I really enjoyed this book. I feel like, if I had read this book when I was in high school, it would have become a favorite. It would have been one of the books that I read and reread until the pages were worn thin and dog-eared. Reading it now, it made me feel a tremendous sense of nostalgia. Which I think is maybe one of the reasons why I’ve turned to the YA genre at this point in my life, to be honest.
I LOVED the beginning of this book. Halley is at summer camp when she gets a middle-of-the-night phone call from her best friend, Scarlett. She’s calling because her first love, boyfriend Michael has died in a car accident and she needs Halley to come home. As the reader, you’re thrown into the middle of these girls’ lives, and yet, the way Dessen describes them, you already feel like you know everything you really need to know about their friendship. It made me ache for the same kind of friendship in my own life, to be honest.
I would have really related to Halley’s dynamic with her parents. I went through a similar transformation from “mom as cool best friend” to “mom wants to stop me from having any fun and/or control what fun I do have.” I also had a father figure very similar to Halley’s, my step-father, who was always the peacemaker, and always managed to make me feel better when my mom and I butted heads.
I also found myself sort of relating to Halley’s relationship with Macon (who, can I say, may just have the most unfortunate name in the history of YA literature. Like, ever). I found it really surprising and refreshing to find myself relating to their relationship, because it almost never happens. It’s a testament to Dessen’s ability to depict a high-school relationship in a realistic, and not totally romanticized way.
I feel like I’m just going to start thinking of this summer as “The Summer of Sarah Dessen,” because all I want to do right now is start another one of her books…