When It Happens

When It Happens

4.3 763
by Susane Colasanti

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Reminiscent of the movie Say Anything, a debut novel for all those searching for The One!

Sara and Tobey couldn-t be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His

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Reminiscent of the movie Say Anything, a debut novel for all those searching for The One!

Sara and Tobey couldn-t be more different. She is focused on getting into her first-choice college; he wants to win Battle of the Bands. Sara's other goal is to find true love, so when Dave, a popular jock, asks her out, she's thrilled. But then there's Tobey. His amazing blue eyes and quirky wit always creep into her thoughts. It just so happens that one of Tobey's goals is also to make Sara fall in love with him. Told in alternating points of view, Sara and Tobey's real connection will have everyone rooting for them from the minute they meet!

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Realistic dialogue, multi-layered characters, musical references and issues that matter most to teens make this story happen. Like Sarah Dessen, Colasanti knows how teens operate." —Kirkus Reviews

"It is a fully satisfying story that will please young adult readers looking for a little romance." —VOYA

Publishers Weekly
In Colasanti's sweet debut, an unlikely pair of high school seniors fall for each other, and learn to handle the ups and downs that come with love. At the start of the book, overachiever Sara starts dating popular Dave, mainly because "after being a nobody for so long, it feels awesome to be a somebody." But when she gets paired up with smart slacker musician Tobey, they instantly connect and Sara realizes true love is "finally happening." Told through the couple's alternating perspectives, the story realistically captures the thrill of first love (Sara realizes that "When I'm with Tobey, an hour seems like a second"). After finding each other, Sara and Tobey must deal with jealous exes as well as their futures (Tobey learns to study, hoping to go to the Manhattan Music Academy and be near Sara at NYU). Readers may find the plot somewhat thin, and secondary story lines remain underdeveloped (e.g., Sara's strained relationship with her mother, who was 16 when Sara was born; her friend Maggie's struggles to deal with her parents' divorce). But the book emulates the feeling that everything but the budding romance slips to the background. Even the delectably hokey scene in which Tobey wins Sara back by standing under her window, holding up his boom box over his head (like John Cusack in her favorite scene from Say Anything) is sure to make readers smile. Ages 12-up. (May) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Sara and Tobey both have goals as they enter their senior year of high school. Sara's is to make gorgeous new guy Dave her boyfriend. Tobey's is to make Sara his girlfriend. Both are looking for something deeper than the usual teen dating, and they are each surrounded with friends freely offering advice on how to reach their goals. Sara is convinced that Dave is perfect for her just as Tobey knows that Sara is "the one" for him. Sara attains her goal first only to find that Dave-a member of the popular group-is not what she thought he would be. As friends, Sara and Tobey draw closer and see each other with new eyes. Written in alternating voices, the book allows readers into the thoughts of both characters. They are sympathetic and teen readers will like them and want them to find each other. Tobey seems to be the deeper of the two and undergoes the most change as a result of the new relationship. Teen readers will enjoy the dynamics of Sara and Tobey and their friends and identify with their bantering. It is a fully satisfying story that will please young adult readers looking for a little romance. VOYA CODES: 4Q 4P S (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses; Broad general YA appeal; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12). 2006, Viking, 307p., Ages 15 to 18.
—Debbie Clifford
Children's Literature
After he asked for her phone number at the end of their junior year, Sara waited for Dave to call all summer long. Now that their senior year is beginning, Sara has made love her priority. She only hopes it is with Dave! At the same time, her classmate Tobey has set his eye on Sara. But how will slacker musician Tobey ever have a chance with the attractive class brain when popular jock Dave moves in on her from day one? Will Sara be as happy with Dave as she always expected she would be? Will Tobey's plans help him to win her interest? This hefty 300-plus-page book covers the entirety of the school year and explores the excitement of sexual awakening. Told in alternating first-person entries by Sara and Tobey, Susane Colasanti's novel is sure to appeal to teen fans of The OC and Everwood. 2006, Viking/Penguin, Ages 16 to Adult.
—Heidi Hauser Green
School Library Journal
Gr 9 Up-In the first chapter, readers find out that Sara is entering her senior year hoping that she'll find "true love." She is encouraged when Dave asks her out. He is part of the in crowd, and she begins to hang out with his friends, at the expense of her relationships with her girlfriends. Next, readers hear from Tobey. He has slept with a couple of girls, but is uncomfortable with that kind of relationship. He thinks Sara is his "real thing," and he asks her friend Laila to help him win her over. Tobey and Sara become partners in music class and find they have much in common. Dave, on the other hand, is a disappointment to her. When he pressures Sara to sleep with him, she finally realizes that she confused her attraction to his good looks and connections with honest feelings. Through alternating chapters, readers get the perspectives of Tobey and Sara about their developing relationship. The easy style of the writing reflects how teens speak, and some of the characters' language is realistically gritty. This is a fun romance with lots of dialogue that, due to the many popular-culture references, will become dated quickly.-Karen Hoth, Marathon Middle/High School, FL Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Sara is practicing creative visualization to achieve her goals during senior year; Tobey is practicing in his garage band. Sara imagines her ideal boyfriend as the popular Dave; Tobey considers giving up his slacker ways to win over Sara. In alternating voices, the teens realize that meaningless hook-ups leave them wanting "something real," which they find in each other. Although they seem to be soul mates, Sara and Tobey must overcome jealousy, lies and past sexual encounters with a maturity (and a nod to a popular '80s movie) well beyond most adolescents. Helping them along the way are sympathetic teachers, parents and friends. Realistic dialogue, multi-layered characters, musical references and issues that matter most to teens make this story happen. Like Sarah Dessen, Colasanti knows how teens operate. (Fiction. YA)

