Briana's Reviews > This Lullaby

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
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's review
Apr 13, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: all-time-favorites, can-i-marry-your-writing

I've read this book at least once a year since I was 14, and it still remains my favorite book ever. Nothing's changed. If anything, I love it even more each time.

Dessen at her absolute best.

Updated July 2015

The most common complaint about Sarah Dessen is her classic formulaic stories that have become, well, her trademark. Her signature novel, usually a coming of age story, consists of: family dysfunction, a dash of romance and self discovery, often over the course of a summer, through the perspective of a likeable and relatable heroine. BOOM--Classic Dessen.

While I can certainly agree to an extent with the above, all the above is also everything I enjoy in a YA novel, so no complaints here from a forever loyal Dessen fangirl.

But to everyone who believes that all her novels are the same, every book a repetition of the last, well, I don't think you've read this one. I appreciate every MC she's given us thus far, however similar or interchangeable you may find them, but Remy is nothing at all like the others.

Like I said, I'm a huge Dessen fan and I love every work of hers published, but I truly believe this is Sarah at her absolute best. Remy is complicated, stubborn, cynical, what many would even call "unlikeable" which is what makes her my favorite of all. Not only does her authenticity ring true on every page and in every bit of dialogue, but there's just something about the way the story is written that makes it stand out amongst the others. Dessen just has a knack for off-handedly describing something so trivial in such an insightful way that hits you, resonating so deeply with you, you find yourself bookmarking pages and passages or committing the wording to memory because you realize it's a feeling you've always felt but could never put into words or never even thought to put into words before.

The romance is also unconventional, especially by Dessen standards. The love interest here is Remy's total opposite; he's quirky, easygoing, silly and lovable. Above all, he's a musician aka a deal breaker. In most novels even outside of Dessen's, we're given a totally perfect boy. Tall, dark and handsome; the ideal. And while I love to swoon over a Ken as much as the next girl, there's just something enticing and exciting and heartwarming about watching a reluctant girl fall in love with the person she least expects. (I'm all for that trope ANY day!)

I reread This Lullaby annually, preferably in the summer and will continue to do so, however, this year marked ten years since I discovered this book. I was fourteen years old and instead of getting an allowance like most of my friends would, my mom would take my brother and I to the mall or wherever and let us pick out something for our good behavior (yeah right) or mostly so we would keep occupied and stop nagging 24/7. Usually I'd go with those 3-pack magazine bundles of Tiger Beat, J-14 and Teen Bop along with a CD (I wanted to be a magazine editor at this time) but after browsing the magazine and music section at Target, I was annoyed I had already gotten every anticipated new release earlier that month. So I wandered into the book section. I'd always been a reader, but junior high is evil and, well, I hadn't picked up a book in a while but something about two covers I saw on the shelf drew my attention. The first one pictured two pairs of feet on the beach, the other a hand holding a flower petal(?..idk) (YA covers have come a long way since 2005, huh?). I read the back of both and after much contemplation, I picked up This Lullaby. It didn't occur to me until a few years later as I was thinking back on that off-chance of me wandering in the book isle that I probably could have gotten both. (My mom def wouldn't have discouraged it.) And, well, the rest is history.

This might seem stupid or kind of weird to some of you, but this is one of the most vivid moments in my life that I can recall and that I'm thankful for--unknowingly picking up what would become my absolute favorite book for the very first time. It's a good memory to have anyway. Had I picked up Someone Like You instead that day, I undoubtedly still would have discovered and loved This Lullaby but the fact that I hadn't and that by chance (or fate), this was my first Dessen book, the introduction to a crucial part of my adolescence, makes it all the more special to me.

I didn't set out to write this much (embarrassing!), I only figured I'd write not necessarily a review, but jot some of my thoughts and feelings down for this book, something to commemorate this story that has been with me from my fourteen years to my now (almost) twenty-four year old self.

If you haven't read This Lullaby yet, I obviously suggest you do. If you're reluctant to because of previous Dessen works that weren't your thing, try it anyway. Who knows, it could very well end up becoming your favorite book too.

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Quotes Briana Liked

Sarah Dessen
“You know, when it works, love is pretty amazing. It's not overrated. There's a reason for all those songs.”
Sarah Dessen, This Lullaby

Reading Progress

April 13, 2009 – Shelved
September 1, 2011 – Shelved as: all-time-favorites
March 22, 2013 – Started Reading
March 22, 2013 –
page 1
0.29% "The only book I reread annually."
March 22, 2013 –
page 173
50.14% "plastic ware scene, my favorite. hilarious."
March 23, 2013 –
page 227
65.8% "Sweetest breakup ever."
March 24, 2013 –
page 345
100.0% "Siiiiigh at that ending! <3"
March 24, 2013 – Finished Reading
July 19, 2015 – Shelved as: can-i-marry-your-writing

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