I Know It’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin (Random House 2008), listed $7.99 for paperback with 272 pages, and is currently available as an ebook with the lowest price of $6.39 at both Amazon (Kindle) and Barnes and Noble (Nook). This was yet another impulsive purchase that I actually finished this time.
I Know It’s Over is C.K. Kelly Martin’s debut into the crowded YA market. I was immediately pulled into the story by her authorial voice. It’s engaging and impressive. The story just sucks you right in even though the content/issues make for a heavy and very familiar read with topics like teenage pregnancy, divorce plus other social issues. But even better, the author writes this story from the hero’s point of view which probably made this story stand out more for me.
The story is told in first person and starts a month after Nick and his girlfriend, Sasha have broken up. Nick’s still reeling from the break up when Sasha informs him shortly after the break-up that she’s pregnant. Talk about emotional overload. Nick’s immediate response to the news is to lash out in anger and engage in avoidance. But that doesn’t last long. He comes around and the two teens find themselves confronted with a reality check and having to face the consequences of their actions.
Sixteen year old Nick Svenson is a good guy overall. Just your average run of the mill teen. He’s well liked at school, intelligent and good looking. A hockey player with decent grades. His childhood friends, Nathan and Keelor are guys he’s known since he was 11 years old. After school, he works part-time selling sports equipment.
Nick’s parents are divorced and he and his sister reside with their mom. His dad remarried soon after the divorce, to a woman named Bridgette, that his kid sister Holland dubs “Babette.” Nick’s the only one in the family who still speaks to his dad while his sister blows him off in retaliation to how he treated their mother. According to Nick, everybody pretends. His mother, he says, walks around in a catatonic state with a fake smile plastered on her face. This bothers him but he’s learned to deal with it.
Nick first meets Sasha during the summer. He’d always found her fascinating to look at in his English class. A few weeks later, he dumps Dani, another girl he was “just friends with” to pursue Sasha. After he hooks up with her, Sasha tells him upfront that she has ‘rules’ and of course those rules get rewritten and broken as they spend more and more time together.
The two get hot and heavy five months into the relationship and Nick falls hard. And no, the author doesn’t keep the bedroom door closed at all. Nick is not shy about his feelings. Since we get to be inside his head only, he feels that Sasha “gets him.” That the two of them are “connected.” He’s always wanting to call her and be with her. He seems to be consumed by her.
Their ‘first time’ isn’t so perfect despite what those romance novels may convey. The awkwardness and expectation of losing one’s virginity isn’t all that great of an experience. It was so bad for both of them that it nearly breaks them up. But after the passage of time, they restart their physical relationship.
Nick’s dad, who stays 2 hours away in Toronto, meets Sasha when he comes to town. He tells Nick to practice safe sex. He even hands him two fifty dollar bills to buy condoms. But the teens have an “oops” moment that scares Sasha into asking Nick to give her some space. Problem is that Nick doesn’t want to let her go and he tells her that they can discontinue their sexual relationship if that’s the only way they can be together. Ah, the joys of first love.
This brings us back to where the story started, on Christmas Eve, with Sasha telling Nick that she’s pregnant. Nick’s plans to stay with his dad for the holidays is canceled so that the two of them can talk and figure things out. The rest of the story is mostly focused on Nick and his reactions to the pregnancy and feeling like an outsider. He tries to work through his feelings for Sasha and their future. Sasha mostly keeps Nick at a distance while she tries to decide if she wants to have the baby or not. Nick is hurt and irritated by her making this decision without including him.
Well, that’s most of the story or as much as I’d like to divulge. There’s more to the novel besides Sasha and Nick’s love life. So, how did I like this story? I liked it. The narrator which in this case was Nick made for a compelling read. His thoughts and feelings were so heartbreaking at times, I wanted to give him a hug.
Believe it or not this story has a really strong message against teen sex that highlighted very clearly that your actions have consequences. If I were a teen reading this today, I would have certainly taken it to heart. I don’t know how to explain it only that the author doesn’t preach. She doesn’t lecture. She just uses Nick to bring home the message that life is about the choices we make.
I felt impatient on Nick’s behalf when Sasha seemed at times, to shut him out of the decision making process. Most of the time, he was always the one to call her and make sure she’s alright. I mean she was making a decision that would have affected both of their futures. Anyway, the pacing of the novel was terrific. I didn’t want to put the book down. Like I said, the themes of the story aren’t what’s captivating but the voice/narrative of the author that won my attention.
I’ve read other reviews online that say this is an authentic portrayal of the teen experience and I’d have to agree even though none of what these teens did in here mirrored my own experiences like the drug use and other stuff. I remember my mother lecturing me about pregnancy in high school. How could I forget it. It was short and to the point. She said: if you get pregnant, I’ll kill you. Love you too, mom.
I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin was a good, intense read with plenty of angst. Rated R for sexual situations that are more explicit than your usual YA novels (that I’ve read anyway) and language (teens and adults like the F word). Again, the messages were pretty clear: life is about change, our actions have consequences and our parents aren’t perfect people (amen to that). Good story overall with an ending that was less than happy but from the title, I guess you knew that. B+.