September 25, 2006

Two of Hearts

It's not that there's anything wrong with Eli. He's sweet. He's nice. But Chloe's ready for something more. She's a maybe musician, a senior... looking at colleges, deciding on a where she wants to go and who she wants to be. And then, when she meets Julian... and suddenly everything gels.

In a series of funny and poignant emails, instant messages, postcards and letters, Chloe and Julian fall in love. Or, fall into something, anyway. Whatever it is, it's not exactly honest. Chloe doesn't want to tell anyone, but she's done with Eli. Her best friend, Kate, says they can never break up. Julian tells his sister, but doesn't want to admit it to his best friend, and he kind of hangs out with another girl, but he doesn't.

But, for Chloe, all there is, is Julian. And he's ...amazing. He's nothing like anyone Chloe's known before. His heart and soul come out in his letters to her, and all Chloe wants to do is get out of the dragging world of high school, go on to college, and Julian. She emails her sister frantically, only to find that her sister isn't the rock she's expected her to be. In fact, suddenly Chloe isn't sure she knows her sister at all.

Chloe's world is starting to feel dislocated. School is boring. Her summer job at camp isn't exactly what she thought it would be. And her friends are horrified that she's broken up with Eli, and then, at camp, she has a little fling with someone else. Who IS she, all of a sudden? Who is her sister? Who are her PARENTS!?

Readers with siblings will really resonate with Chloe's struggle to find her place with her older sister, away at college. When you've been two-against-the-parents, finding out that you and your sister aren't exactly alike can be crushing, frightening and alienating. Nothing ends up as you expect in this epistolary novel; Heart on my Sleeve is quick and unpredictable, kind of like life.

No comments: