A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The Story of Us has mature language, an abusive parent, and young couples having sex and fooling around. Main character Cricket describes both buying condoms with her boyfriend, who's a few years older, and their first time. One adult smokes marijuana, and Cricket gets drunk at a teen beach party. But in the end, the book has a sweet, philosophical message about learning to accept both the good and bad in our lives, because every story is "a line or a paragraph in our own life manuscript. At the end, a beautiful whole, where every sentence of every chapter fits."
What's the story?
Cricket isn't sure what she's going to do about her future -- regarding either college or her amazing long-term boyfriend, from whom she's taking a break. And she's worried about her mother's wedding: Not only does her mom have a history of cold feet, there are other complications, including a pair of spoiled stepsisters-to-be who don't want the marriage to happen. And then, at the romantic oceanside inn where the wedding is to take place, Cricket meets a handsome musician who offers to take her story in another direction.
Is it any good?
THE STORY OF US is a really, really full book by Deb Caletti. Among the many subplots are an abusive father; a dying dog; spoiled, sabotaging stepsisters-to-be; and even a grandfather's possible gay relationship with his golf partner. Readers will have to stick through ever-mounting insanity to get at the book's really, really good writing. But they'll find it.
There is much to love in Cricket's memories of her family's misadventures (which prove their collective strength and sweet sense of humor) -- and her memories of falling in love for the first time with a really wonderful person. Readers will also be moved by her philosophical musings as she learns to believe that no matter what happens, or what choices she makes, her story will read like "a beautiful whole, where every sentence of every chapter fits."
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about teen romances. What books or movies can you think of with romantic themes? Are these titles popular because they're fantasies -- or realistic? How does this book compare?
Cricket's letters to her ex-boyfriend have to do with dogs: "you can make so many mistakes -- they don't care. They don't judge." Why do you think the author chose to include these dog-themed letters? What do you think Cricket is trying to say about love -- and how love is different when it's between people versus pets?
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