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.50(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.00(d)
HL500L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

What People are saying about this

From the Publisher
"Realistic dialogue, multi-layered characters, musical references and issues that matter most to teens make this story happen. Like Sarah Dessen, Colasanti knows how teens operate." —Kirkus Reviews

"It is a fully satisfying story that will please young adult readers looking for a little romance." —VOYA

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When It Happens 4.3 out of 5 based on 1 ratings. 763 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is one of the best books i have ever read, YES better than the twilight saga! It pulls the reader in and won't release them until they finish the book. I love the story, but i recommend it to 13+ it does have some sexual content, that should not be for under middle school students, I recommend you buy the book! its NOT a waste of money at all!
readtolive_livetoread More than 1 year ago
It's one of the best YA novels out there, and definitely the best love story next to K S Michaels. It's one of those epic ones that you don't logically think exist, and yet, can't help but hope... Tobey's the guy every girl is looking for. He's sincere and honest and sweet and just a thoroughly lovely open person. He and Sara make an unbeatable pair. While Sara and Tobey are the main focus, the other plotlines (Maggie's parents, college hunting, etc) all work effectively together. It gives the book more dimension and realism. Colasanti is a master of characterization. She manages to get into the boy's brain and perfectly capture it. Her alternation of POVs is also great, with not too many but not too few characters telling the story. One would think this would be repetitive, but I LOVED seeing the very different ways Sara and Tobey thought about the same events. Hilariousness ensues. Why is this better than other books in the romantic YA fiction genre? Because it has serious depth many of those lack. Because we get geeky characters that are really really relatable. Because it's realistic and really can happen. Because it tells a good story, but has a great moral too: Identify your dreams and then do whatever it humanly takes to make them a reality. It's not only an adorable lasting love story, but it's got much depth and other things that provide deep reflection.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
When it happens is a fictional book about teenage kids. It's a very enjoyable book and will keep you interested, especially for teens, and it's hard to do that.
The book is mostly geared towards teenage girls. It is a love story between a girl and two guys that she had to choose from. The main characters are Sara, Tobey, Dave, and Sara's best friends, Laila and Maggie. It takes place in a high school and at home with a band that Tobey is involved in. Sara also has trouble with her mother who is single and constantly changing the guys that she is in love with and takes it out on Sara.
One strength of this book is that it will keep you connected. It is not one of those boring books that you will not want to read. This is good for kids also since they are the ones who will be reading it and they will actually be able to sit down and read a book that will keep them wanting more. Sara will have to make tough decisions that are similar with what most teens are going through today.
If you want to get into an interesting book and you are a teenage girl this book will be perfect for you, will keep you interested, and may help you make some decisions that you are facing. Also, try K S Michaels, Sarah Dessen and Sara Zarr.
bookworm_95 More than 1 year ago
I picked up When it Happens by Susane Colasanti not sure if I would like it or not. It's not a paranormal romance novel (my favorite kind of novel) and was reality based (which is not something I look for in a book- I mean, my personal reason for reading is to escape reality), but I figured, it's best to step outside of my comfort zone. I wanted to try something new, and this looked interesting. When I read it I was surprised by how relatable the characters were. Most realistic teen novels are written by adults who seem to have lost exactly what it feels like to be a teenager (another reason I usually don't care for them), but this one felt very relatable. I myself am a nerd, and Sara seemed like a real person to me. The dialogue and writing wasn't forced, and I found myself fighting to put it down for dinner. As for the story itself...We have two main characters in this novel, whose prospectives go back and forth. Their names (if you haven't already read the description of the book) are Sara Tyler and Tobey Beller. Sara is considered a nerd, while Tobey is considered a slacker, and Sara has big plans for her future, while Tobey doesn't really have anything in mind. These characters seem like many of the people I currently go to school with. And the nerd going out with the popular jock? Been there, done that. I know how annoying they can be, and felt that Colasanti hit the target with that one. As for Tobey...well, I am not a boy, so I don't know if Tobey's thoughts were like those of a boy. I do, however, know that Colasanti convinced me while I was reading that she knew exactly what she was doing while writing Tobey's sections. Also, when reading some reviews for this novel, I found that some people felt it was confusing from the switching of POVs. But really, every other chapter is each character...