So, I am a BIG Sarah Dessen fan. Like, literally, a Sarah Dessen fan. I follow her on Twitter (@sarahdessen), obsessively read her blog where she muses about writing, motherhood, food, the beach, and UNC) and I love, love, love her books. My genre of choice seems to be realistic, contemporary fiction and Dessen always hits it spot on with the emotions girls face, the situations they're put into, and the love they feel SO intensely.
In this latest novel, we meet a girl who is completely and utterly lost in terms of knowing who she is and what she wants out of her life. Each time McClean moves to a new town with her restaurant-flipper dad, she reinvents herself and changes her name. She's been the quiet one, the overachiever, the popular girl, etc., always trying to escape her real life that includes a mom that had an affair, an eventual divorce between her parents, and a dad who can't even watch their favorite team play basketball anymore...something they've always bonded over.
This latest move begins the same as all the others: new restaurant, new house, new name, but McClean can't quite figure out who she wants to be in this town. She actually begins making real friends, including Dave, a guy who makes her think about herself in a way she's never quite managed to before. As time passes, McClean starts to be herself, forgive some people, and discover a lot about her family she never thought she could deal with.
I really liked McClean's character, as well as the supporting cast of smaller characters, especially McClean's dad. Something about him just felt really honest..a dad busy with work, but still totally loving his kid. and I LOVED all the yummy food talk. Fried pickles are delicious, so I was all over those.
The emotional impact Dessen is known for was definitely oozing out of the pages. You will be able to relate to McClean and what she thinks about herself and her family, and her relationship with her dad is really special. There's enough subtle humor in some of the dialog to keep things from getting too serious, which I appreciated, and which really lends this book to being a good summer read for teens.
Another winner from Sarah Dessen!
What Happened to Goodbye