Monday, July 30, 2012

Review: What Happens Here by Tara Altebrando

Tara Altebrando is an author that Sara Zarr has mentioned liking, so I've managed to acquire a few books of hers over the years. When I was going through books I had in storage (by the way if you have to put books in storage, I really just recommend getting rid of some instead, it's not like you are every going to be able to catch up on reading you know what I mean?) I came across this one and decided to read it.

I liked this book a lot because it's about friendship and growing up even more than it's about grief. I's kind of, in a way, about the grief associated with growing up. But I'm getting way ahead of myself so.

I like books that utilize a sense of place, where the setting is important to the story, affects the characters, plays a role in the plot, and that definitely happens in this book. Chloe and Lindsay are best friends growing up in Vegas and they have these really big plans to one day travel the world together. But then Chloe's parents plan a trip to Europe and Lindsay's parents forbid her from growing. And this creates a bigger divide between the girls between what they've done and haven't done since Chloe also was the first to "go to Vegas" a phrase she and Lindsay used for losing their virginity. They get in a big fight before Chloe goes to Europe over Lindsay's plans for while Chloe is away and well....while Chloe is away having a fabulous time, tragedy strikes.

Chloe has a lot to sort through with her memories, how she found about Lindsay, her feelings for Lindsay's brother, and maybe even trying to solve Lindsay's murder. And while yes she's grieving, there's a lot of reflection on their friendship as well, really honest reflection about how maybe they were growing apart and having different interests and getting to a place in their lives where they no longer shared everything and that was where some of their fights were coming from and that was part of growing up.

I loved how perceptive the book was, thoughtful, tackling even little things like Chloe's rage over people saying Lindsay was asking for the crime based on how she was dressed and then struggling with feelings of blaming her for it as well. And how complicated friendship can be, how there can be a sense of possessiveness, jealousy, and fear when you start to grow apart, and how hard it is to be able to tell what's real and to wonder where God is and where justice is. There's this whole thing, too, where they have a third friend, someone to bear witness to their friendship and how silly the idea is overall.

And of course, the courage to truly live comes into play as well. It's a nice and thoughtful book, and despite my description, not too gloomy!

Rating: 4.25/5
Things You Might Want to Know: Profanity
Source of Book: bought at a book sale!
Publisher: MTV Books (Simon & Schuster)


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