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The Big Crunch

The Big Crunch

4.1 14
by Pete Hautman

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A funny, clear-eyed view of the realities of teenage love from National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.

Jen and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.

This is not that kind of love story.

Instead, they just


A funny, clear-eyed view of the realities of teenage love from National Book Award winner Pete Hautman.

Jen and Wes do not "meet cute." They do not fall in love at first sight. They do not swoon with scorching desire. They do not believe that they are instant soul mates destined to be together forever.

This is not that kind of love story.

Instead, they just hang around in each other's orbits...until eventually they collide. And even after that happens, they're still not sure where it will go. Especially when Jen starts to pity-date one of Wes's friends, and Wes makes some choices that he immediately regrets.

From National Book Award winner Pete Hautman, this is a love story for people not particularly biased toward romance. But it is romantic, in the same way that truth can be romantic and uncertainty can be the biggest certainty of all.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Showing his range, Hautman (How to Steal a Car) writes a love story that's affecting despite, or perhaps because of, its ordinariness. Wes and June know each other, vaguely, from high school, but become better acquainted when he accidentally gives her a black eye. Both teens are prone to introspection. June is constantly on guard because her father's job requires the family to move often; Wes cleans out the garage when too much thinking leads to insomnia. When the two overcome obstacles to become a couple, they fall hard. Hautman's depiction of this is both sensitive and realistic—"I can't breathe when I look at you," Wes tells June—and the use of scientific imagery adds metaphorical heft to an otherwise run-of-the-mill romance (to everybody but Wes and June, of course). As she expected, June's father pulls up stakes again, and the lovers try to carry on with texting and telephone calls, leading to frustration and bad decisions. Readers who need nonstop action must look elsewhere, but those who make it to June's final declaration will arrive with a lump firmly lodged in their throats. Ages 13�up. (Jan.)
VOYA - Lynn Evarts
Wes and June meet while they are each walking home from school separately. Nothing special happens. In fact, the next time they actually have a conversation, Wes gives June a black eye (accidently, of course). They both find themselves off school at the same time (June due to wanting to hide her black eye and Wes for more complicated reasons involving the boy who June is dating), and they realize they have strong feelings for one another. Suddenly Wes sees June as more than just "a sea creature pretending to be human". Love ensues and then, tragedy when June's father once again moves the family for his job. Try as they might, neither is able to sustain a long distance relationship. Hautman has created a very simple, yet very complex, love story. The reader does not realize how complex it is until June, on the final page, sums it up by telling Wes that no matter what happens to them individually, they will still love each other because they were one another's first love. With not a bell or whistle in sight, Hautman manages to write the YA love story of all time: simple, poignant, and very, very real. Reviewer: Lynn Evarts
Children's Literature - Sue Poduska
June and her parents never live in one place long enough for her to make any real friends or to fall in love. She's devised a routine for meeting, spending time with, and leaving behind the people she meets in each place. Wes is a typical seventeen-year-old from Minneapolis with a typical family and a girlfriend. June and Wes spend months ignoring each other and dating other people before he gets her attention and they start to fall in love. They finally get together just as June's parents plan yet another move. The desperation that follows only strengthens their resolve to maintain contact, accelerating until they make some stupid moves. Of course, everything turns out okay in the end. The plot is predictable but the voice is genuine, especially for the Wes point of view portion. The themes of teenage angst, young love, separation, and the meaning of responsibility should appeal to the young reader. Reviewer: Sue Poduska
School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—June has attended six schools in the last four years and is once again the new kid, this time at a Minnesota high school. First on her agenda: find some friends and a boyfriend. Wes broke up with Izzy just before school started and he doesn't want another girlfriend, but after seeing June, he can't get her out of his mind. June meanwhile starts dating Wes's best friend. Wes is in a fog. A chance encounter with her sparks a romance between the two. But before it even has a chance to get started, it's time for June to move again. Told from June's and Wes's alternating points of view, this book follows their romance through the four seasons. With rapid-fire dialogue and plenty of sappy language, the author nails the confused, self-absorbed teen characters obsessed with first love. However, the plot falls flat by focusing too closely on what love feels like instead of building a story.—Shawna Sherman, Hayward Public Library, CA
Kirkus Reviews

Wes Andrews has just ended a suffocating relationship with Izzy. June is new to the school—her sixth in the last four years. Like Wes, she's not looking to get entangled; she'll just be moving on in no time anyway, wherever her father's business takes the family next. And it doesn't seem likely that Wes and June will get together. He wonders about her thick lips, her wide mouth and greenish-blue eyes set too far apart, making her look like "a sea creature pretending to be human." And to her he's just "another guy with a case of arrested development." But in the high-school world of "users, posers, geeks, skanks, preps, gangstas, macho-morons, punks, burnouts, and so forth," the two relatively normal, nice kids do find each other...eventually. Hautman uses a third-person point of view to weave a humorous and bittersweet tale of romance and the convoluted, uncertain paths that bring two people together. A poignant and quiet tale in which the only special effect is love—refreshing. (author's note) (Fiction. 13 & up)

From the Publisher
Praise for The Big Crunch:

* "Hautman skillfully subverts clichés in this subtle, authentic, hearttugging exploration of first love, but his sharp-eyed view of high-school social dynamics and the loving friction between parents and teens on the edge of independence is just as memorable." - Booklist, starred review

"With not a bell or whistle in sight, Hautman manages to write the YA love story of all time: simple, poignant, and very, very real." - VOYA

"A humorous and bittersweet tale of romance and the convoluted, uncertain paths that bring two people together." - Kirkus Reviews

Praise for How to Steal a Car:

* “A sporty, stylish model with peppy acceleration and surprising traction, this will be a sweet ride for readers” – BCCB, starred review

“A sharply observed, subversive coming-of-age tale.” - Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

Scholastic, Inc.
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.70(w) x 8.30(h) x 1.10(d)
HL720L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 Years

Meet the Author

Pete Hautman won the National Book Award for his novel Godless. He is also the author of the acclaimed novels The Big Crunch, How to Steal a Car, Rash, Invisible, Sweetblood, Hole in the Sky, No Limit, and Mr. Was. His home in the world is Minnesota, and his home on the web is www.petehautman.com.

