Review: “So Much Closer” by Susane Colasanti

For the love of books

So Much Closer is Susane Colasanti’s latest effort to communicate with modern teenagers through the format they know best—their mentality and jargon.  Once again, the author takes another unique character through a meaningful odyssey, developing this into a touching coming-of-age story.  However, this time Colasanti features a small town girl who finds her roots in a big city, not her hometown.

So Much Closer focuses on trying to adjust one’s life to new changes, and this is what happens to Brooke Greene.  However, her motive for moving is Scott Abrams, not just because she’s always dreamed of living in New York City.  Brooke is determined to keep the love of her life, but her situation in her new home is completely different and more difficult than she expected.  Brooke’s estranged father, whom she hasn’t seen for years, is always absent and is a painful reminder of the past.  The novelty of life in New York City, as well as overwhelming loneliness and keeping big personal secrets, doesn’t help Brooke to fit into her new school.  Moreover, as a seventeen year-old senior, Brooke still does not know what she wants to do with her life or who she is.  How can she ever trust anyone again when even her parents have disappointed her?  Relationships are a problem for skeptical Brooke, when all she wants is to be so much closer to everything she knows and loves.

In So Much Closer, Colasanti once again gives her heroine an interest in environmentalism, which appears in most of her novels, and she also releases new artistic hobbies for her characters—in Brooke’s case, it is origami and an amazing “Wish Box.”  The issues of divorce and infidelity are brought out by the author as well, topics she addressed before (e.g. in Waiting for You).  Even though Brooke’s infatuation with Scott is so strong and is such a big part of her story, her personal problems are an even bigger part.  Energetic Sadie and quirky John are amusing characters who truly support Brooke during her stay in New York; they belong to the storyline as much as Brooke and Scott do.

Urban planning, Brooke’s future career, and New York City’s High Line park are the wonderful “green” side of So Much Closer while Brooke uncovers her talents and her true personality.  One of the best moments in the first-person narrative is when Brooke finally realizes what true love is and discovers whom she has real feelings for.  Brooke’s growth into a mature adult who understands the depth of emotional attachments is the crucial step-by-step process that unveils So Much Closer to be a straightforward, optimistic, and purposeful young adult novel.

Original review: Part 1: Environmentalism and teenage romance sustain ‘So Much Closer‘; Part 2: Environmentalism and teenage romance sustain ‘So Much Closer’, Examiner.com

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