From the BLURB:
Ever felt as if your life is just going round in circles? Sarah Dessen's thought-provoking short story about moving on will resonate with teens everywhere.
Sarah Dessen's ‘Infinity’ is a short-story that is being released under Penguin’s ‘Pocket Money Puffins’. These books are celebrating Puffin turning 70, and are a part of the publisher’s promise to “make children into readers”, which is always a good thing. These books are short, cheap and written by some of the best YA authors the genre has to offer.
‘Infinity’ is a short-story about a girl learning to drive while also dealing with her boyfriend’s increasingly amorous impatience;
Us having sex would be a natural progression, after kissing to letting him go up my shirt, then down my jeans: like moving from learner’s permit to licence, there’s only one thing left. And so I have this choice. To either merge in or take the long way home.
I loved the analogy Dessen uses; of a girl likening the choice of ‘going all the way’, to having the guts to pull out in a roundabout. Brilliant. I especially loved the ‘roundabout’ metaphor because I am 99% sure Ms. Dessen is referring to a particularly hellish roundabout in Slough that I had to drive on when I visited the UK a few years back.
Yeah! Now is that a metaphor for life or what?
‘Infinity’ is perfectly targeted to the 14-year-old age bracket. The girl in ‘Infinity’ is 16, and keeping in mind that younger readers generally like to read 2+ years in advance of their age, the issues of sex and driving are perfectly targeted to that ‘tween’ readership.
Then there’s the fact that this is a Sarah Dessen book, and she is a Young Adult queen. Her books are guaranteed teen-pleasers; she wrote the beloved ‘How to Deal’ (which was made into a Mandy Moore film) and has really blossomed in the YA market. You just know that anything she writes is going to be a gem and ‘Infinity’, though short, is no exception.
The ‘Pocket Money Puffin’ is a fabulous idea. They retail for £3.99, AUD$7.95 or US$6.03 (available on Kindle only). And quite a few impressive authors are contributing to the ‘Pocket Money’ books, like Meg Rosoff and Chris Bradford. And a few literary gems are being reprinted, like Roald Dahl.
But I did have one big problem with ‘Infinity’. The short story itself was 32-pages long, while the remaining 63 pages were an extract from Dessen’s full-length novel, ‘Just Listen’. That seems a bit unfair. I love the idea behind ‘Pocket Money Puffin’, but the execution is lacking when the short-story is more of an advertising gimmick to buy a ‘real’ book. Even though these short-stories are meant to be a prompt for children to keep reading, it still seems a bit unfair.
Still ‘Infinity’ itself was a great little read, written by one of YA’s finest authors (and I love the cover-art).
other 'Pocket Money Puffin' books: