A few weeks ago, I got my fangirly little paws on a copy of Deb's latest book, The Six Rules of Maybe. Here's the summary from her Web site:
Scarlett Hughes is overly involved in the lives of everyone around her, especially her neighbors, including: a young goth girl who chalks her very traditional wishes on the sidewalk; a forgetful mailman; and an older couple whose main excitement in their lives are the formal-sounding scam emails from foreign lands promising large sums of money.
But when Scarlett’s sister, Juliet, returns home from school—pregnant and surprisingly married to a sweet, handsome boy who she seems to have no interest in, but who is hopelessly in love with her—Scarlett is thrust solidly into her own life, and forced to take a look inward for the first time.
The Six Rules of Maybe is about the necessity of dreams, as well as the necessity of facing reality and speaking the truth.
What this summary doesn't say is that The Six Rules of Maybe is also about a teen who falls hard for her sister's hot, sensitive, funny, soulful, 23-year-old husband, Hayden. The dynamic between the two sisters and the husband is so naturally awkward and heartbreaking that I found myself cheering for Scarlett despite the messed-up-ness of the whole situation. She's just such a sympathetic, relatable character, always trying to protect people, always trying to right wrongs and save those around her even when she's being completely overbearing about it. And her sister is pretty self-centered on the surface, but the more time you spend with her, the more you sense the depth of her own issues and struggles. This book explores unrequited love on many levels through the eyes of each character -- Scarlett, her sister Juliet, their single mother whose husband left when the girls were toddlers, Juliet's husband Hayden, even Scarlett's neighbors and friends at school have their own unique views on relationships.
And the writing? Wow. Deb Caletti has such a way with words that I literally found myself talking to the book, shouting things like, "Yes! Totally!" and "OMG, I remember that!" and "I know exactly what you mean!" No matter where the action of the story unfolded, whether it was on the beach or in the car or in someone's kitchen, she just brought me there, like I was watching it happen in my own house or driveway. Her descriptions are beautiful and poignant, never flowery or overdone. And her dialogue is just so natural -- I seriously felt like I was eavesdropping on real people. It's so rare that a book hits me on all of those levels. What a gem.
I began the first chapter intending on reading for an hour, and then making dinner. By the time I reached the last line in Chapter 1, I figured we were in for a late meal. Well, Pet Monster and I went hungry that night, because I curled up on the couch under my blanket (the one with the sun, moon, and stars on it that I save just for date nights with fictional characters) and didn't move until I'd finished. And when I did finish, I let out a big, all-encompassing, isn't-life-simultaneously-exhausting-and-amazing sigh. And I really wanted to track down Deb Caletti's phone number right that INSTANT and for a little fangirl redux, but I thought that would be slightly stalkerish, especially since it was around 4 am. So I did the next best thing -- I tweeted about it.
And you know what? I was shocked -- SHOCKED! -- to learn that so many YA book bloggers and readers hadn't yet discovered the fabulousness that is Deb Caletti! That's when I knew I had to write about my undying Caletti-devotion for Spotlight Wednesday.
If you're one of these Caletti Virgins (you know who you are), I encourage you to visit The Six Rules of Maybe page, where you can read the first chapter, see what other people think about the book, and check out an essay Caletti wrote about some of the themes in the story. She also has 6 other books and a new one coming out in April 2011 called Stay.
If you're not new to the awesomeness of this contemporary YA author, what other Caletti books have you read? Which are your favorites?