Small-town life has Cole down.
Everyone and everything in Webster, aka “the Web,” is holding him back. He dreams of moving to Vancouver after senior year to avoid the prospect of a ho-hum life with a boring job, wife and kids. Breaking up with Lauren is the first step on his new path to an exciting life as a filmmaker. As far as he’s concerned, he’s single, notwithstanding an “accidental post-breakup sex scene” with Lauren. So even when he starts hanging out with Hannah, an assertive, sexy girl who steps in as soon as news of the breakup gets around, he doesn’t think of himself as anyone’s boyfriend. His mother died less than a year ago, and like his father, he finds solace in drink. Filmmaking gives Cole needed distance from his home life, which sometimes feels like “part of a mandatory group project, like in health class.” While he’s working on a documentary that he thinks will reveal how tangled Webster’s residents are in its web, he’s utterly clueless about the real drama right in front of him—Lauren’s pregnant. Cole eventually finds that everyone’s life is complicated, and he’s the only one who feels trapped.
Clever chapter headings move the story toward a tidy ending, and Cole’s voice is convincingly filled with a combination of angst and nonchalance. (Fiction. 12–17)