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The Big Crunch Hardcover – January 1, 2011

40 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From 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 (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

From Booklist

*Starred Review* When June starts her junior year of high school in Minneapolis, she isn’t looking for love. Thanks to her management-consultant dad’s constantly shifting positions, this is June’s sixth new school in four years, and she’s learned to guard against getting attached. Then she literally crashes into classmate Wes at a convenience store, and what begins with a black eye for June and a head bump for Wes turns into a true, deep romance that the teens try to sustain after June’s dad moves the family once again. As in Lynne Rae Perkins’ novels, this story’s delight lies in the details. National Book Award–winning Hautman writes with wry humor and a comic’s sense of juxtaposed phrases and timing. From guys’ lunchroom conversations (“How come you didn’t just go online for your porn,” says Wes to a friend who excavates an old Penthouse from his neighbor’s recycling bin) to June’s father’s corporate mantras of self-control and forward thinking, the dialogue is refreshingly honest, particularly in the bewilderingly urgent, awkward exchanges that fuel the attraction between June and Wes. Hautman skillfully subverts clichés in this subtle, authentic, heart-tugging 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. Grades 8-11. --Gillian Engberg

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 720L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Scholastic Press; First Edition edition (January 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0545240751
  • ISBN-13: 978-0545240758
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 5.8 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (40 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #966,402 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Okay, here's some miscellaneous personal info. I'll try to be as brief as possible. I was born in 1952 in Berkeley, California, or so I am told (I don't really remember). At age five I moved to St. Louis Park, Minnesota where I went to Cedar Manor Elementary School (also the alma mater of Al Franken and the Coen brothers, and no, they are not close personal friends of mine) and eventually graduated honor-free from St. Louis Park High School. This is so tedious. Why do you keep reading? For the next seven years I attended the Minneapolis College of Art and Design and the University of Minnesota. Contrary to recent news reports, I did not graduate from either institution. After college I worked various jobs for which I was ill-suited, including sign painter, graphic artist, marketing executive, pineapple slicer, etc. Eventually, having exhausted other options, I decided to write. My first novel, Drawing Dead, was published in 1993. Today, I live with mystery writer and poet Mary Logue in Golden Valley, Minnesota and Stockholm, Wisconsin. We have two small dogs (are you still reading?) named Gaston and Baudelaire (Bodie). There you have it. Half a century compressed into a few short paragraphs. Feel free to copy and paste for your book report, but don't tell anybody I suggested it. Need to know more? Check out the FAQs page on my website at

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Tanenbaum VINE VOICE on January 29, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A teen romance with no zombies, angels, vampires, or werewolves? If you're tired of paranormal and looking for a romantic comedy for teens, you'll love Pete Hautman's new release, The Big Crunch. Yes, it plays out a bit like a Hollywood movie--boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy gets girl back, No, it's not love at first sight, but they literally crash into each other at a store after noticing each other at school. There's an attraction there, but Jen starts dating Wes' best friend. Things are complicated, and then Jen has to move away. But suddenly Wes can't live without her....
This is really funny and also heartwarming. Highly recommended, and a good read for guys as well as girls.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Teen Reads on January 26, 2011
Format: Hardcover
June starts school with pretty much the same attitude as she starts all her other schools: try and find a small group of friends, potentially date an average-looking guy, and make it easy to withdraw fast when the next move comes. Her father's job requires him to relocate every six months or so, and she has gotten used to the rhythm of changing schools and not getting too comfortable in any one spot. But something is different about Wellstone High, and June can't put her finger on it.

Wes starts school with the realization that he has to figure out who he is. He just ended a long-term relationship with Izzy, and after being known as Wes-and-Iz or Iz-and-Wes for so long, he needs something new. He has his established group of friends and classifies himself as a semi-cool semi-geek with perhaps low ambition but big dreams. Wes isn't necessarily looking to meet a new girl, but he can't help but listen when his friend Jerry tells him about June.

Like so many love stories go, June and Wes are kept apart until their worlds collide --- literally. A chance encounter at the local convenience store finds Wes knocking into June and giving her a black eye. After profuse apologies, he also feels the need to give her a kiss, and they suddenly find themselves connected. They laugh at the silliest things, talk for hours, and feel the bells and whistles surrounding them at all times. Neither can remember a time when he or she has felt so comfortable with another person. The only thing that can ruin it is if June's father forces them to move --- which is exactly what happens.

Thousands of miles apart from each other, Wes and June struggle to return to normalcy.
Read more ›
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Biblibio VINE VOICE on March 8, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pete Hautman is one of my favorite young adult authors for a reason. He writes very diverse, very thought-provoking books, with extremely strong central characters and situations that seem entirely plausible to his audiences (even when they might not be the most original). "The Big Crunch" is just like that - the oldest story imaginable looked at not from a fresh, exciting perspective, but rather the dullest and simplest. Or, at least, what would appear to be the dullest and simplest. In truth, it's nothing of the kind.

Hautman takes this simple - simplest - story of love between two teenagers and nails it. Wes and June are realistically annoying, fun and interesting teens, playing out a story that makes a lot of sense. It's not a giant, dramatic story. It's quiet. It's simple. It's almost anonymously plain. And there lies the appeal. June and Wes aren't wishful fantasies of what love stories are, they aren't the ideal but rather the proof that ordinary love does exist. It's a wistful, lovely story that doesn't bog down on too many issues or too much drama.

There are flaws, as there are in any other book. It's not a riveting story, obviously, and it's rather predictable (obviously). More frustrating, though, is the fact that the side characters all fade from memory very easily. Hautman writes remarkably strong central characters, but his supporting cast tends to float with little to distinguish them and don't get fleshed out beyond mere sketches and names.

"The Big Crunch" is a wonderful book, though - well written, quiet and heartwarming - and will draw in teen boys and girls alike, as well as adults looking for a sweet story. It's an untainted love story, a romance without explosions but one that shows the true meaning of young love. Warmly recommended.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By VINE VOICE on February 6, 2011
Format: Hardcover Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
Pete Hautman's The Big Crunch is a story about June and Wes, two high school kids from a regular American suburb. June is the new girl. Wes is the guy who has always lived there.

They meet because they go to the same school. Their lives intersect because of the people they know. Eventually, a light goes on between them and the relationship is sparked.

Much like it is for a lot of real life romances.

That's the beauty of this novel. It follows an almost mundane but oddly interesting path to illustrate June and Wes's relationship. The people around them, family and friends, are sharply drawn and add to the fabric of the story, giving it layers of realism that is both poignant and familiar.

And in June and Wes, Hautman has created two believable young people who aren't awash with unrealistic ideas of love but rather, just trying to make what they've found together work. For however long it is supposed to last.

If one is looking for a happily-ever-after teen romance found in the burgeoning YA-paranormal genre, this novel isn't it. However, if a teen would like to read about characters going through similar situations as he or she is and is presented with respect for a teen's intelligence and curiosity, then this is the novel to read.

And for adults who wish to relieve the bittersweet taste of youthful love, this too is a novel worth checking out.

Very well done. Not an ounce of fat in the writing with characters who breathe normally, The Big Crunch is a novel that I can recommend for a satisfying, if bittersweet, read.
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