One Sentence Review: A book with a slow plot but characters that might as well be real, this book is a classic coming-of-age story that I enjoyed but didn’t love quite as much as I thought I would.
Sydney's handsome, charismatic older brother, Peyton, has always dominated the family, demanding and receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention. And when Peyton's involvement in a drunk driving episode sends him to jail, Sydney feels increasingly rootless and invisible, worried that her parents are unconcerned about the real victim: the boy Peyton hit and seriously injured. Meanwhile, Sydney becomes friends with the Chathams, a warm, close-knit, eccentric family, and their friendship helps her understand that she is not responsible for Peyton's mistakes. Once again, the hugely popular Sarah Dessen tells an engrossing story of a girl discovering friendship, love, and herself. (Summary by Amazon)
Oh, I wanted so desperately to fall in love with this book. I kept up hope that it would get better, reach the amazing heights I had hoped it would get to, and it’s not that it fell totally flat, but it didn’t prove to be quite as exciting and mind-blowing as I anticipated.
This book’s strong suit was by far the characters. Each one of them was unfairly realistic and relatable, and I fell head over heels in love with Mac. He was the light this book needed: the glowing torch that kept me turning the page until the very end.
Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely adored Sydney too. I related to her a lot more than I have a lot of characters in other books, and witnessing her transformation and development was another aspect this novel definitely had going for it. I loved how she changed, how her confidence grew throughout the story, and how she found her place by making a big change.
Where I was disappointed in this book was the plot. The first 250 pages were so, so slow, and I was agonizing over when stuff would actually start to happen. After the slow pace of the first 60% of the book, I was really hoping the climax would make up for it by breaking and mending my heart (a weird thing to say, I know, but such is the way with books). But even the climax didn’t bring as much emotion as I had hoped it would; it certainly was exciting, but I was hoping it would take the story to a new level that this book just never reached.
Dessen’s writing was another aspect of this book I loved. Simple and elegant, it made the story flow beautifully, and you can bet I’ll be reading more of her books despite the slight disappointment this particular piece brought.
Overall, I did like this book: the perfection of the characters almost makes up for where the plot was lacking. I do recommend this book if you’re looking for a fantastic new book boyfriend, through ;).
Make sure to come back next Wednesday for a new review!