(ex. Ch.1 Sara, Ch.2 Tobey, Ch.3 Sara, Ch.4 Tobey)...and even though their names are not listed, each of them has a different font for their chapter, and you can tell within the first few sentences by who they were hanging out with. I didn't find the novel confusing at all. I would certainly recommend it to anyone, especially the people who don't usually read novels like this. Susane Colasanti and Sarah Dessen have brought me a little out of my paranormal shell, and maybe they can do the same for you :D
bookworm15SB More than 1 year ago
The two points of view create an intresting and exhilarating story. Once I began reading this book I could not put it down, literally. I read it through the night because I was dieing to know what was going to happen next.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I read about this book on the internet and since it had such good reviews I thought I'd get it. And I was sooo excited. Because I love romance and reading so I was so phyched! And it was AWFUL! I am a total suck up to romance I love everything. But this book was not romantic! It was sexual, and I dont find that romantic. I find love, NOT making love sweet and romantic. Their were no cute words or intentions. Nothing! This was one of the biggest dissapointments i've ever read, and I was REALLY EXCITED! Save your money, and go read a real romance like the one's below. 'that I recommend for you.'If you love romance and read a lot and don't jsut like reading about sex. Then please buy one of the Amazing books below.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a truly memorable novel telling the story of two teenagers and their search for true love. Sandra Colasanti writes a wonderful work of romance fiction and proposes many ideas to the subjects of soul mates and fate. This is an addicting book that gets you hooked from the start. It's been said that there are always two sides to one story. Because this book is told in alternating points of view, you will get both sides of Sara and Toby's love story. As Sara is narrating, we learn a lot about her and her two best friends, Laila and Maggie. The same is accomplished when Toby is narrating; he describes the dialogue between himself and his two best friends, Josh and Mike. In the last few days of summer break, Sara is hit by the realization that she is about to start her senior year without a boyfriend. On the first day of school, Sara is approached by Dave, a boy who had been interested in her the year before but hadn't called her over the summer, and he asks her out. Sara later notices Dave's callous personality and she develops an ambivalent attitude toward the boy she waited for all summer. As her relationship with Dave creeps into dangerous territory, Sara has to ask herself the question she never imagined she would ever have to ask... is Dave the guy of her dreams? Or is Sara settling, even as she knows there's someone better for her out there? Meanwhile, Toby attempts countless times to catch her attention. Toby has been infatuated with Sara since they had art class together the year before. The main dialogue taking place between Toby and his friends includes plans for Toby to get Sara and their talk about music and their band. Finally, he decides to talk with Sara's friend to see if he might actually have a chance with her. There are many points of irony in this book as we read about Sara's deflated interest in Dave because we know that Toby is determined to capture her heart. Colasanti differentiates between the two narrators efficiently throughout the novel. Sara is the intelligent, down to earth, Zen type of girl. Therefore, Colasanti uses a wide range of vocabulary along with vivid metaphors in the parts narrated by Sara. While Toby has quite an imagination, he is more of the slacker type. Although his intellectual abilities are advanced, he's a musician that doesn't mind getting a C average in school. Ergo, his point of view in the story is less intelligent. But his point of view is still crucial to the plot; the book wouldn't have been the same without his part of the story. The theme of this book is "everything happens for a reason." For those of you who believe in fate and soul mates-or if you simply want a good, flowing story to read in your spare time-I highly recommend you read this book as soon as you get a chance.
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
When her senior year starts, Sara's attention is focused on college and on Dave. Dave is a new student and a popular athlete, and Sara thinks he may just be a candidate for the "something real" she wants to find. Tobey, however, is focused on his music and on Sara. He wants Sara to fall in love with him (as he is in love with her, despite the fact that the two are not close), but unfortunately he's got Dave as competition.

