Title: The Infinite Moment of Us
Author: Lauren Myracle
Genre: YA Fiction
Published: August 2013, Harry N. Abrams
Main Characters: Wren, Charlie, Tessa, P.G., Starrla
Synopsis: Charlie is in love with Wren, but up until today, she didn’t know he existed. Wren has been too focused on being perfect for her parents– perfect grades, perfect career path, perfect lack of boyfriends. Is she willing to throw it all away for Charlie? Is he willing to do the same for her?
- She waved at him and smiled, and relief rippled across his features. Immediately he soothed his expression, but she’d seen, for a second, what he really felt. She had the strangest urge to go to him and say, No. Please. Sometimes the things we hide– aren’t they the parts of us that matter most?
- He replied in his lowest, most serious voice: “I don’t make promises I don’t mean.”
- She let go of him, and he missed her touch. She turned her back to him and stared up at the sky. Night had fallen, and the first stars had winked their way into existence, twinkling against a palette of inky purples, deep reds, and one last slice of pearly, light-infused blue. It was a blue that reminded Charlie of the ocean, or of pictures of the ocean. He’d never been. He wondered what Wren saw.
- “Oh,” Tessa said. “You’re jealous.”
“Am I? Ugh, I guess I am, but only when he picks them over me. But that’s dumb. I know.”
“I didn’t say it was dumb,” Tessa said. “It’s what you feel, and guess what? Feelings are like three-year-olds. They’re not rational. They’re just there.”
- How could she be his everything if she, herself, wasn’t enough?
Review: Let me preface this by stating that the only reason I ever put this book down was because it was 4:30am and I literally couldn’t hold the book anymore, let alone keep my eyelids up. But I promptly finished it the next morning (okay, afternoon), before I even rolled out of bed.
I completely enjoyed this book, and it was quite refreshing after the travesty that was the last book I reviewed.
Wren and Charlie fall in love really fast, and and not unrealistically. They’re both young and it’s the first experience of love for both of them. Naturally, that love is also peppered with insecurities. Like any teenage female, Wren struggles with the idea that Charlie could possibly like her over someone, anything else, especially when that someone is the too-attractive Starrla. Charlie’s troubled past and reluctance to share it with Wren isn’t helping those insecurities fade.
Wren is a character that’s very easy for me to identify with. From our insecurities to our thirst for knowledge to our ideas about gun control (“her solution to gun violence would be to make all guns everywhere disappear”), she could be me in a parallel universe.
Wren is an only child, and as such, she’s been spoiled rotten by her parents. They’re not especially rich, but they’ve spoiled her in attention. Naturally, as one is wont to do, you grow out of needing that level of attention, and sometimes the parents just can’t understand why. Wren has reached that point. She wants to live her own life. She doesn’t want her parents to live another life vicariously through her. Understandable, right? Wren has been accepted into the college her mother works at, to pursue the career they want her to do, and they bought her a car (for which her mother wrangled special freshman “car on campus” privileges). But Wren… doesn’t actually want to go there. So she defers her enrollment, deciding to sign up for Project Unity instead (which is like a less-intensive version of the Peace Corps).
The catch? She doesn’t tell her parents she’s done any of that.
Charlie, on the other hand, grew up in the system. The System. Capital T, capital S. He was a foster child. Somewhere along the way, though, he was picked up by Pamela and Chris, and they have treated him well. Treated him as their own. Sometimes Charlie still can’t wrap his head around it, though, drawing on his past experiences with other foster families, knowing it has to go sour at some point. He found asylum as a young teen in Starrla, another broken person, someone who could actually understand what Charlie was going through. It wasn’t love, but it was… something.
Wren and Charlie… their souls touch. They’re truly in love, something neither of them have experienced before. It’s a whole lot of firsts between them, though maybe not the same ones.
The only thing I didn’t like about this book was the ending, really. I was a bit confused, because for all intents and purposes, it looked like she had decided to stay and he had decided to go, so they were going to miss each other by a matter of minutes.
My favorite part of the book, though, is when Wren has decided that love isn’t worth the pain, and she’s going to cut off her nose to spite her face, basically.
“Well … I guess I just realized how hopeless it all was,” she heard herself say. “Love. Relationships. Being with Charlie.”
“Being with Charlie is hopeless?” Tessa said. “Why?”
“It was hopeless from the beginning,” Wren said. “I just convinced myself it wasn’t. I convinced myself that because we loved each other, we should be together, when really, what is love? It’s not something you can prove, is it?”
“Oh, okay,” Tessa said, cocking her head. “Is this because of Starrla? Because of what she said about Charlie?”
Yes, thought Wren. Because he told her, but he didn’t tell me. Because he was afraid to tell me, because he knew it would upset me. Because it has upset me.
“I’m not good enough for him,” she whispered. “His problems are always going to be bigger than mine.”
“So, what, you’re cutting him off like… like a tag on a piece of clothing? Something you can just throw away?”
Wren shrugged. It was easier not feeling things. “There’s no room for me.”
“Wren. You’re being ridiculous.”
“You’re hurting him, and you’re hurting yourself.”
This excerpt hits home a little bit for me. I tend to do this, all the time. “It’s easier not feeling things.” Every time I develop feelings for someone… the instant I realize it’s happening, I shut it down. There’s no point, I tell myself. They’re not going to like me anyway, so I might as well flip the switch and save myself the trouble of getting hurt somewhere down the line. “I have to learn not to need people,” Wren says. She and I, we’re the exact opposite of risk-takers, building up the walls that we have no intention of scaling.
At any rate, this is a fabulous tale of love, insecurity, and figuring out that real relationships do actually take work.