Rating: 4 Stars
Published: May 5, 2015
Genre: Young Adult // Contemporary
“It was amazing to feel so at home in a place I’d only just come to. The night was not even close to over yet. Still, I could think of nothing but how I so very much did not want it to end.”
Summary taken from Goodreads:
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.
I don’t think it’s possible for me to not like a Sarah Dessen book. I ended up buying this the day it came out even though I told myself I wouldn’t. Then I ended up reading it soon after even though I told myself I would wait until after I moved. Oops.
I will read Dessen sight unseen. I can’t imagine her writing a bad book and I’m so curious about the books she writes that haven’t been published (I think she said somewhere that for every book of hers that IS published, she writes one that doesn’t). I wish I could read those, too.
“You only really fall apart in front of the people you know can piece you back together.”
- Sydney and Mac Chatham are adorable. *squee*
- Actually, I loved all of the Chathams. They seemed like such an awesome family. Down to Earth, quirky, and beautiful people.
- Peyton’s best friend, , was creepy for sure but I feel like it should have been made a little bit more a big deal than it was. Because it should have been a way big deal. I know it wasn’t the focus of the book, but that’s not something you can just throw in there.
- I also really liked the concept of Saint Anything. And I don’t mean the book. I liked that for someone who wasn’t religious, they wore a saint necklace and used it as a symbol of what they want it to mean.
- It kind of bothered me that they have made up products. Like YumYums instead of DumDums. Is it really that big of a deal that it needs to be changed? It just makes it seem like it’s in a different world than ours. And does it really need to be? I mean, I get copyright, etc. I digress. It just bothered me.
- Love love love the cover with the carousel. I’m so happy there isn’t a girl on the cover and instead there’s just an object.
- Sarah Dessen is very quotable. She’s also the queen of relatability. She takes these characters that have problems, some of which you’ve never had to deal with yourself, and makes them think and feel in a way that has you realize you’re the same. It makes you remember that no matter how different someone may seem to you, there’s probably more than a few things you have in common.
“You get to used to people being a certain way; you depend on it. And when they surprise you, for better or worse, it can shake you to your core.”
Because there is a reference to This Lullaby, I’m just going to leave it here. Page 357: “Winner gets to record a real demo with Hambone Records. That’s where Truth Squad and Spinnerbait started out.” “Hate Spinnerbait,” Mac said.
I read this books months ago, and I haven’t been able to figure out how to write the review for it. I think I now know why. It wasn’t spectacular. It didn’t wow me. Don’t get me wrong, it was very enjoyable to read and I’ll always pick up a Dessen book. But I don’t think back on how good it was or how much I liked it. I do that with books I love but I didn’t fall in love with this. There were moments I loved, sure. I could relate to how Sydney felt about her family at times. It was a good read and I’m happy to have read it. But’s it just not one of those books that I’m going to tell people they HAVE to read. You won’t be disappointed if you pick it up but you won’t be ecstatic, either. At least I wasn’t.
“It was easier to just be mad at my mom; sympathy and empathy are complicated things.”
What did you think? Did you like this book more than I did? Are you a Sarah Dessen fan? I know a lot of people still name The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby as their favorites (they’re mine, too), but did you enjoy this one?