You never forget your first love.
Juli was the best friend I never had. No, scrap that. I wish I were even related to her by blood so I’d belong in some way to the awesome Baker clan. I mean, why don’t all YA characters have a family as fun as the Bakers? Oh, Juli and I, we’d go climb the sycamore tree and watch the sun set, race on our bikes on the way to school, pet her chicks and make omelettes and pies with their eggs, discuss perpetual motion and stalking techniques, and I could give her this face every time Bryce would come round the corner.
(It could even be possible that we smell watermelons together, but of course that would’ve made me another condescending little bitch in the story so nah, I back off Bryce Loski, man.)
Oh, I would’ve taken Bryce by the collar and shake him really, really hard and shout at him for how big a jerk he was about the eggsss because No, dude, you don’t mess with my best friend like that! and Why did it even have to take a sycamore tree, a walk with granddad Chet, over 2 years waste of eggs, an awkward family dinner and a Jon Trulock for you to see Juli for the gutsy, beautiful girl she is, why?!
This story has won my heart over and over on the cuteness scale so I am even more amused at how it goes beyond sniffing watermelons, bidding on basket boys, and stealing kisses to transcend a love so innocent yet profound. What with the grand ideas of the whole being greater than the sum of its parts and of keeping an eye out for iridescence do I regret not having met my own dazzle-eyed boy when I was 7 (and unto this day, dammit). Oh god, I swooned and cried like a little schoolgirl reading this book. What? Sycamore tree plus father-daughter bond will always tug at my heartstrings!
This story has been adapted rather tastefully into a movie – one of the best film adaptations, I must say, because I couldn’t care less that I saw the movie before I read the book. It is one of those this-better-has-a-sequel kind of movies. (Heartbreakingly though, there isn’t and I hated you for one moment for that, Wendelin Van Draanen!) I let out a big heavy sigh watching the credits roll too soon and I was left in my special corner begging badly for more of Bryce-Juli cuteness as if girls with fluffy hair and boys in plaid polos weren’t cute enough. Yep, the movie is set in the 50s and I just adore the whole rockabilly scene.
There’s nothing like knowing the two sides to a story especially when either side is told in a fresh, spunky and funny voice. It was a job well done how the he-said-she-said attempt was carried out without coming off as contrived or worse, confusing. So, 5 of 5 stars to this book for turning a cliche puppy love story into a story where you care about the characters more than you intend to.