Staff Review: "Winter Town"
Every winter break, Evan's best friend Lucy returns to visit her father. This year is no exception...however, Lucy has changed. Evan struggles to reunite and reconnect with his closest friend, while Lucy struggles to reconcile her behavior while living with her mom in Georgia with who she is around Evan and his family. Nothing earth shattering happens, no zombies are released, no vampires sparkle. The conversations and relationship dynamics between Lucy and Evan shift from friends, to boyfriend and girlfriend and back again.
Lucy's exploits with drugs, boys and homelessness are detailed briefly midway through the novel along with her obvious regret. Evan struggles to become his own person, trying to figure out a way to please his parents and himself. The story takes place primarily during the two weeks of winter break and the author does a masterful job of characterization with Lucy, Evan, Evan's friends and family. In the short amount of time, the characters are developed and fully realized. The author adds a second layer of storytelling by including the comic strips that Evan creates about the imaginary world he and Lucy created when they were kids.
The only disappointment to me was the giant skip to one year later at the end of the novel. So much is left unexplained (spoilers!)...what happened to Lucy during that year? Has she reformed her Georgia life? What made Evan decide to take a year off and move to New York? The author's choice to emphasize Evan and Lucy's lack of communication after this winter break was strange and the ending leaves so much (maybe too much...it's a fine line) open to the imagination and possible sequels, although it really feels like the author was done with these characters far before the novel itself finishes.