I enjoy reading Sarah Dessen’s books. They have beautiful covers and there’s something warm and comforting about them, despite the fact that all her books follow the same basic storyline: teenage girl with family/personal issues which mean that she doesn’t let people get close to her, rocks up in a new town and meets a cute boy next door who eventually leads to her letting her guard down and resolving her issues.
This book is no different, it is entirely predictable; you know exactly what is going to happen from the beginning, you know what issues the main character Mclean will face and you know exactly how those issues will be resolved. However, for a reason I can’t quite put my finger on, it is still enjoyable to read. I think this is because Dessen writes friendships and slow burn relationships so well. It’s enjoyable watching the relationships build slowly and unfurl.
I always find it hard to believe that her lead females are so reticent to jump into relationships with the cute boy next door figures. The boys are always so sweet and perfect, with slight issues of their own which make them more sensitive and interesting. As a teenage girl, I certainly wouldn’t have been able to resist a boy like that even if my family life was screwed up.
In this book the boy next door is Dave a child genius with over-protective parents who just wants to spend a year being normal. He’s not quite as compelling a character as the boys in some of her other books, but he’s nice and sweet and a good foil for Mclean.
Dessen’s books are a warm summery hug, they never do anything particularly new or different, but what they do they do very well.