So, I guess I really have decided to make this “The Summer of Sarah Dessen,” as I’m going to (try to) read all of her books. Whether this will actually happen is pretty up in the air at this point, though…I’m not always the best at actually keeping the reading goals I set for myself.
Colie expects the worst when she’s sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television informercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast – first for being fat and then for being “easy” – Colie has no friends at home and doesn’t expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along.
This book was, unfortunately, a bit of a miss for me. When I first picked it up, I was really excited about it. I loved the premise – Colie’s journey towards self-acceptance and empowerment after a significant weight loss, overcoming bullying, etc. But somehow, it just didn’t live up to the expectations I already find myself having for a Sarah Dessen book. My experience with her other books, by the time I first put it down, after around 50 or 60 pages, I find myself thinking about the characters, their situations and relationships. I didn’t feel the same connection to these characters. While they had all of the quirky attributes that I normally enjoy, I found them to fall sort of flat for me. And the book’s message, which I would characterize as something along the lines of “girl power,” is certainly one that I could have really enjoyed in the right packaging, but which sort of missed its mark for me in this book.
So, while I can’t NOT recommend this book, especially to well-established fans of Dessen’s work, I would recommend this as an introduction to the author. Someone Like You would be a much better choice, in my opinion.