Sep 07, 10
Read in August, 2010
Echols creates wonderfully layered and beautifully flawed characters with great dialogue and action that pulls you in.
Zoey is dealing with many things in her life; her mother's illness, her father's abrasive and distant personality along with a pregnant young girlfriend, friends, boys, swim team and school. In desperation, after her mother is hospitalized she makes a terrible spur-of-the-moment decision. I found her choice to be a somewhat odd way of dealing with her stress and thought in the aftermath, when the boy she had just done it in a car with, went home with another girl, that she seemed to be purposely not seeing things clearly.
I understood the character of Zoey with her need to control her world the more she feels it spinning out of control. While I was irritated with her for seeing things the way she did, insisting Brandon was her boyfriend when it was obvious he was anything but, still I got why she was doing that. While it might be easy to say for a smart girl she seemed kind of stupid, I think she was preferring to see things the way she did, not that she was unable to comprehend the truth. With all that was going on, she believed that if she could be seen as the girlfriend of the perfect guy(although she already knew he was far from perfect, especially where girls were concerned), the mess of her family might be ignored or not given too much importance. Knowing her classmates were going to be talking about her, she tried to choose what they might be saying by her own actions. Not saying she actually had this thought process, but it is what she actually set out to do, even if she was hiding her true motives from herself.
Doug is the real star of this story and I'm basing my rating more on his story than Zoey's. He was a great friend to her, even if she didn't want him for a friend for much of the story. I could feel his heart break a bit when she didn't remember what had happened between them and so treated him coldly. I don't agree that Zoey says Doug is manipulative and controlling and I didn't see that in him. The person trying hardest to control everything and manipulate people seemed to me to be Zoey. Yes, he did stop her from doing something that she'd regret and would make her more unhappy, but he did it to protect her and to keep her to himself. I think I'd have enjoyed this story more had it been told from Doug's point of view instead of Zoey's. When we get his side of things, it's much more interesting and I was more hoping for him to get a happy ending than Zoey.
I really enjoy Echols writing style, even if this one was a bit off for me.