I absolutely LOVED Sarah Dessen when I was in high school, but it’s been a long time since I picked up one of her books. So, when I saw that this one was being released soon, I made sure to grab it. Dessen does not disappoint! This book is filled with characters who are strong, and make the kinds of changes that teenagers really make as they come of age. In fact, one scene involves Emaline– the main character– having a heated discussion with her mother about moving to college, and as I read it I could perfectly picture the exact same discussion I had with my mom the summer before I left for high school. I liked this book because of those real changes and relationships.
That being said, I feel like the book could have been much shorter. There was a lot of back story thrown in that didn’t need to be there. For example, you see Emaline’s good friend, Morris, moving slowly on the job, only doing the things he’s told exactly, and getting fired. Instead of putting in a brief sentence about how “That’s the fourth job this summer!” or something along those lines, we get a page of backstory about how Morris has always been unmotivated, and what that means for his future, and what it’s done to his past. It felt like the first 50-60 pages were backstory.
Additionally, the style in which much of the story was written just wasn’t my cup of tea. Oftentimes there would be a turning point at the end of a chapter, and then at the start of the next chapter you would find yourself dumped 24 hours later, and then would get filled in as Emaline pondered what happened after the change. It was definitely unique, but to me it felt like I was left hanging too often.
And finally, I loved the ending. For more on why, check out the spoiler section of my Goodreads review. I would recommend this book to anyone who is looking for a good read with very real characters and relationships.