn’t quite connect with Wren or Charlie individually and I think that prevented me from connecting with their relationship. I’m not sure what it was, but I just never quite made it there.

Addiction Rating
THINK ON IT.

I know there are some good, solid positive opinions on this one, a lot of middle of the road, and some negative. This is one that I’d suggest reading reviews for, trust your go-to reviewers, and think if it would be the kind of book you’d jive with or if you’d find the same issues as others.

book_recommendations1

BOOKS LIKE THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US     

Pushing the Limits       The Sea of Tranquility

8 thoughts on “The Infinite Moment of Us – Lauren Myracle

  1. Amanda

    I’ve seen this book all over goodreads! I’ve seen opinions all over the spectrum so I’ll have to read it for myself 🙂 I need to go to BEA next year!

  2. Sam @ Realm of Fiction

    That’s a really good point about realistic dialogue. I.e. with all the interruptions and pauses and umming and ahhing, I agree that it can be hard to read. And not many authors could probably pull it off either. I’m really quite unsure about this one now! Most of the reviews that I’ve read have been pretty lukewarm, and I don’t really want to waste my time if it’s not going to totally impress. Hmm. I guess I’ll think about it. Thanks for the review!

  3. DannyBookworm

    Oh what a fantastic review! Seriously, I love your review, even though I ended up loving the book. But you are right sometimes you must to just “click” with a book and sadly you didn’t. Still, I especially loved the romance and love between them and just as you said, when they screwed up, they forgave because they loved each other so much!!

  4. Eve

    This really doesn’t sound like a book I would enjoy ;/ Some teenagers always try to please their parents at one point, but Wren seems to be taking it too far. I like to connect with at least one of the main characters when I read, otherwise I can’t enjoy the book.

    Great review, though! I like your “Characters” section and how you say something about each of them. c:

  5. Maggie @ Just a Couple Pages

    I think I’m the blogger who wrote about hating do-gooders. It was in a top 10 Tuesday post about things that make me not want to pick up a book.

    When people first started reading this and posting statuses on Goodreads and reviews I felt like everything I saw was really positive and I was blown away. I tried to read this and I couldn’t make it more than 10 pages. I really dislike Lauren Myracle (for many reasons, but the fact that she does this just to be titillating rather than for the purpose of telling a story, which is what the gun scene you mentioned sounds like, drives me nuts) so it didn’t surprise me that I couldn’t get through it, but it did surprise me so that many people whose opinions I normally agree with felt so differently. But now the tide seems to be turning and, as awful as it is to say this, I kind of really like that other people aren’t really into the book!

  6. Candice

    Great review, B! I think I really did enjoy this book, but like you said… it didn’t “click” with me. And I think it’s because it wasn’t written for me. As an adult reading it, I felt a lot of weird things towards it that I’m pretty sure had I been 15 years younger, I wouldn’t have felt weird about. Things that seemed edgy and cool and “ADULT” were really just eye roll inducing to me. But as a teenager, those were the things that I felt separated childhood from adulthood.

    And the gun scene… I didn’t really GET why it was in there but I like the message it sent. I think. It was nice to see something about guns in a positive light vs a negative light.

  7. Estelle @ Rather Be Reading

    I feel like a lot of people felt this way… they thought it would be a total THEM book and then… it just wasn’t. You make some really great points here. The book doesn’t have much of a natural flow. It’s so black and white, and I think that was intentional by the author… but it just didn’t work. I’m trying to think of good first fall in love books and I can’t think of one right now… but there are ways for it to feel a bit seamless but still talk about intimacy and sex. Maybe My Life Next Door? I don’t know. Some of the writing was beautiful, but I felt so distanced even when I related to it and the sub-plot with the ex? SO SO not the right way to go. I was really intrigued by Charlie’s family dynamics. SIGH.

    Oh well, I guess they can’t all be winners, right? Great job, B!

Comments are closed.