Saturday, May 14, 2011

"April & Oliver," by Tess Callahan

I disliked the 3rd person, present tense; it was distracting. There were too many character names, plus their nicknames, to keep track of. Also the author was too vague at times about ages of characters at all the different times they were shown.

I liked the dysfunction and pull of April and Oliver to each other. Interesting that Callahan didn't make April's abusive boyfriend wholly evil, but broken from life experiences.

I thought Bernadette was a strong character. She wasn't a one-dimensional girlfriend who is always insecure or a nag. She doesn't abuse April for the way Oliver feels about her. And I liked that Oliver didn't stray from Bernadette just because his feelings for April grew, changed, warped. He still loved her while being drawn into his past feelings for April.

I really liked that Oliver--so together, on the right path--found his world become confusing and unsure, unstable. He couldn't really have a future with April--the screw-up, bad decision-maker--while still looking at her as someone who messed up her life. He'd hold all the power. He had to find his life come unraveled as well--law school, the piano, Bernadette.

I liked the ending. No long, drawn-out explanation of what happens next. Just an extension of communication from Oliver to April. Leaves the reader with a hope that finally these two can be who they want and need to be with each other and for themselves.

3 stars