Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent's divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she's changed. The former "girl next door" now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, "Old Lucy" still exists, and he's determined to find her... even if it means pissing her off. .
Wintertown is a charming coming-of-age story about two best friends--complete opposites looking for what they can still share when their lives have taken such different paths. The uncertainties of both present and future play out in this story of friendship and what happens when best friends grow apart...or maybe just grow up.
Wintertown is an easy book to fall into. The writing flows seamlessly from page to page creating an engaging, easy-to-read story. Each POV offers the reader a deeper look into the lives of each character, allowing you to get the "bigger picture" of what is going on in the now separate lives of each person. Their individual struggles that they can't seem to articulate to each other become apparent to the reader and you can start to feel a connection with them. However, I felt that this was about as deep of a connection that I felt with the characters. Their friendship and the story of how it has changed and is still changing carries you through the book but doesn't necessarily allow you a deep connection with the characters.
And just who are these characters? Well, from the description, you know that our main characters here are Evan and Lucy. Evan is your typical slightly-repressed good boy--driven to succeed and have the kind of "successful" life that his parents based on a college education in a "normal" field (like business or law). Evan's "drive" comes from both his upbringing and his father's constant pushing. You get the sense throughout that Evan feels like this is simply the normal path that he is "destined" to take in order to achieve his ideal of a happy life. Now throw in Lucy, Evan's bff who moved away a number of years ago when her parents divorced and came back different this year. Lucy has been through a lot--none of which you find out until the POV switches to her about 2/3 of the way through the book. Lucy definitely challenge Evan to stop and actually think about his future and what HE wants--not what his parents want--and I loved her for that. Evan pushes Lucy a bit as well--forcing her to confront her past and present choices and her future--something which she clearly hasn't considered much before.
As endearing as the story is, the illustrations won me over in the end. At the end of each chapter, we are presented with a comic scene depicting a fictional version of Evan and Lucy in their imagined world of ice and snow. The comic scenes somewhat interpretively depict the inner conflict that the characters are struggling with. In addition, there are little illustration dispersed throughout that add a fun element to the story. It gives you just a little insight into the characters that you don't get from the words, and I thoroughly enjoyed them.
As I said at the beginning, Wintertown is a very easy-to-read novel that I thoroughly enjoyed. It takes place in a relatively short time-frame and is focused on the characters' development and choices. Readers looking for an adventure or action won't find it here. However, if you're looking for a light, fun read, I would definitely say to give this one a shot.