Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she’s devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
So. I thought I would like this book because it sounded more tragic than Dessen’s other novels, and I tend to like her books when they do that.
I. Was. Wrong.
Based on the publishing date, this was the second book Dessen ever wrote as an official author. It’s amazing really, how much an author can grow in the time that their fans know them. If you look at Dessen’s style now and her style then, you can clearly see all the ways that she grows as a writer–and it’s fascinating. But back to the book.
When I cracked this book open, I was initially very surprised. The book started out unlike any other that I’d read of Dessen’s before. The thing that annoyed me in the very beginning was the lack of emotion. Scarlett’s boyfriend is dead. And Halley’s just… there. Nobody seems incredibly fazed at this emotional turn of events! Halley’s mom is upset by Halley coming back home early, but she certainly doesn’t act like it when Halley gets home. And as for someone dying in the community, there wasn’t a whole lot of drama with that. No memorial, no town mourning, no nothing.
But no matter. I kept on reading.
Things seemed to be going pretty generically based on the frame of most of Dessen’s work. Come back. Meet the boy. Fall in love. But it was all happening more quickly than usual. And I hated Macon. For most of Dessen’s works, if I don’t like one of the main characters–it’s mostly the girl and not the guy. Dessen’s guys are, for the most part, cool, sweet and generally likable people–but no, this time it was Macon that I really just loathed.
Turns out it was for a reason! I really liked how Dessen showed a lot of good lessons here and displayed how relationships can quickly turn from one thing to another. This twist was great and while I wasn’t entirely not expecting it, it was still a nice turn away from the way Dessen normally goes.
All in all, this book was okay for me. I liked how Dessen shied away a little from her normal feel-good, happy stories (which I do enjoy) and it was fun to see how it turned out. Despite the little things I didn’t like about this book, it was still 2.5 stars for me. Hope to see better things in THAT SUMMER, Dessen’s first novel, but we’ll see.
As you guys may know, I’ve decided to reread all the books that Dessen has ever wrote offically so that I may achieve some sort of better understanding of her novels. To see all my Sarah Dessen reviews, look up those Dessen books though in the search box.
pg count for the paperback: 281