Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Date Published: December 5th 2011
Genres: Adolescence, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Parents, Social Issues, Young Adult
Description: Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off.
Garden State meets Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist in this funny and poignant illustrated novel about opposites who fall in love.
Evan and Lucy are friends who have grown up together. At least until Lucy moves after her parents divorce. And now, the two friends only see each other during Christmas break. But this year, Lucy has changed from the girl next door to a goth next door, with black hair, loads of eye makeup, and a sullen attitude. Evan even starts calling her New Lucy(TM), at least in his mind. And yes, with the Trademark symbol, which I found rather humorous. Evan vows to figure out what is wrong with Lucy, and to fix her before she leaves again.
Evan is definitely the boy next door type. Destined for an Ivy League college. Valedictorian of his high school. But he’s also an artist trying to reconcile his own wishes for his future with those of his parents. I can empathize with Evan and the decisions he needs to make. The practical side needing to be a lawyer or doctor. The artistic side wanting to draw and say sod it all. Lucy has messed up everything in her life. Her mother kicked her out. Her boyfriend is a disaster. She’s been drinking and partying. Her grades are in the toilet. She doesn’t have any of the plans most seniors in high school are starting to make for after high school. And being with Evan makes her problems seem even worse, with his “perfect life”. I think, in the end, though, that Evan and Lucy bring out the best in each other. Lucy helps Evan see that he needs to make decisions for himself, not for his parents. And Evan helps Lucy see that she needs to get her life together and make some sort of plans for the future.
We don’t complete each other – no two people do. We just highlight what’s missing. We’re just two incomplete people.
I’d also like to give a shout out to Evan’s Gram. She’s hilarious. And has the wisdom of her age and experience to guide Evan and Lucy along their individual paths.
They [Evan’s parents] want for you what worked for them. But they aren’t in tune with what’s going to work for you. and that’s what happens when you go away to school – you leave your family and you find your own path …
Winter Town is split into two sections, both told from third person. The first half is from Evan’s point of view. The second half is from Lucy’s. What’s great about this switch in point of view is that the reader develops insight into both main characters. What’s not so great is that I missed Evan’s point of view in the second half of the story. I don’t know if alternating chapters would have worked here, especially not retelling the same scenes from differing points of view. But I would really have liked to know what Evan was thinking or feeling during this part of the story.
One of the highlights of reading Winter Town were Evan’s interspersed cartoons. Evan and Lucy have been writing the same story since they were kids. They pass the panels back and forth, each writing a panel to continue the story. I really enjoyed the panels, and I’m not usually into graphic novels. The drawings enhanced the reading experience for me.
Overall, I enjoyed Winter Town. It wasn’t all action-y or fast-pasted. And I don’t know if I would have discovered it without it being a book club choice. But I wouldn’t hesitate recommending it to readers who enjoy YA. But be sure to pick up the book for the pictures!