Review: I Know It’s Over

PURE. UNPLANNED. PERFECT. Those were Nick’s summer plans before Sasha stepped into the picture. With the collateral damage from his parents’ divorce still settling and Dani (his girl of the moment) up for nearly anything, complications are the last thing he needs. All that changes, though, when Nick runs into Sasha at the beach in July. Suddenly he’s neck-deep in a relationship and surprised to find he doesn’t mind in the least. But Nick’s world shifts again when Sasha breaks up with him. Then, weeks later, while Nick’s still reeling from the breakup, she turns up at his doorstep and tells him she’s pregnant. Nick finds himself struggling once more to understand the girl he can’t stop caring for, the girl who insists that it’s still over.--From Amazon

After reading two of her three books, I am already pretty sure that C.K. Kelly Martin is one of the best and most authentic writers of contemporary, realistic YA fiction. I Know It’s Over is a stunning debut novel, and I enjoyed it just as much as her new release, The Lighter Side of Life and Death. Much of what I love about Martin’s writing is similar in both books:

  • Martin does not shy away from the controversial. She tackles sexuality and homosexuality, drugs and alcohol, divorce and step-families. Yet, neither novel feels like an “issue book,” nor do they glamorize sex or substance use. Martin strikes a perfect balance and both books realistically portray adolescent life in a way that feels very matter-of-fact.
  • Gender stereotypes are turned around, to an extent. Yes, to a degree, Martin’s male narrators are your typical sex-obsessed guys, but they are also more emotionally committed to their relationships than their girlfriends. In both books I have read so far, it is the guys who are left devastated and heartbroken, trying to fit the pieces of their lives back together. They are not heartless dumpers, or detached dumpees. These guys are romantics, and I think they offer teen readers better characters to relate with than a lot of the other books out there.
  • Martin’s writing is very intimate. The novels, written in first person, give the readers the sense that the narrator is confiding in them. Her storytelling invites you in, making you feel like you are hanging out with your best friend, listening to him recount a play by play of what went down.
  • Martin is able to weave together a lot of subplots, such as Nick’s family dealing with divorce and Nick’s best friend coming out, without any element feeling too top heavy, forced, or unresolved. The truth is that people have a lot of different things going on in their lives at any given time, and Martin manages to portray all of those things with just the right amount of attention, and show the ways in which each event impacts the others and the character’s overall motivation.

I Know It’s Over is a beautiful, heartbreaking book that examines relationships and teen pregnancy from a male point of view. This is becoming less uncommon these days, but it is still a refreshing and insightful change from the more standard teen pregnancy tales from the female’s perspective. As with The Lighter Side of Life and Death, I would recommend this book for more mature teens because the writing is quite vivid and graphic at times. I would strongly recommend this book to readers who enjoyed Every Little Thing in the World by Nina de Gramont, which captures a lot of similar ideas about teen pregnancy with the same sense of realism.

Now, I must go read One Lonely Degree in order to complete my C.K. Kelly Martin collection.

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