Welcome to my second Sundays with Sarah!
“He wasn’t what I’d thought he was; maybe he never had been. I wasn’t what I’d thought I was, either.”
Synopsis from Goodreads: Scarlett was always the strong one. Halley was always content to follow in her wake. Then Scarlett’s boyfriend died, and Scarlett learned that she was pregnant. Now Halley has to find the strength to take the lead and help Scarlett get through it. Because true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
Feelings: Dessen’s books always have a clear beginning, middle, and end. (Except for That Summer…) I got so swept up in the lives of these characters. I love books that have that effect on me. I was on board their emotional rollercoaster right alongside them. I loved that this was a book about friendship, more than anything else. Everything circled back to the relationship that Scarlett and Halley had.
This book is full of juxtapositions and role reversals. Halley’s mom plays the role of both mother and daughter, as her own mother becomes ill. Scarlett’s mother wears the daughter hat more than the mom one in their house. Halley’s boyfriend pressures her to take their relationship to the next level, while the new man in Scarlett’s life, Cameron, is just a steady, friendly presence. Halley gets injured in a car accident after Scarlett’s boyfriend dies in a motorcycle accident. These ideas circle around, with different characters and different outcomes.
Issues: The beginning felt a little disjointed to me. Michael’s dead and it all just felt kind of oh…huh. I get that he and Scarlett had only been secretly dating, but still…a teenager died, everyone! After I got past that, the whole story picked back up for me.
Characters: Scarlett and Halley are the best of best friends. They’ve given me friend-envy and I almost want to just start this book back over in order to spend more time with them. They’re both so strong willed and trusting, outspoken and compassionate. I liked that Dessen painted a very real picture of pregnancy and all the struggles and joys from start to finish. The writing wasn’t about right or wrong, it was about what translated as real people struggling through real situations.
The boys in this book were sucky. Poor Michael seemed nice, but his best friend Macon is a lame-o. (Yep…I said that…you didn’t think people still used that term. You’d be…well, ok…you’d be right.) Macon seemed great at first – kind, googly eyed, with his cute little candy. Then he turned into a high school boy and I wanted to smack him. By the end, the story wasn’t truly about him anymore so it didn’t matter whether he would learn from his mistake or grow up any. Baby Grace was what mattered at that point. I was totally okay with that.
Comparisons: At this point, I’ve read a total of 4 Sarah Dessen books and this one is definitely my favorite. I thought the writing was much stronger in this book and I connected with the characters more. Her books center around topical issues – identity, lack of control, parents, friends – but I thought this one handled its central conflict the best.
Final thoughts: This book has so many great messages for teen girls. Sure, one of the main characters gets pregnant at 16, but she does make some wise choices. Some very real discussions happen all throughout this books. Heck, this would be great for moms of teenagers to read, too. Let’s just all read this one.
Pick this up if you liked:
This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
Goodreads rating: 3.94/5
Amazon.com rating: 4.6/5
My rating: 4.75/5
Happy reading! – Caitlyn