Published May 5, 2015
Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
It is no secret that I loooooove Sarah Dessen (GO HEELS!!!). This is her newest and I was so glad that I got to see her again at my conference and catch up. Seriously, she is the coolest person ever! This book definitely did not disappoint. Sydney is living in the shadows of her older brother Peyton and the mistakes that he has made. While he is away serving time, she is forced to come to grips with who she is, what her life has become, and how she will move forward. Being a teenager is hard enough, but add on a brother in jail, his best friend who gave even me the creeps, a mom who totally doesn't get it (in ANY way, shape or form), and a family who ends up being Sydney's saving grace, and you fall into the story and find yourself wanting to wrap your arms around Sydney and help her figure out life however you can.
The honesty and raw emotion that I felt while reading were a true testament to Sarah's writing and her ability to suck you into a story and become invested in the character's lives. While being a teenager is tough on most all of us, it is often hard to realize that no matter which side of the tracks you are on or what your life is like, we all experience trials of all shapes and sizes.
Like Sarah Dessen's other novels, this one will suck you in and take you on an emotional roller coaster while having you beg for more. And I have to say, the ending is perfection. The last like... wow. Enjoy!