Catch It Spinning
A historical romance by Claudia J. Severin
Yvonne Edison thought she was so lucky, dating a hunky high school football hero. She was proud to be wearing Dick Dunn’s class of 1968 ring. She thought their future was college, marriage, and a family together. Dick thought his future was adding her V-card to his growing collection before moving on to corrupting college coeds.
She supposed all innocent girls had rude awakenings. New-boy-in-town Randy Sparks made her forget her unfaithful first sweetheart. Well, almost. But did Randy adore her or was he more enamored with playing basketball and fighter plane games?
Daniel Adams knew Yvonne only saw him as the boy next door. His twin sister, Debbie, was her best friend so Yvonne always tolerated him growing up. But one day he realized she had morphed into a stellar beauty and had his pulse racing and boys flocking around her. By the time he was old enough to get a part-time job and buy his own set of wheels, he worried that she may be permanently attached to some other fool.
Yvonne sampled a variety of boys: the jock, the party animal, the hippie, the poet. But she wasn’t finding true love like her baton-twirler girlfriends. Was it because she’d kept her boyfriends wanting more like a good girl? Or had she craved control too much to let anyone get so intimate?
Fast forward to ten years later, when a medical problem threatened her perfectly manicured marriage. There was a treatment for her malady, but as her husband discovered, it may have been worse than the disease. The serious side effects threatened their relationship, and her happiness kept spinning out of reach just like that baton she once tried to master. She would need all of his love and support to grab on tightly.
Catch it Spinning is the first of the Twirler Quartet. The turbulent late 1960s and early 1970s provide the social unrest that simmers in the background even in a sleepy Midwestern city.
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The live combo was loud, making it hard to hear each other. “Let’s dance,” Daniel said, pulling Yvonne onto the floor when they sang “My Girl” by the Temptations, a favorite slow number. “Are you worried I am going to step on your feet?” Daniel teased when she hesitated. “I have danced before you know.”
Yvonne pressed her lips together and took a few hesitant steps. She’d never danced with any boy who wasn’t taller than her, and she wasn’t sure how it would look or feel. He pulled her into a double-clutch and it didn’t much matter as they each had their heads on the other’s shoulders. He smells good. Oh my goodness, Daniel is wearing cologne. She remembered hearing his mother lecturing him a few years ago about showering every day.
He ran his fingers up and down her back. “You sure do look pretty tonight,” he said.
“So do you.” Yvonne beamed. She never would have imagined she would go on a date with Daniel. He was the bane of her friendship with Debbie when they were children. He often found another neighborhood boy to side with him causing trouble for the girls. But if anyone else tried to pick on either Debbie or Yvonne, he was always there to defend them. Which is why she started thinking of him as a brother. He reminded her of Clark sometimes with his mixture of loyalty and orneriness.
He is right, though. We’re getting older and it is time to give him a chance to show me who he is now.
This was an interesting read. It amazes me what is considered “historical” today in fiction. I see stuff like this called “historical” and think “my parents were alive then…what is happening?!” Can’t wait ‘til the years of my childhood are considered historical (except they might be already…). Anyway, this was a neat look at this point in the history books, so to speak. I found the world to be well drawn and the issues of the time to be handled well.
As for the characters, I wound up with a mixed bag of feelings. Some of them were purposefully unlikeable, and those came across strongly. Others were likeable, and I did like them. But there were a few that were supposed to be likeable, and I just had a very tough time connecting with them—Yvonne in particular. Multifaceted and well-rounded characters are a major part of a book. Yvonne definitely had a lot of parts to her, but many of them didn’t feel explored enough. They came together less like a personality and more like a group of things she could put effort behind when it worked for her and the story. I struggled to really get behind her as a protagonist. She struck me as judgmental and, at points, just not very bright for someone who was actually very smart. She cried a lot to the point where tears started to lose their meaning a bit, and she seemed very fussy. She wanted to have her cake and eat it to about pretty much everything, which made her feel high maintenance. I think one of the characters says she has a well-developed sense of indignation at one point, and that seemed to wrap her up well. It was great to see her being strong and opinionated about things, but after a while, I almost felt like asking her if there was anything she didn’t get mad about.
I really liked the group-of-friends dynamic. That’s a favorite of mine in fiction, and it was cool to see a group of girlfriends in a YA book who weren’t driven apart by petty things. They did all seem very boy-crazy, even for teenage girls. When I was a teenager, boys were definitely something I thought about, but that said, never quite so much as the girls in this book. It felt a bit unbelievable that they would spend so much time thinking/talking about boys and how to impress them. There were also a couple of other little things that I would read and think “wait, what?” It wasn’t necessarily a lot, but it did pull me out of the story when it happened.
All in all, this touched on a lot of big issues in a good way. The characters could have been a bit more developed, which would have helped this feel more like a book about kids growing up amidst background tensions and less like background tensions with characters attached. The spinning aspect felt underplayed, and I would have loved to see more of that and really feel how it influenced and represented Yvonne’s life. To sum up, lots of great stuff in here, but the execution didn’t quite work for me. Others may definitely feel differently.
About Claudia J. Severin
Claudia Johnson Severin lives on a farm in southeast Nebraska. She grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska, in the Eastridge neighborhood. She went back to her high school twirler days for this series. Like her main characters, she found hours of practice together developed friendships which led to many adventures outside of school.
Like Yvonne, she graduated from the University of Nebraska with a journalism degree. She also worked at Lincoln Telephone Company. The infertility storyline is based loosely on the experience of college friends.
This is the first of the Twirler Quartet series. She previously wrote Her Side of History—Finding My Foremothers’ Footprints, an anthology of historical fiction about four of her family’s female ancestors.
Writing about past decades gives her a chance to rewrite history and gives the characters a chance to benefit from lessons learned in the time since. She loved the 1960s, but wouldn’t trade her smartphone for a teen line or her SUV for her old Volkswagen Beetle.
Claudia J. Severin will be awarding a $20 Amazon or Barnes and Noble GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.