Ahhh.... I just love, love, loved this book! I finished it last night before bed and could not stop thinking about it. As my GR friend Maja said, the book was great throughout, but the last 20% of the book knocked me off my feet. Talk about love story... wow!
Now, that being said, this book was not a "love story" in the traditional sense. In fact, much of the book was about the very disfunctional family that Julie found herself living with during her freshman year in college, when her planned housing fell through. From the Amazon.com description:
Something is seriously off in the Watkins home. And Julie Seagle, college freshman, small-town Ohio transplant, and the newest resident of this Boston house, is determined to get to the bottom of it. When Julie's off-campus housing falls through, her mother's old college roommate, Erin Watkins, invites her to move in. The parents, Erin and Roger, are welcoming, but emotionally distant and academically driven to eccentric extremes. The middle child, Matt, is an MIT tech geek with a sweet side ... and the social skills of a spool of USB cable. The youngest, Celeste, is a frighteningly bright but freakishly fastidious 13-year-old who hauls around a life-sized cardboard cutout of her oldest brother almost everywhere she goes.
And there's that oldest brother, Finn: funny, gorgeous, smart, sensitive, almost emotionally available. Geographically? Definitely unavailable.
I could really relate to Julie's character - with her absent father who was so clueless that he didn't understand that his absence was affecting Julie (sounded a bit too familiar). And the goofy, nerdy shirts that Matt wore,,, totally my husband! I didn't know what to make of the whole use of Facebook status updates at first, but they became so funny and smart that it was endearing to me. The dialogue was brilliant. Jessica Park is a gifted writer indeed! One of my favorite scenes was a drunken phone call between Julie and Matt,, it was so hilarious that I was laughing out loud and my family wondered what the heck was wrong with me ;)
Although I saw the "secret" coming at a little over halfway through the book, I was not completely sure and the reveal was still impactful, and was more than expected! I read a review that someone said this book was more about the journey, than the secrets or the events,,, and yes, it was about the journey. It was about Julie's journey, and Celeste's journey.
I will end this gushing review with some of my favorite dialog that really exemplifies this story.
"But that's what love does to you. Gut-wrenching, overpowering, crushing, fulfilling, complex, bring-you-to-your-knees love."