Before I get to the actual review part of this, I just want to forewarn everyone: there will be lots and lots of gushing. I cannot say enough good thi...more Before I get to the actual review part of this, I just want to forewarn everyone: there will be lots and lots of gushing. I cannot say enough good things about this book! Every part of it from the spectacular main character to another dreamy Dessen boy; the music, oh the music, come one, who doesn’t love a book with a huge music influence? The list really goes on and on. Sarah manages to create funny, honest genuine characters with real issues ranging from dysfunctional families to holding in deep, dark secrets. If it weren’t for the amazingness of The Truth About Forever, then Just Listen would be my number one Sarah Dessen read!
Annabel Greene is one of my favorite Sarah Dessen characters, ever! She doesn’t come off as too harsh or uptight. She isn’t extremely outgoing or closed up in her own self-built walls. She falls somewhere in the middle. As the youngest of 3, Annabel has learned to be the crowd pleaser. If Kirsten, her eldest sister, was making a huge deal about something extremely small and Whitney, the middle sister, was so closed-off you couldn’t help but worry about her, than Annabel worked hard to neither say too much or too less. This was something I could so easily relate to. Trying to find your own special place in a family with such strong personalities can be hard. I really empathized with Annabel when it came to this.
This however, is only the start of Annabel’s family issues. Years before Annabel’s mother suffered from a depression when she lost her own mom. The only thing that saved her through this hard time was putting the three girls into modeling. At first it worked out great between all three sisters. Soon though, pressure started building and the issues started flowing. Kirsten found it hard to keep a balance between college and modeling, Whitney began eating less and less to keep up with the “image” of being a model, and yet again Annabel found herself doing her best to be good in school, modeling, and at home to make up for the damage her sisters have done. Things for Annabel were much worse than she let on. She was beginning to hate modeling, she has lost yet another friendship, and there is a deep secret that she likes to keep hidden away.
Let me start by saying that I have never read a relationship between sisters that seemed so real. I have three sisters so you could consider me an expert. You could tell that these three loved each other but no one is perfect. Sisters push your buttons, get on your nerves, and make you want to pull your hair out at some points. At the end of the day, they were there for each other when it really counted. No family is perfect and we all have our issues and Sarah Dessen portrayed the perfect dysfunctional family quite effortlessly.
Annabel’s saving grace during this hard time is Owen Armstrong. This big, tough guy is the last person Annabel expected to reach out a helping hand to her. As time goes on these two find that their time is best spent arguing about music. I love how much music plays a part in this book. To say that Owen is obsessed with music is an understatement. I loved how passionate Owen was with music. Owen’s personality comes off as brutally honest but for Annabel, this is exactly what she needs. She has kept so many secrets while trying to keep everyone happy that she really needs Owen’s honesty to rub off on her.
I love the relationship between these two. Owen isn’t the type of guy you can see a pretty, popular (or in Annabel’s case “used to be” popular) girl with. He has anger issues, point proven when he punched a guy in a parking lot a year before the story takes place. But the thing about Owen is he works through his problems. He helps Annabel grow so much but more importantly he is just there for her especially when she needs a friend the most. Owen is just such a great guy, I kind of want him for myself. He isn’t the “hottest” guy in school, (definitely not the ugly guy either. I would call him quietly handsome!) but his passion for music, funny yet honest way with words, and deep caring he has for others more than makes up for that.
I am sorry that this review turned out to be a giant gush fest but I just couldn’t help myself. There are just so many good aspects to talk about. The relationships and characters are real and lovable. At some points you will be laughing at Owen’s honesty or feel yourself wanting to comfort Annabel in her time of need, most importantly, you will fall in love with another Sarah Dessen novel, I guarantee it! (less)
As my favorite book by Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever, is a little bit difficult to write a review on without me gushing every two seconds. Eve...more As my favorite book by Sarah Dessen, The Truth About Forever, is a little bit difficult to write a review on without me gushing every two seconds. Every aspect of this book is amazing to me. The characters all have unique quirks and show such personality and growth. The lessons that the main character learns are all purely fabulous. And last but not least, the love interest is just HOT in this story!
