Audience: YA Contemporary Romance
Length: 384 pages
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books
Release Date: June 16th, 2009
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.
These were some tough parents to read about. A Dad who brought me to rage induced rants because of his lack of care for his wife and new baby. A Mom who was incredibly stubborn and seemed incapable of seeing other’s view points and was constantly passive aggressive. And they honestly brought the story down for me. I was expecting to see some growth from them (and for Auden to talk it out) but I don’t feel like that happened enough at the end to be satisfied.
I enjoyed the story overall. It’s very much classic/older YA and that’s part of it’s charm. I purely picked this up to watch the movie and am not upset that I did. I liked the friendships that Auden was able to develop. I especially loved her step-mom. Instead of being the usual trope of awfulness, she was a woman stuck in a rough post-partum situation and I liked that they leaned on one another (even if Auden wouldn’t recognize it).
The romance was very lackluster. Honestly it almost felt as if there wasn’t one? It’s a slow burn with little page time. I would have loved a lot more of Eli and how he could have better factored into the story.
A formulaic YA contemporary that is, ya know, perfectly fine.
Overall audience notes:
- YA Contemporary Romance
- Language: a little
- Romance: make-outs
- Violence: low
- Trigger/Content Warnings: teacher/student relationship mentioned (side character), cheating, alcohol consumption, post-partum depression, loss of a friend (side character, but plays central role)