This is such a sweet and incredibly well developed story. This is the first time I've read anything by Aimee Friedman and all I can say is, "WOW!" I felt like she took such care to create the characters, to make them interesting, and to make the story real. The story is told through the eyes of Katie, a high school freshman whose family moves from NYC to a small town in upstate New York. Katie's always lived in the shadow of her older sister Michaela and the way each sister responds to the move is very different. Katie is not happy to be leaving NYC but Michaela adjusts really well to the move and a rift starts to grow between the sisters. Katie is resentful and feels left behind but Michaela seems quite liberated.
I enjoyed reading the story through Katie's eyes because I'm the older sister and I often fail to understand my younger sister (who is also three years younger than me, just like the characters). I thought that Friedman made these characters so real and believable. They seemed like very normal, balanced teens and no one was over-the-top. I really have to give her credit for writing a story where no one came off seeming like a caricature because I think it would have been really easy to create very black/white one-dimensional stereotypes and she totally did not do that. The problems that the girls face are also very relevant -- college, fitting in, boys, identity, personal relations. There's something so sweet and charming (and addicting!) about the writing. I really hated to put this book down because I felt like I was there (in Fir Lake, NY) and felt like I knew the characters. The parents and the other supporting characters, such as Emmaline, Autumn, and Jasper, were also very interesting. Definitely a novel I would recommend to anyone who loves reading YA chick-lit.