Never have I read a book with so many fabulous characters! The main character, Macy, is a girl you can’t help but feel for. A year and a half after her father’s death she is constantly struggling with being perfect, thinking that perfection will make the situation better. Being the perfect daughter for her workaholic mother and being a perfect girlfriend for over-achieving boyfriend. When Jason, her boyfriend, calls the relationship off, Macy’s whole world turns upside down. She then clings to the wacky, un-organized, yet completely lovable group of Wish Catering. Everyone welcomes Macy with open arms and she soon makes some great friends. Delia, owner of Wish Catering is the mother figure that Macy needs. She is sweet, cares deeply for those that she loves (including Macy), and is always understanding. Delia’s nephews, Wes & Bert are two characters that you will absolutely adore. Bert is this nerdy, intense little brother figure. Some of the things he says are off the wall, he is always talking way too loudly, and he drives an ambulance christened with the name “Bertmobile.” His adorkable personality just flies off the pages! Bert’s older brother and the main love interest in the story, Wes, is just….ah-ah-ah-amazing! Tall, dark, handsome, artistic, deep, understanding, are all just a few words to explain the brilliance that is known as Wes. Two sisters that are also co-workers at Wish Catering, Kristy and Monica, are two extremely different people who add a ton of humor to this story. Kristy is flamboyant, out-spoken, and an all-around sweet heart. She instantly becomes a good friend to Macy. Monica doesn’t say a whole lot, heck she doesn’t do a whole lot either, but without her character, you would miss the fierce protectiveness that Kristy has for those she loves. All these characters together causes for some chaotic, funny, and all around memorable moments!
My favorite part about Sarah Dessen books are the hardships that her main characters go through and the life lessons they take from them. By far the biggest struggle for Macy is the loss of her dad and all the issues that followed it. Because of his tragic passing, she becomes obsessed with being perfect. Meeting her friends at Wish Catering shows her that there is no such thing as perfect. In fact every imperfect moment makes all those great moments, so much better. Because of them she learns to let loose, think about what she truly wants and who she truly wants to be and is finally able to start living her own life. Every time I saw Macy breaking out of her neat little shell, a little more each time, I did a happy dance. It was so exciting to see a character grow and learn so much!
Sarah Dessen books are definitely known for their great characters, and life lessons, but don’t let that fool you. Her books are full of hotties (and for many, including myself, that is enough to keep you coming back to her books again and again)!!! As I already explained, Wes is basically the perfect guy. He has this bad-boy past but has learned to turn his life around to help take care of Bert. He works hard, makes mistakes, takes care of loved ones, and makes me fall in love every time I read The Truth About Forever. I don’t know what it is about him that makes me practically drool every time I re-read this book. It could be that he sounds hot; it could be that he is such a great friend to Macy, or who knows; maybe it is because he expresses his feelings through art. Now I could keep on listing superb, wonderful things about Wes but I’ll spare you. To make a long story, short, Wes is a winner!
Sarah outdid herself with this one. It could be that it was the first book of hers that I read, it could be that the characters are remarkable, the situations are real, funny, and intense, or that the love interest is perfectly imperfect, whatever the reason may be, one thing is for sure, this is a must read book! I cannot stress it enough. Go to the book store; go to the library; swipe (or borrow) a copy from a friend. Just go read The Truth About Forever…Now!
Sarah Dessen created another outstanding book with This Lullaby. Staying true to form with relatable main characters, an amazing guy, and several issu...moreSarah Dessen created another outstanding book with This Lullaby. Staying true to form with relatable main characters, an amazing guy, and several issues that many can associate with, there is no doubt in my mind that many will come to love this book.
Remy is not your average girl. She has crazy-good grades, a tough, bad-girl attitude, and a special formula she uses to push boyfriends away. After watching her mother’s marriages fail, one right after another, Remy has become as cold-hearted as they come. She likes to think she is out-smarting love by pushing guys away before they can do serious damage. If she avoids love, she also avoids hurt. This all changes when Dexter bumps into her life (quite literally, in fact). He goes against all of her general rules for dating. He is unorganized, a total goof-ball, in a band, and worst of all, he makes Remy feels things that she has never felt in past relationships. In true Remy form, she ends things with Dexter right before they are about to get serious but due to a series of events, he becomes the one loose-end she doesn’t want to leave behind before she jets off to school. Add to this story, an eccentric mother entering yet another marriage, a wacky brother turned responsible due to a new love, an issue with her late father and the one and only thing, a song, he left behind for her, and three amazing friends, and Remy’s life is more complicated than she even realizes.
It says a lot about an author when they can create a cold, bitter character with an all-around bad attitude, yet still make her completely lovable for readers. I will admit, Remy’s personality and views on love are a little harsh and hard to take for hopeless romantics such as myself, but I still found myself cheering for her. I wanted so badly for her to wake up and finally smell the roses; I wanted her to find what true love really is whether it lasts forever or not. When she is with Dexter (a completely amazing guy of whom I will be gushing over in just a bit) you saw her let her guard down. She felt things, did things, and believed in things that she never had before. It was such an amazing transformation even if Remy refused to see the changes that she made.
