The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (website | twitter)
Publisher: Dutton Children’s Books
Release Date: February 16, 2012
Target Audience: Young Adult
Format: ARC Received from Publisher at ALA Mid-Winter
How I heard about it: Recommended to me by one of the reps at ALA
Summary: Colby and Bev have been best friends since they were 9. It’s been their plan for years to go on tour with Bev’s band after high school graduation and then to tour Europe for a year immediately after. Colby’s left questioning his friendship with Bev when she suddenly backs out of the trip with no explanation.
The Disenchantments was one of the books I was most excited to have received from ALA. I admit: I was completely pulled in by the cover. Add in a road trip and music, and I’m sold. There were things I absolutely loved about this book, and other things I wish had been a bit more. I’m just going to break things down into a list of things for you guys…
Good: I didn’t realize this was written from a male’s POV. I never would have guessed that based on the cover. It’s always nice to read from a boy’s perspective, but I think the cover implied that things would be a little more light-hearted than they were.
…but: Don’t get me wrong. The cover is gorgeous, but a bit misleading. Colby is incredibly infatuated with Bev, his best friend. I suppose the cover of The Disenchantments makes sense if you think about how consumed Colby was with this girl. He absolutely lived and breathed for her, but the whole book was not sunshine and rainbows.
Good: I really enjoyed the characters and all their messed-up craziness. Bev made me feel angry and mad at her for stringing Colby along and making him jealous of all the other people she pretended to be interested in. Colby had so many things going through his head that he couldn’t quite verbalize because he didn’t want to ruin his relationship entirely with Bev.
…but: Sometimes the way Bev and Colby handled situations was so immature. For two people with so much independence, I expected their actions and behaviors to match. I wanted to yell at them and say, “NO! You idiot! Don’t say that!“
Good: The time frame for the whole book is a week, while Colby is on tour with Bev’s band. The week is pretty packed and dense. A lot, lot, lot of things happen. They meet a lot of people and experience great things, but there’s a ton of detail about everything they did.
…but: I wanted the characters to be talking more instead of doing so many things. Maybe this boils down to my impatience, but I needed Bev and Colby to get real and talk. They needed to sit down and have the conversation they were both avoiding: Why did Bev back out on the European trip?
Good: I really got a sense for how much these two had been through. We’re given their history and back stories. We understand how long Colby has loved Bev.
…but: When the suspense was over and I finally knew why Bev had changed her mind, I felt a little let down. I felt like there was a TON of build-up to something that didn’t seem so monumental, considering Bev is 18 years old. I would have understood the feelings and emotions more if she had been a younger character; she’d been carrying around the secret for so long that I guess I expected the feelings to dissipate somewhat. I still felt confused by why she wouldn’t have talked to Colby about everything.
The Disenchantments is still a book I’m very glad to have read. Please don’t think I’m telling you to stay away from it. Definitely give it a try! I think some of the things I’m discussing are a bit nit-picky, and I really do look forward to seeing how you respond to this book.