Book Review: When it Happens by Susane Colasanti

when it happens

Everyone wants to find “the one.” And when you finally do find them, everything starts to feel right. Even when things aren’t great or perfect, everything seems to have a bright side when you have your one by your side. And these are the exact feelings this cute little book encompasses through the alternating voices of Tobey and Sara – two high school seniors who are just trying to find something real.


Sara and Tobey are on complete opposite sides of the spectrum – she’s a straight A student trying to get into her first choice college while he’s not worried about college at all. He just wants to win Battle of the Bands. But who ever said that opposites don’t attract? So, when Tobey sees that Sara is falling for a complete jerk of a guy who cares nothing about her, he decides their senior year is finally the time to make her fall for him the way he’s fallen for her.

The High School Experience

Cool kids. Nerds. Jocks. Geeks. These labels are what high school is all about. And don’t think they are left out of this book at all. They’re very prominent points. They add to the realism of the book with the drama and tension that you find present in every high school out there. And just like in a real high school, they tend to dictate who you date and who you don’t, who you hang with and who you don’t.

So, when Sara and Tobey are portrayed as opposite sides of the spectrum, it’s surprising that Tobey does everything in his power to work against all the odds to be with Sara. But aren’t these the couples that people honestly root for in real life?

Reviewer’s Thoughts

I really liked this book. It took me back to my own high school days when things were all about trying to keep my grades up and finding the right guy to be with. I can really relate to Sara – I see a lot of my own personal character traits in her. Tobey and Sara’s love seems incredibly sweet and real. They work through a lot to make things work just like anyone would do when they find “the one.” It’s hard not to root for them.

I also loved how the story was told in alternating voices. I’ve always loved books that do this. So, this was a big plus for me. It makes the characters seem more realistic to me when you can really delve into their thoughts and get their full point-of-view.

My only complaint about this book is that a few of the issues that were addressed on both Tobey and Sara’s side of the story seemed so petty that they were almost like middle school drama. I know looking back at my own high school years, there was a lot of petty drama – but it was at least age appropriate drama. Some of the book drama and problems just seemed like stuff that I remember happening in middle school compared to high school. But this is my one and only complaint against the book.

So, given that, I give When it Happens by Susane Colasanti 4.5 out of 5 stars.


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