This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Welcome to my newest blog post series: Sundays with Sarah! I decided it was high time I read through all of Sarah Dessen’s books and I can’t wait to share my thoughts with you. 

“Love is needing someone. Love is putting up with someone’s bad qualities because they somehow complete you.”

this lullaby

Synopsis from GoodreadsWhen it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?

Feelings: I don’t love this book. I liked how Remy’s relationship with her mother deepens by the end of the book; they finally really understand each other. I liked how Dexter was a decent person – no jerks or two faced losers as the love interests, where the girl settles for someone who makes her feel pretty or whatever. I liked that the whole tone of the book changed by the final page. But I didn’t love it. Ok, I really liked it. I’m not gushing about it…but the more I think about it, the more I realize that I liked it. Okay…I have a broader vocabulary, I promise.

Issues: Remy’s negative, cynical attitude was hard to hurdle over. When I read a summer lovin’ type book like this, I want to be gripped from the get-go and I want to feel like I’m spending time with a friend. Remy was not that character for me. I didn’t understand her, I didn’t connect with her…but I liked the real Remy that was hiding under all those layers in the end. It just took a long time to find her and its worth it to stick this book out to the end so you can meet her.

Characters: In the beginning, we had negative complainy Remy, then her mom entered the scene and she kind of balanced things out, being so different from Remy. In the end, one thing I ended up liking about Remy is how she took her life into her own hands. She realized that Dexter couldn’t fix her and she wouldn’t be able to pour herself into fixing her mom’s problems, so she had no choice but to face her own reality and deal with it head on. And she did just that. She recognizes the differences in the people closest to her and instead of seeing them as things to fix or straighten up, she finds the value in their uniqueness. I also liked how protective she was of her friends and her family. She’s not about to be a wallflower, watching the world go by. She’s a powerful heroine and role model for teenage girls (and other readers of YA chick lit.) She has a past, yes, but she decides to leave those things behind her, where they belong. She learns from her mistakes and grows as a result.

I think Dexter is so great. He is so unabashedly himself – lanky and awkward and wonderful. I love his pursuit of Remy, despite the walls she’d put up to keep him out. He blends into different situations well, but in the end, he’s still just Dexter. He’s the sunshine to Remy’s cloudy skies, you know? He really balanced her out and made the book a lot easier to read in those denser moments.

Remy’s friends were a breath of fresh air. We didn’t get the friend group from clone-town, where they’re all the same and they all blend together in your mind. Each one stood out and had their own, individual take on the world. They fought and called each other out, but would also go to bat for each other (or throw Diet Zips at a jerk’s car for Remy.) They cussed and drank and smoked…different from other BFFs in contemporary chick-lit. I kind of liked that. I never knew what I was going to get from them.

Final thoughts: In the end, this book is entertaining and has that Dessen charm and quirkiness, but there’s some cynicism you have to trudge through. However, I think it’s worth seeing through to the end.

Pick this up if you liked:

The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (my favorite of her books that I’ve read)

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han

Goodreads rating: 4.04/5

Amazon.com rating: 4.4/5

My rating: 4.25/5

Happy reading! – Caitlyn

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