Synopses & Reviews
Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo's sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline's mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he's convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she's going?
Sarah Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.
"Annabel Greene, who narrates, lives with her gorgeous sisters in a glass house designed by their architect father, in Dessen's (This Lullaby) familiar suburb of Lakeview. Predictably, the surface perfection masks trouble. Oldest sister Kirsten, 'the family powder keg,' has left for New York. When middle sister Whitney follows to pursue a modeling career, the two clash, and Whitney returns home with a full-blown eating disorder. Their mother, Grace, operates in what Annabel wryly calls the 'default Greene family mode,' pretending everything is just fine. Annabel, who inherited this trait, nevertheless begins her junior year as a pariah. Flashbacks reveal that her unwanted status is the result of something that happened with the boyfriend of her ex-best friend, a vicious girl who believes 'everyone had a place and it was her job to make sure you knew yours.' What moves this story beyond problem novel fare is Dessen's nuanced characters, especially hulking Owen, another outcast who, in befriending Annabel, reminds her not to judge by appearances, while steeping her in his eclectic musical tastes. Annabel sharply observes everyone's blinders, including most of her own with one disturbing exception. The heroine paints her problem as social ostracism, when really the situation is much more serious. But since Annabel '[doesn't] do confrontations,' she swallows the truth until her attacker victimizes someone else. Comparisons to Melinda, the heroine of Laurie Halse Anderson's Speak, are inevitable. Dessen packs a lot into this novel, perhaps too much; but Annabel and Owen's finely limned connection alone gives this novel staying power. Ages 12-up" Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
In her new multi-layered, impossible-to-put-down novel, the "New York Times" bestselling author of "Someone Like You" delivers the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfection.
This multi-layered tale tells the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect fa
ade. Viking Children's Books
Last year, Annabel was "the girl who has everything"—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf ’s Department Store.This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling.With Owen’s help,maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.
In this multi-layered, impossible-to-put-down book, Sarah Dessen tells the story of a year in the life of a family coming to terms with the imperfections beneath its perfect facade.
To find the truth you've got to be willing to hear it.
When Annabel, the youngest of three beautiful sisters, has a bitter falling out with her best friendthe popular and exciting Sophieshe suddenly finds herself isolated and friendless. But then she meets Owena loner, passionate about music and his weekly radio show, and always determined to tell the truth. And when they develop a friendship, Annabel is not only introduced to new music but is encouraged to listen to her own inner voice. With Owens help, can Annabel find the courage to speak out about what exactly happened the night her friendship with Sophie came to a screeching halt?
"Expertly done." Booklist
"This is young adult fiction at its best, delving into the minds of complex, believable teens, bringing them to life." SLJ
"Dessen weaves a sometimes funny, mostly emotional, and very satisfying story." VOYA
A New York Times bestseller
To find the truth youve got to be willing to hear it.
When shes modeling, Annabel is the picture of perfection.
But her real life is far from perfect.
Fortunately, shes got Owen. Hes intense, music-obsessed, and dedicated to always telling the truth.
And most of all, hes determined to make Annabel happy. . .
This is young adult fiction at its best.” School Library Journal
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
Someone Like You
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye
About the Author
"I was born in 1970 in Illinois, but all the life I remember Ive spent in Chapel Hill, NC. My parents were both professors at the University of North Carolina: my mom is a classicist (which means she knows everything you could ever imagine about myths, Latin, and words) and my dad teaches Shakespeare (which means Id seen As You Like It
about five times by the age of 18.) I have one brother, who is a musician and lives in California with his son and his wife, an artist who designed my personal website. (Thanks, Mariangeles!)
"Ive been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and Id sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think its just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, its hard not to do it all the time.
"In high school, I was lucky enough to have a big group of girlfriends that have really inspired a lot of the stories in my books. Im still close with my friends from that time, so its never very hard to put myself back into that place, that voice. Also it doesnt hurt to still be living in my hometown, where its a given that Ill bump into people I had homeroom with, or guys I had big crushes on, while Im pumping gas or buying stamps. It makes it hard to leave high school behind entirely, which is a good or bad thing depending on what day you ask me. I attended college at UNC, where I studied creative writing and graduated with a degree in English. (Which means I can quote small parts of many Great Works. Comes in handy occasionally, like at cocktail parties.) Id been on the five-and-a-half year college plan, and when I graduated my parents were hoping Id settle down and get a Real Job so they could stop worrying about me. But instead of doing the whole resume/pantyhose thing, I decided to stick to my job waiting tables at the world famous Flying Burrito Restaurant and try to publish a novel. At the time, I had only one very bad book Id written my senior year of college and the beginnings of another one. Luckily, my family was supportive and I spent a few years living in a ramshackle little house where I wrote during the day and did the restaurant thing at night.
"Three years after graduating, I sold my first book, That Summer, but it wasnt until a year after that that I got offered a teaching job and left waitressing for good. I still miss it sometimes, though. It was a great job for a writer. Endless conversations to eavesdrop, tons of material, and fast money without ever taking work home. Plus, free Mexican food, the best perk of all. Now, Ive published four books, all for young adults. I never really intended to be YA writer, but the second book I showed my agent she thought had a strong teenage voice, so she sent it off to an editor at Orchard Books, who bought it. Even though it was in a way accidental, Ive found that writing for teens suits me. I do short stories, and other novels, that are for an older audience, but again and again I am brought back to the stories of high school. Maybe its because so much happened to me then that Im not finished yet telling everything. My senior quote was from Pink Floyd (okay, I was a bit of a burnout---I spent a lot of time in the parking lot, whatever, lets move on) and it pretty much summed up my future, although I didnt know it at the time. It was: "The time is gone, the song is over, thought Id something more to say." It turns out that I did.
"The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldnt tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowrys A Summer to Die or Judy Blumes Are You There God? Its Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think its the best thing to which any writer can aspire. Now, I teach writing at UNC-Chapel Hill, where Im lucky enough to see my students find their own voice, the way I did in the same program there not so long ago. Teaching is great for me, because I get to show people how writing can really change the way you see not only yourself but the world. Ive found in my own life that if my writing isnt going well, not much else will. It is the one constant, the key to everything else.
"As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and thats a good thing. Its always more fun to make stuff up anyway."