Our Year in Love and Parties by Karen Hattrup
Summary: Tucker knows that some relationships take work. With his best friend, Bobby, and his mom, everything is simple, steady. His dad, on the other hand, seems to only show up when he wants to bring Tucker down. Then there’s Erika Green, who comes back into his life, stirring up old feelings. A small part of him knows he shouldn’t get too attached during senior year. But a bigger part doesn’t want her to disappear again. Erika from before the video loved to shock people. Now, she just wants to hole up in her quiet college life and leave the past where it belongs—in a dumpster fire. But then she reconnects with Tucker Campanelli. Erika can’t explain what it is about him. There’s just this undeniable connection between them, and she really doesn’t want to lose that feeling. Not yet.
To be honest, I am not a party person. Whenever I see one of those rom-coms where people are dancing on tables or playing beer pong, I cringe – because the idea of being around a big group of people, most of them drunk, is not now and never has been my idea of fun. But Karen Hattrup’s new novel, Our Year in Love and Parties, goes far beyond the “party night” tropes of teen books and movies to explore the evolving relationship of its two main characters – the sensitive Tucker and the jaded Erika. It’s a clever device, to set the story up in parties on four nights throughout the year (end of summer, Christmas, spring, and the end of the school year), but by drawing on the ebb and flow of teenage lives, Hattrup’s sensitive portrayal goes much deeper than the calendar. Though Erika and Tucker’s relationship is the throughline of the story, we see it in context of the myriad other relationships swirling around the two of them – complicated family dynamics, friendships made and lost and repaired, romances and hookups and everything in between. (And Hattrup excels at creating lovable, memorable side characters who make me wish they each had a starring role in their own novels.) Like Hattrup’s debut, the excellent, lyrical Frannie and Tru, Our Year in Love and Parties captures the sense of fleeting magic in adolescence, when everything is changing but the possibilities are endless.
OUR YEAR IN LOVE AND PARTIES is out now.