Author: Sarah Dessen
Published May 5th 2015 by Viking
Number of pages: Hardcover, 417 pages
My rating: 🌟 🌟 🌟
Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
Sydney is our main character and reading from her point of view was a pleasure. Although she wasn’t unique she was such a loveable person. She was smart and relateable and I loved watching her grow as a person and out of her brothers shadow.
The wonderful thing about Sydney is the amazing people surrounding her. I loved all her friends. The character development was amazing. They were all very fleshed out with quirks and likes and dislikes and aspirations. The works. This made for very fun dialogue and an althogether fun read.
The theme of this book is friendship and family . Which I love. I loved watching the very real family struggles. Although the situation was different and far fetched from your average teen these lessons can be applied to any situation and family. Praise Dessen for her ability to write such wonderful characters for our enjoyment.
UI hate that these lessons were then overshadowed by a pointless romance. The romance was unnecessary and I didn’t feel anything. Sure there are a few moments when I was like the “feels” but apart from that it didn’t click for me at all. It was all sudden. I did like how subtle it was so the whole story didn’t surround the romance but I think the story would’ve been better without it. Maybe then the bigger topics could’ve been dealt with.
What I really would’ve loved from this’s story is more depth. I think the main messages were skirted around and the issues weren’t faced full on. The book would’ve been a whole lot more meaningful. Oh well.
Dessen is clearly a competent writer. The dialogue is natural and the writing flows. It’s all very natural and nice. The voice of teenagers was very well captured. I just didn’t love it. Even though all evidence point to love.
The story had a very different plot and I stress again it was focused on family issues and tragedy. For the most part I was very sympathetic but apart from that the storyline was tame there was no drive to keep reading. There was nothing to really keep me flipping the page.
The story begins with Sydney’s brother – Peyton – being sent to jail for crippling a boy while drunk-driving. Sydney has to deal with the consequences. A very realistic view of how actions affect others. Sydney’s life is basically turned upside down because of her brother. She is suddenly pushed to the back and is basically invisible.
You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.
I know hon, I know.
The ending was too abrupt. It felt very rushed like Dessen just wanted it to be over but it really wasn’t. It didn’t feel like THE END.
Apart from the pacing and lack of a reason to actually read it was enjoyable. A fun but heavy read that’ll leave you raw. There are many lesssons and themes and Dessen manages to tell them beautifully… these lessons will stay with readers forever.