Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA Contemporary/Coming of Age
Length: 225 Pages
Release: September 1999
My Rating: 4/5 Stars
I started reading Sarah Dessen's novels about a year ago and have really enjoyed them. Her first novels, however were a bit iffy for me. So when I picked this book up to buddy read with my sister I was a little wary because it's one of her older ones. I shouldn't have worried though, because I liked it a lot.
Colie is our main character here and suffers under extreme bullying. She used to be overweight until her mom became a fitness guru, but she has never fit in. So when her mom ships her off to stay with her overweight, eccentric aunt on the coast of North Carolina while she's traveling, Colie doesn't have high expectations.
There is a lot to love about this book. Colie is an insecure fifteen year old (as most of us were at that age) and easy to relate with. Her issues with bullying are also relatable, because rarely do bullies actually have a reason to bully the people they do.
Colie meets Morgan and Isabel, two best friends who are very different. Morgan is friendly and kind, while Isabel is stuffy and abrasive. The relationship that Colie develops with these two, particularly Isabel, throughout is one of my favorite things about the book. First impressions can be very misleading.
There are also Norman and Mira. Mira is Colie's aunt and Norman is the artist who lives in her little apartment because he has family problems of his own. These two were not a big enough part for my liking. They were both so interesting, but rarely showed up for more than a couple of pages. Particularly Mira. It would have been nice to see more of Colie's relationship with these two over the summer.
There is a touch of romance in this novel (obviously, it's Sarah Dessen), but I wasn't completely satisfied with it. I did like that it left a lot up to interpretation and that there were some deeper lessons implied, but there just wasn't enough development. Colie didn't seem interested until suddenly she was. Part of that I think was supposed to be her twisted outlook on certain things and people, her realizing that she was just as bad as all those other bullies, if in a different way. So while it was cute and I expected it, I would have liked some more development throughout.
The book could have been longer and delved more deeply into certain issues. I do appreciate the fact that it's rather short though. Things didn't ever get overly drama infused and it was a fun read. I would definitely recommend it.