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The Big Crunch 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 14 reviews.
MundyChl More than 1 year ago
The Big Crunch is about a girl named June who move's to Wes's school. June moves around a lot, so she is use to it. June meets people and makes new friends. June meets Jerry and goes on a date with him and ends up going out with him. One day going to the mall June and Wes see each other at the mall, and end up bumping heads giving June a black eye. From then on June and Wes really liking each other. June and Wes start going out when June breaks up with Jerry and June has to move. While June moves to Omaha, June and Wes stay together. I really like this book because it was really easy to read and I could never put it down. I like how June as Wes stayed together even though they were miles apart. I didn't like how, June had to move right after June and Wes had a perfect night during New Years. I would recommend this book to people who like romance and drama. If you like action it wouldn't be the best thing to read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have read the book and have meet the autor . Both are funny and keep you guess what going happen next.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book!! READ IT.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved this book so much!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Oh, i love this book! I read this book in three days. I got it on Christmas and finished it December 27! I LOVE IT. I want more of Pete Hautman's books to read!!!!! * w *
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
TeensReadToo More than 1 year ago
Gold Star Award Winner! The first time Wes saw June, fireworks definitely did not go off. He thought her greenish-blue eyes were set too far apart, and her hair looked as though she had stepped right out of the shower. June resembled a sea-creature, and not in a mermaid-like way. He started calling her Aqua Girl, and eventually all Wes wanted was for June to be his. Their affair is tumultuous, just like most teenagers in the throes of first love. Wes soon discovers that his relationship with June is exhausting, especially when it becomes long-distance. Is their Big Crunch a one-shot deal, or will it last? Hautman uses the changing seasons to mark the progression of Wes and June's relationship. As the seasons change, their intensity and passion changes, as well. They learn about themselves through one another. They discover that there are limits to what they can do, both physically and emotionally. I loved this book because the story was simple yet poignant. It wasn't flashy or filled with romantic dialogue; it was real. A boy and girl meet, fall in love, and try to make it work. Sometimes it lasts and sometimes it doesn't. Honestly, that really doesn't matter - it's about the story, and that's what makes this novel so wonderful.
epicrat More than 1 year ago
How to describe The Big Crunch? Well, I'd liken it to a rather nice stroll through the park - nothing extraordinary or supernatural, but sometimes normal and sweet is a welcome change from all the vampires and zombies and smoldering eyes. The pacing seemed a little slow, especially at first when Wes and June go about their separate lives in the same high school bubble. They'd brush against each other every so often, but drift apart again without more than a backwards glance. When they finally "crunched" so to speak, it wasn't the usual fare of crazy-in-love-and-now-we-must-breathe-together. It was, yet it wasn't. There wasn't enough time to "crunch" before June had to leave Wes and distance became an obstacle in their newfound relationship. Not a whole lot of action in The Big Crunch except for one minor car-stealing incident. Even then, it was a big misunderstanding. No, The Big Crunch is a pretty low-key read if you are looking for a book on a normal high school romance between two normal, down-to-earth teens who weren't really searching for each other, but found each other anyway. What I particularly enjoyed was the personalities of Wes and June, but I think The Big Crunch showed most of Wes's story. Neither of them saw each other, but didn't really think the other was mind-boggling hot. Wes described June as a "sea creature pretending to be a human" in the opening paragraph - if that doesn't scream LOVE, I don't know what does :P
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ChelseaW More than 1 year ago
The first time Wes meets June, he thinks her mouth is too wide and her eyes are too far apart. June, in return, thinks his hair is shaggy. It would seem these two were not meant to be together right from the start. And yet, against all odds, their paths continue to cross. Thus begins a romance where nothing is easy to explain or simple to figure out. Navigating through friends, family, and their own heads, Wes and June fumble towards a unique happy ending. Wow, this book was incredible. It's funny, sad, tender, and exciting. The only other book by Pete Hautman I have read was Sweetblood, which I also enjoyed very much. Still, this one was above and beyond good. The characters, the emotions, the situations were all so raw and realistic. It showed the honest side of love - that it always isn't the clean-cut, love-at-first-sight other books make it out to be. On the contrary, Hautman creates a rather messy situation for these poor characters. I found it difficult to sympathize with June sometimes, as she wasn't very nice a lot of the time. But Hautman gives her a viable back story to explain her reserve. Readers won't be able to help but root for Wes, especially the males out there. Which brings me to one last comment: this book is equally great for girls and boys. Each will have someone to identify with, and the scenarios are common enough to speak to just about anyone. Hautman writes all of his secondary characters excellent too, with Wes' friends supporting him and June's acquaintances having their own agendas. I'll say it one last time - this book was amazing. A short read that's highly recommended!