I Know It’s Over by C. K. Kelly Martin
Nick is sixteen and still in love with Sasha when she tells him she thinks they need a break, still in love with her weeks later when she tells him she’s pregnant. In her debut novel, C. K. Kelly Martin writes with precision and honesty about an emotional subject: first love. I Know It’s Over traces the arc of Nick’s relationship with Sasha from the beginning through the end.
The book actually opens with Sasha’s big announcement, then goes back in time as Nick recalls first the events that led to their relationship, then the relationship itself. I think this structure makes the story even more effective. We know from the book description that a pregnancy is involved, and by mentioning it in the beginning, Martin, and the reader, can then focus on the entirety of Nick’s relationship with Sasha, as well as with his family and friends. Instead of waiting for the revelation, we read for the story behind it. The pace is measured and never rushed, but Nick is such a compelling character that I couldn’t put the book down. He’s flawed, sometimes awkward, popular enough that a friend is surprised that Sasha is the one who ends the relationship, but most of all, he’s real.
I don’t want to get too spoilery (read the Publishers Weekly review for that), but I do want to say that I really admired the ending. It was perfect for Nick and Sasha, and perfect for the book. That’s something that could be said about the entire book, actually. Martin sticks with emotional honesty although it’s sometimes messy and uncomfortable. Even when Nick and Sasha make poor decisions, they’re honest ones that feel true to the characters and not a device to increase the drama or length of the book. Some people won’t like the ending, but I thought it was the way the book needed to end. Any other ending would have been false and dishonest and frankly unworthy of Nick and Sasha.
I Know It’s Over is a very character-driven novel, but the writing is so good I wouldn’t be surprised if teens who usually read more plot-heavy books also enjoy it. Plus, the teens I’ve mentioned the book to have been intrigued by the fact that it’s about teen pregnancy and relationships from a male perspective. The writing reminded me a lot of Sara Zarr, so if you’re a Zarr fan, check this book out when it’s published on September 23.