Despite Sara's attraction to Dave, Tobey and Sara are obviously meant to be together. They're almost unrealistically compatible, having even the little things--such as how they eat their onion rings--in common. Even more importantly, they both want the same thing. They're both searching for "the one," a soulmate, what Sara calls "something real"--could they find it in each other? Even if they do, there are still some obstacles. Tobey and Sara want different things from their futures, but can they overcome that?

WHEN IT HAPPENS is a wonderful story told in the fresh voices of Tobey and Sara. It's a romance, certainly, but there's more to it than that. Tobey and Sara are fantastic, likeable, and believable characters, with lives outside of each other, which adds an extra dimension to what would otherwise just be one of a million cheesy romance novels, but is instead a wonderfully written and almost too-good-to-be-true story of two teenagers looking for love.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
IF YOU A FAN OF TWILIGHT( AS I AM), you WILL enjoy this book. :D I could not set this book down ! (: This book put a smile on my face chapter after chapter because of the charming scenarios and their unique chemistry. Its a story you wont regret reading. ----> Toby and Sara are the absolute perfect match for each other. When they meet, you know this is what they meant in the reviews and in the synopisis. Sara is a dedicated student in her senior year looking for an acceptance to her dream college. Tobey is an intelligent guy who doesnt exactly apply himself to his education. Sarah helps turn that around. While getting to know each other, they find that although different, they have the little things in common. The Little things in life are what count, right ? In themselves, they find what the majority of people spend many years searching for- love.
Guest More than 1 year ago
After reading the summary on the back cover I thought this would be a good read. But I actually found myself skipping chapters, trying to find interesting parts. This book was just very lacking in excitement, something that'd make me want to read every chapter. The only thing I liked about this book was that it had two different points view, but even that was poor writing.
paramoreXxX_lover More than 1 year ago
i have to say this is a wonderful book, i also bought 'take me there'. this book is reallyyyyy good, sara finally realizes that dave isnt all that, but when she starts to fall in love with toby, its like i could feel her excitement when she was around toby, if i book makes you feel what the character is feelin then you know its a good book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I totally and completely fell in love with this book. as soon as i picked up this book i couldn't stop until i finished it. The story between Tobey and Sara will keep you hook till the end!
romancegirl101 More than 1 year ago
this book is one of the best teen romances i have ever read. and trust me. i read alot of teen romances, so for this to be one of my best, that means something. i love how it gives the perspective for both tobey and sarah. i think all girls no how confusing guys can be so for once to get to understand what they think is pretty kool! this book is filled with surprises and lots and lots of young love!!!! i would definetly reccomend this to EVERYONE i know!!!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The people who said this book was horrible must be stupid i love this author (and sarah dessen). All of their books are AMAZING? I highly recomend this book, I give it 11 stars out of 5
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am 13 and this book loooked really good but the reviews say to much sexual content so now idk
Rick Francolini More than 1 year ago
