Tag Archives: The Infinite Moment of Us

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 // GoodreadsDate 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.

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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.
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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.

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BOOKS LIKE THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US     

Pushing the Limits       The Sea of Tranquility

The Selective Collective features The Infinite Moment of Us: Round Table

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The Selective Collective reads THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by LAUREN MYRACLE

The Selective Collective features THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US by LAUREN MYRACLE provided to us by Amulet Books for review and use in The Selective Collective feature!

For my part in this Selective Collective post, I got to ask some questions to the ladies of the Selective Collective and we talked about some main themes of THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US!

Before we jump in, here’s a little info on the book:

The Infinite Moment of UsPublishing Info: August 27th 2013 by Amulet Books
Source: Physical ARC provided to us by Amulet Books for review and use for the Selective Collective promotions

Book Synopsis: 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… — From Goodreads.com

ROUND TABLE: Chatting with The Selective Collective about THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US!

Wren loves both of her parents but they have extremely high expectations for her and she struggles to stand up for herself or to put herself first. Was there ever a time that you had to step out of your comfort zone to stand up for something you truly believed was best for yourself?
[Kristina – Gone Pecan] “Honestly I’m 31 and still trying to force myself to step out of my comfort zone and put myself first.  I think growing up in the VERY family oriented setting like I did was both a blessing and a curse.  I always think of them and stand up for my family (unless I’m fighting with them) and will bend over backwards to help before I do anything for myself.  So with that being said, I really don’t have a strong memory of breaking that hold they have on me but I’m still working on it!”

Wren and Charlie happen to connect and the stars align. Do you believe in soul mates or that two people can be meant for each other?
[Sandie – Teen Lit Rocks] “Wren and Charlie happen to connect and the stars align. Do you believe  in soul mates or that two people can be meant for each other? The short answer is “No.” I believe two people can have an instant connection — an overwhelming chemistry that they can both feel intensely, or a set of circumstances that threw them together in ways they wouldn’t have had they been a minute earlier or later on a given day, but I don’t think that is the only pathway to love. The idea that there is only one person “out there” for you is not something I believe. I think love is more than a feeling; it’s a choice. You can “feel” in love with lots of people before you commit to someone for the rest of your life. Most of my married friends have stories about the “one who got away” or a “big love” that occurred before they were ready for it, so they didn’t end up with the person. That doesn’t belittle the love those people share with their eventual spouses or partners, but it just shows that you can feel “meant for” another person, and things still don’t work out. When it comes to YA novels, I appreciate both the Forever Love stories, and the This Person, This Love Changed My Life, But it Will Probably End in College stories — because the latter is even likelier than the former.”
[Brittany – The Book Addict’s Guide] Hmmm. I think there was a time when I liked the idea of soul mates and two people who were just meant for each other, but after thinking about it, I can’t possibly imagine that there is only just one person for you and you have to find that person. Not to be cheesy, but this quote from Friends honestly and truly sums up my feelings on it: “I don’t believe in soulmates, and I don’t think that you & I were destined to end up together. What I do believe is that we fell in love & that we work hard for our relationship.” (Monica Gellar on Friends)

Wren has never been a bad or disobedient daughter. Do you think there’s a reason (maybe not revealed to the readers) why her parents are so hard on her?
[Diana – Teen Lit Rocks] “I think that Wren’s parents are the types of parents who project their own dreams onto their children.  Since Wren is an only child she gets a double dose of it.   It’s not to say that all parents of only children are overly strict, but since there are no other children in the family, there is no one else to deflect some of their attention and expectations.  Wren has been an obedient child and an excellent student, so her parents had no reason to ever expect anything other than compliance from her.  I think that’s why they are totally shocked by what they feel is a total betrayal of everything they have taught her.
Her parent are also controlling, however I don’t think we really know why.  It could be because there is no other child or maybe that’s just their personality.  After all, parents with multiple children could also be equally controlling of what their kids do.
As a parent of two teens I can honestly say that I would be in total shock if I found out over the summer that my child had turned down a full scholarship to a prestigious university.  I would be so disappointed; after all that’s what I hope, that my kids will go far in this world.  We all want our kids to excel in something. Whether it’s academics, the arts, or sports, it’s a natural desire for parents.  So, while I did feel that Wren’s parents should’ve been more supportive, I could kind of understand where they were coming from.”

