The Story of Us

 
Well-written romance about teen accepting change.

What parents need to know

Educational value

This romantic teen read has enough philosophical musing to get teens' brains working on topics like fear and acceptance.

Positive messages

There's a message here 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."

Positive role models

Cricket's family, including her mother, brother and faithful dog, are a loving unit. They've stuck it out together through some tough times -- often laughing along the way.

Violence

Though her parents are divorced, Cricket's dad hit her mom when they were married and was a threatening presence afterward.

Sex

Cricket has sex with her boyfriend, who's a few years older. They're in a committed relationship, talk about it first, and buy condoms together. Their first time is described in some detail. After they break up, she meets -- and kisses -- another boy. Other teens are caught partially dressed.

Language

Mature language includes a few uses of "damn," "pissed," "goddamnit," "God," "crap," "s--t," and some variations of "f--k."

Consumerism

Brand names mentioned include BMW, Costco, American Girl, Cheerios, Skittles, Starbucks, McDonald's, Ultrabright, Coke, 76, REI, and Xbox.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

The inn owner smokes marijuana, and the characters -- including teen characters -- drink. There's a party where the main character gets drunk.

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."

Kids say

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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?

QUALITY
 

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."

Families can talk 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?

Book details

Author:Deb Caletti
Genre:Coming of Age
Book type:Fiction
Publisher:Simon Pulse
Publication date:April 24, 2012
Number of pages:400
Publisher's recommended age(s):12 - 17

This review of The Story of Us was written by

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Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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Parent Written bymasaxo April 27, 2012
age 15+
 

romance

This story is good i like its romance and has nothing wrong with it
What other families should know
Great messages

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