Every now and then I love to lose myself in a good young adult novel. I feel like it keeps me in tune to what teens are worrying about these days and it also brings me back to those high school years. While most everyone disliked high school, it is fun to read about other people’s fictional struggles. It is for this reason that I picked up a copy of Calli. I enjoyed the read even if it was a bit boring and stilted at times.
Calli is a high school student who has a perfect life, from the outside. She has a fun best friend, an adoring boyfriend, and parents who think that she’s the greatest daughter. However, her life is far from ideal. In reality, her parents are lesbians one of whom suffers from lupus; her adoring boyfriend just made out with her foster sister in front of the whole school; and her best friend couldn’t care less about any of the problems in Calli’s life. Calli tries her hardest to keep peace in her house, but one night her emotions get the best of her and she acts out in a way that has startling repercussions.
I did enjoy Calli’s character. I found her to be very real. Perhaps that is the reason I was a bit bored by the story because Calli was TOO real. Most readers pick up books to experience a life that they don’t have. This is especially true of young adult readers. While many may pick up books in which they identify with the characters, we still hope that those in the novel make decisions that maybe we are not bold enough to make in our nonfiction world. I felt that Calli was a bit too predictable. Even in her outbursts, she was kind of restrained and repentant. Furthermore, I did think that she had a bit of a charmed life for a typical teenager. The most interesting aspect of the story was Calli’s relationship with her parent, Liz. While this was a substantial part of the book, I still found myself putting the book down more often than I would have liked. I think that there is an audience for this book, I’m just not it.