Dexter, oh my, Dexter…. he is one of my dream guys. I am a lover of all things music and in turn means that I totally fall for guys in a band all the time. There is just something about their look, their talent, and even their confidence. Dexter fits all the roles of a perfect lead singer. He is cute in a kind of nerdy, gangly way. He exudes confidence and his personality as a total goofball makes him pretty easy to love. At first Remy is irritated by his easy going personality and tendencies to say whatever is on his mind, however, it is small quirks like that, that make them such a good match. They truly equal each other out. Remy’s level-headiness and ways of thinking balance out Dexter’s spur-of-the-moment plans and over-all goofiness. She makes him a little more responsible (without changing his funny personality) and he makes her more easy-going (while still keeping her blunt attitude that is actually pretty funny).
Remy would be a tough character to really love if it weren’t for the relationship that she has with her three good friends, Lissa, Jess, and Chloe. She may be able to keep guys at a distance, but with these three girls, it is a different story. Lissa is a bit of a softie in this book. She is what I would consider the baby in the group, not because she whines and cries, but because she feels things so strongly. Jess is definitely the mother of the group. She goes out and has fun with the girls, but is responsible enough to not drink and get everyone home safely. Chloe is a character very similar to Remy. She is a little heart-breaker with a mean streak similar to the main character. While looking at them separately, these cast of characters seem like they could be hard to love and annoying, but together, in this story, they are magic! Their friendship is portrayed in such realistic way. I could picture one of my friends being similar to Jess or another being similar to Lissa. Sarah Dessen proves again that she truly is a wiz when it comes to creating amazing side characters.
The things that Remy goes through in this story are not as serious as some of Sarah Dessen’s other novels. An eccentric, mother with a bad marriage habit and an absent father have made her life less-than perfect. Her mother’s ability to fall in and out of love rather quickly has made Remy grow up and become more mature sooner than most people her age. Her father, being a dead musician, left nothing behind for Remy except an empty void, some money for school, and an over-played song about letting her down. Remy likes to think she is tough because she can deal with this crazy, whacked up life she has, but in reality, the guard she puts up is only making her seem weaker. It is finally, when her tough-girl exterior starts breaking down, that we see admiral strength in her.
This Lullaby is a book that will make you believe in falling in love. With an outstanding cast of characters, including a hard-ass girl and a dorky, lovable guy; problems that people young and old can relate to today; and Sarah Dessen’s brilliant writing style, this book is another must-read (I am still waiting for a Sarah Dessen novel that isn’t an must-read), that will leave you wanting to hear more of Remy and Dexter’s story.
Leaving Paradise is another fantastic book. It is a story of a girl struggling through the after math of a hit and run accident. It just so happens th...moreLeaving Paradise is another fantastic book. It is a story of a girl struggling through the after math of a hit and run accident. It just so happens that the driver of the car is her next door neighbor. The two ultimately get a job working for the same woman and spend their days trying to deal with all of the extra damage that the accident caused them. The two work to get over their damaging past and realize they have more in common than they think.(less)
Return to Paradise is the perfect fairytale ending to one twisted love story. Maggie and Caleb are forced to join a Re-START program together after sp...moreReturn to Paradise is the perfect fairytale ending to one twisted love story. Maggie and Caleb are forced to join a Re-START program together after spending nearly a year apart. The program is designed to help people with issues of reckless driving, to come to terms with the past. But of course for Maggie and Caleb it’s a different story. The two are forced to evaluate what actually happened on the fateful night of Maggie's, and figure out if they have what it takes to trust each other again. If you are looking for a really good, quick read, then Leaving Paradise and Return to Paradise are the perfect books for you!
This is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry which is a book in my top 10 for sure. Perfect Chemistry follows a Mexican gang-banger named Alex Fuentes as h...moreThis is the sequel to Perfect Chemistry which is a book in my top 10 for sure. Perfect Chemistry follows a Mexican gang-banger named Alex Fuentes as he falls in love with an unlikely person, Brittney, the non-Mexican head cheerleader. Rules of Attraction is about Alex's younger brother named Carlos who is shipped off to Colorado to live with Alex. While there he gets himself into some "trouble" with Kiara, a girl he just happens to live with. The book has the same great qualities of Perfect Chemistry. Honestly, these two books make me want to meet a real-live Fuentes brother and keep him for myself. (less)
The characters were extremely interesting, the plot is something I have never even heard of before, and the underlining theme of the story was touchin...moreThe characters were extremely interesting, the plot is something I have never even heard of before, and the underlining theme of the story was touching. I have never been one for sad books so you would think that a book about depression and suicide wouldn't be up my alley. However, this book uses a huge range of characters and some extremely awkward moments to make it enjoyable with just the right amount of humor.(less)