Monday, June 24, 2013
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen | Book Review
AUTHOR: Sarah Dessen
PUBLISHER/YEAR: Penguin / 1998
Goodreads / Author's Website
Hm where to begin with Someone Like You. This is the second Dessen book I've read in a relatively short period of time since I was absolutely hooked after finishing What Happened to Goodbye. I actually have two books left sitting on my shelf. What can I say, I'm a book hoarder. Anyways, I had some pretty high expectations for Someone Like You and for the most part the book lived up to them. Dessen just does such a wonderful job portraying what it's like to be a teenager that even if I didn't love this one as much as the last it's still a book I totally devoured.
Halley is away at summer camp when she hears that her best friend Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael, has died in a motorcycle accident. That's the moment everything changes for both of them. Scarlett had always been strong and fearless while Halley had relegated herself to being Scarlett's best friend. She's always been close to her family and best friend and has been relatively happy. However, Halley had already felt herself changing and growing away from her parents, wanting to push out on her own. Michael's death is just one incident confirming that things will never be the same. When Scarlett finds out she's pregnant well everything changes, but their friendship is what pulls them through.
So did I straight up love this book? No, but I was pretty close. I read this book about a week ago and the more I've thought about it, the more I like it. Reading it initially I was slightly put off by Halley's relationship with her mother. The woman was reluctant to pick her up for a funeral. It just rung of stereotypical distant, but still controlling YA families. I should have known better. One of this book's greatest qualities is the realistic portrayal of changing family dynamics. I remember in high school fighting with my mom like all the time. I loved her, but we constantly fought. It's that whole time period where you're trying to be independent, your parents aren't ready to see you grow up and everything becomes a battle. Each side unable to listen or understand the other. This dynamic was captured perfectly. It's so frustrating to read and there are times when I just hated both people, but it was so realistic. That's probably why it was so frustrating.
Of course, I can't talk about Someone Like You without touching on friendship. Another strength of this book was showcasing two female friends discussing things other than boys. It was clear that they cared about each other. They've had a long established friendship; they're comfortable and they'll call each other out. Why can't more books feature strong friendships like this one?
So the romance definitely wasn't what I was expecting. It kind of broke my heart. It wasn't all smooth roads with some minor drama. There were definite problems and legitimate concerns that you don't necessarily see right away since this is a story told from Halley's perspective. But there are some very real issues present that broke my heart.
Someone Like You took me right back to my own teen years and I think that's why I love it, but maybe not as much as some other books I'm slightly more removed from. Reading it I could tell that it was one of Dessen's earlier works; she's grown since writing this one. I can't pin point it exactly, but there was just something in the characterizations that didn't have me jumping up and down screaming "yes I GET these people!" That knocked it down a bit for me, but overall it was a strong book that just, broke me a little. It's the little things that got to me, Halley's relationship with her parents, the boyfriend, the fights. These are all issues that I'm just like, every girl should read this book and learn. Overall, it proves that I waited way too long to start reading these novels and cannot wait to get to the next two on the shelf.