Charlie has a complicated… “relationship” with Starrla which often causes a rift between him and Wren. Do you think he was justified in the way he handled their complicated history? If you were Charlie, was there anything you would have done differently?
[Candice – The Grown-Up YA]
“First off…. I didn’t like the way Charlie handled his relationship with Starrla period. It’s like he was just dragging her own at some points. At others, it seemed like he wouldn’t break it off completely because in an odd way she was comfortable. They had a history, yes, but it wasn’t a good one. I think he saw that but didn’t really want to cut ties because of that history. All that being said, I wish he had ended it or handled it differently. I felt like he was kind of an ass to her about it and left his ‘breaking it off’ open ended instead of a definite ‘this is over’. I know Starrla wasn’t the best character and I didn’t feel any sympathy for her (yeah I’m cold hearted), I didn’t like how Charlie treated her.”
[Brittany – The Book Addict’s Guide] “Previous relationships that are still around as friendships can be VERY tricky to handle… But I do think Charlie could have handled it a lot differently! It’s true — he and Starrla had a connection simply because they both had complicated and traumatic childhoods. It’s something that not a lot of his friends may be able to understand… But he was also clearly putting himself out there to be with Wren and I think he needed to show a little more respect for Wren’s feelings by pushing back to Starrla and having her back off. I don’t think Wren should have the right to say ‘You can’t see her anymore at all’ but Charlie has to set those boundaries so their friendship STAYS in the friend zone and Starrla doesn’t keep making moves on him.”

Wren and Charlie both grew a lot over the course of the book. What were you most impressed with regarding their changes?
[Candice – The Grown-Up YA] “I think I was most impressed with the fact that Wren stood up for herself to her parents. I think everyone goes through this moment of ‘I have to do what’s right for me’ and was happy that she was able to do this. Yes, it hurt both her and her parents, but I think in the long run it would have hurt both parties more had she just gone along with what they wanted her to do. For Charlie, though, I think his changes were more subtle. I think he saw what toxic relationships were doing to him and, because of his relationship with Wren, he wanted to begin moving away from them. I don’t think he fully changed/grew throughout the book, but rather set up a good foundation so that he could begin to change more for the better.”

Sex can often be a touchy topic in YA novels and Lauren Myracle definitely doesn’t shy away from the sensitive subjects, but she also includes a foreword to make her readers aware of this. What do you think the general expectation is for content in young adult books? Do you think there’s a certain “protocol” that authors should abide by or procedures they should follow if content may lean more towards “taboo”?
[Kristina – Gone Pecan] “I know teens have sex.  I mean, I know some of them do. . .everyone makes a personal choice so some might not be doing anything but the amount that is in books today does seem a bit much.  I know “times have changed” but even the amount isn’t as bad as how descriptive it can and does get.  Maybe its more because I’m an adult reading these books and it bothers me for young people to be doing these things but I also read YA to recommend them to my teenage niece and cousin so I can tell you I would feel extremely uncomfortable telling them to read books that have highly detailed scenes.  Every author is different and I don’t think there really should be a protocol so to speak just give fair warning for parents that maybe want to censor what their kids are reading till they get a bit older.”
[Tee – YA Crush] “I think generally most people assume that either sex will be mentioned in YA books and that, quite possibly, there may even be main characters engaging in sexual activity. I’m not sure people expect to see explicit detail though,  and so I appreciate that Myracle wrote the forward she did about the content of Infinte. At the same time, without sounding incredibly prudish, I think we need to ask ourselves why teens as young as fourteen (this book is listed as 14 and up) need such explicit sexual detail. I don’t think we should ever shy away from the subject, but I’m not sure we (at any age, really) need to know how hard someone’s nipples are or what sexual position they just tried–but maybe it’s just me. In my experience, an MC can be sexually active, it can still be a major event in her life or a regular pattern of activity for her, and that can still be portrayed in a positive light without such graphic detail. As a parent, and as an avid reader of YA, I appreciate any attempt an author or publisher makes to keep me informed about the more controversial content of a book, without confining them from sharing their story in full.”

And please don’t forget to check out the features from the other ladies in The Selective Collective! We each have a post to feature a different side of THE INFINITE MOMENT OF US so please go visit their take on the book as well!

Tee @ YA Crush  Review: The Infinite Moment of Us
Candice @ The Grown-Up YA  Taking TIMoU From Page to Screen
Diana & Sandie @ Teen Lit Rocks  Freebie! 
Daphne & Kristina @ Gone Pecan  Q&A with Lauren Myracle & Giveaway!