Susane Colasanti focuses on three main characters – two girls and a guy – in Take Me There. The novel is set in a public school for design in NYC and begins with all three main characters recently single. Rhiannon has just been dumped by her boyfriend Steve, and she relies on her two best friends, Nicole and James, to comfort her. She believes that she and Steve are meant to be together and spends most of the book plotting to get back together with him. Nicole recently broke up with her boyfriend Danny, and while she crushes on her math teacher, she also finds herself questioning why she broke up with Danny. Nicole also harbors a secret from her past that requires her to attend weekly therapy sessions with her mother. James is the least affected by his recent break-up and spends a lot of time focused on school, helping at home, and helping his elderly neighbor. The book follows the three as they plot to enact revenge on a mean girl at school, while each begins to understand what he or she really need in a relationship.
This it the first book I have read by Susane Colasanti. Her writing style is very suitable for some teen readers. Characters do not always say something, instead “she was like” or “so I go” is often what comes before a line of dialogue. As an adult reader who is obviously not the target audience, I was often taken out of the moment when I read that. It fits the character’s voice and I imagine some teen readers would not bat an eyelash, although I know not all teen readers would like it. It did make me take the book less seriously. Other YA writers succeed in establishing an authentic teen voice without relying on so much slang and lazy speech.
The book alternates between the three character perspectives, and the author rehashes events through each character’s eyes, often referring to something that the reader will not fully understand until several chapters later. This was a very frustrating experience for me. Before I understood that this was on purpose, I found myself flipping back pages to see if I missed something. Once I accepted that it was the format of the book, every mysterious reference made me sigh and lose interest in the current character and storyline and wonder how soon I’ll get to the character who will reveal the necessary information. Meanwhile, I also grew tired of repeating events because more than one main character experienced it. I wanted the storyline to progress faster.
The storyline itself is enjoyable. The reader watches the girls learn romantic lessons; Rhiannon realize that she deserves better from a boy and just who in her life provides that, and Nicole learns the importance of trust. Both are lessons familiar to girls and are often found in the romantic chick lit genre. The characters are fun and realistic, each with their own quirks. James was my favorite just because he was the most normal and written is the least teen-talky way.
I would only specifically recommend this to teen girls who want a fast, fluffy read, maybe reluctant female readers.
2 and 1/2 stars