by Sarah Dessen
Publication Date: June 4th 2013
Publisher: Penguin Teen / Viking Juvenile
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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. (Goodreads)
The main character in the story, Emaline, is such a headstrong young lady. (I love that Dessen always writes such strong heroines.) Emaline has so many decisions to make about her life now that she has graduated high school. Yes, her life is an emotional mess of confusion, and it only gets worse as the book goes along. But Emaline is surrounded by an amazing support system, and keeps a level head even through the worst. These types of characters make me proud; these are the characters that I love the most.
The love interest in the story is between Luke, Emaline’s high school sweetheart, and Theo, who has come to the island for the summer to work on a documentary. I don’t think that I would consider the relationships between Emaline and these boys as a love triangle. It was so much different than that. I liked Luke from the beginning, even though he made a few bad choices. Theo, on the other hand… Well, I liked him at first, but it just went downhill the more I read about him. Each boy had a different purpose in Emaline’s life. I feel that they both showed her how different life could be for her. In the end, I was really satisfied with the choice that she made for herself.
The relationship that Emaline has with her family is really heart-warming. Not only does she have a wonderful bond with her mother, but also with her dad, who is actually her adoptive dad and her step-sisters, who are so much more than that. I love that she was surrounded by so much love in her family. I also really loved her new found relationship with her half brother. He was super sweet.
The ending of the story took a completely different direction than I expected it to, and I loved Dessen all the more for it. I absolutely love the ending. It’s an ending that I am proud to have my teenage daughter read. You are definitely going to have to read the book to find out exactly what happens. The storyline is a great story that I think should be a recommended read for all teenage girls. It was a really great read, as all Dessen’s books are.
Overall, I really enjoyed this book! It would make a great summer/beach read. Of course, if you already love Sarah Dessen, you will definitely enjoy this book. Check it out!