After losing her father unexpectedly to heart attack, Macy struggles with her grief and her identity. She strives to be perfect, but soon realizes that this fake perfection isn’t what makes her happy. And perhaps, she’ll have to take some risks to find true happiness.
*I’ve had a fierce moral struggle with purchasing eBooks from Amazon. However, I have a bunch of eBooks that I purchased before I started boycotting. And I’ve decided to read those, since I already paid for them.
I’ve been wanting to read something by Sarah Dessen since I saw her speak at the 2011 National Book Festival in DC. She was just so adorable. Below is a picture showing her adorableness:
What I Loved:
Characterization: There are some really memorable characters, but most of all the characters felt very real to me. Kristy with her spunky personality, Monica with her limited conversation skills, Bert with his post-apocalyptic obsession, and Delia the pregnant caterer on the edge of disaster. Most of all, my favorite character was Wes, and not just because he was the hunky romantic lead (though that helped). I was pleasantly surprised by Wes’ character because he is a welder/metalworker/artist! Was not expecting that hobby in this book! I’m writing a character with the same occupation for my own novel right now, which gave me quite a soft spot for him. I also really liked the Truth game that Macy and Wes play together because it’s sort of like a game I’ve played with guys I’m dating. And I think it helped show the two characters taking time to get to know each other, and not just highlighting the physical chemistry that is often associated with quick, teen romance.
Emotion: Sarah Dessen is an expert at the emotional journey. This is something I really struggle with plot-wise, and I could probably benefit with reading more of her books and breaking down how she takes her characters on these emotional journeys. The core of the emotional journey was definitely between Macy and her mother, and this mother/daughter relationship was well-done with the right young adult issues at its core. Communication between mother and daughter is something a lot of teens struggle with, and I think Dessen handled this theme beautifully.
Heavy Flashback in Exposition: The book had an incredibly slow start due to all the flashbacks concerning Macy’s dad. I realize that the flashbacks were essential to setting up Macy’s character, but I wonder if they could have been executed in a way that didn’t bog down the beginning of the novel.
Heavy Description: There were whole pages of description that I sort of just skimmed. I have a low tolerance for description. I think a few well-worded sentences or no more than three descriptive details is enough, and then you allow the reader to fill in the rest based on the mood you’ve created. But that’s my personal taste.
At first I struggled to get into the book because realistic fiction isn’t really my genre and the beginning of the book is heavy with flashbacks and description. HOWEVER, I definitely got into the book with time and can say I enjoyed it and will read another by Sarah Dessen. Four Stars.