its like beastly in a way but its rele goodand i coyldnt put the book down its tht good every ore teen, teen, and young adult should read this book!!!!
vegie02 More than 1 year ago
This was a really cute book. The description pretty much tells what the book is about. If you are a fan of Dessen, Colasanti is for you.
jwheelzJW More than 1 year ago
I wish I could give this book 4 and a half stars. I usually only give my absolute favorite books 5 stars. This book just makes me smile. It's so cute. It's a quick read, I read it in a day. Basically it's about Sara and Tobey. Sara knows she's going to find love during her senior year and she's pretty sure she's going to find it with Dave, but he ends up not being the guy she wanted him to be. Tobey knows he wants Sara but he doesn't know how to get her. They both tell the story through their own perspectives. It's cool to see how a situation or conversation is seen through two different eyes. Overall it's just a cute story about first loves. It's nice that,although this book included sex it wasn't overly raunchy either, it made it more innocent and sweet like a first love shouild be. And of course Tobey is the perfect boyfriend. =]
twi_fanatic More than 1 year ago
This book is amazing because it has reality romance that you can imagine yourself in. I'm a huge twilight fan, but the thing about the twilight series is that there is not any hot, sexy, romantic,vampires in real life, but we can hope for these kind of romance come true because it can. That's what so good about this book, it makes you hope that this story will happen to you.
YOU More than 1 year ago
This book was really good I like how it gave the point of view of both Sara and Tobey.
Crazy4U More than 1 year ago
i loved this book ita one of the best ive read and belive me i have read ALOT of books!!!! you would want to read it again and again
rckgrl21 More than 1 year ago
When It Happens was a book that I just happened to stumble upon and i wished that I had found it sooner. I was immediately engulfed in the lives of the characters and was dying to see what was going to happen. I was unable to put the book down and I found it to be a real turn pager and i absolutely loved it. I was really happy with how the book ended and the events that occurred.
Axill More than 1 year ago
The basic story of the school slacker who falls in love with the smart girl.The problem is smart girl likes the popular jock. I love this story. Every character is unforgettable and has a sense of humor. I loved how Tobey struggled to try and tell Sara how he feels and how the whole story plays out. It is a great read.
JL_Garner More than 1 year ago
An amusing but ultimately insubstantial tale of two high schoolers who are polar opposites on the surface, yet turn out to be soulmates underneath. Sara is smart, driven, and is going to NYU to become an urban planner. Tobey buries his intelligence under his slacker behavior, and is more interested in making it big with his garage band than pursuing his education (higher or otherwise). So OF COURSE they're fated to be together! While "When It Happens" is a good first effort from Susane Colasanti, she doesn't really sell me on the dual narrators. Sure, Sara thinks about 'girl stuff' and Tobey thinks about 'guy stuff,' but their voices aren't written distinctly enough to justify telling each alternating chapter from the other character's point of view. Most of the time I felt like I was reading the Diet Pepsi version of "Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist" -- fizzy and tasty, but ultimately zero calories.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was/is wonderfully written. The characters were, in my opinion very, relatable. The game that the friends play is what got me hooked to the book, because my best friend and I have played that game for a year now(and I just read this book last week)! I love all the characters and i was sorry to see this end.