By Sarah Dessen (Penguin)
Emaline and Luke have been together all through high school in a small beach town where everyone knows your name. It’s the summer before college and Emaline’s life is about to change. Luke does something she can’t forgive and a sophisticated New Yorker called Theo is in town to film a documentary with Emaline as his assistant.
Can she trust Theo? Should she forget Luke? To add to the plot her family life is in turmoil as her father lets her down after convincing her to leave her hometown and apply for a big Ivy League college. Her mom and stepfather seem to be drawing her closer, afraid of losing her. Emaline doesn’t know how to keep everyone happy and find her own path.
Dessen captures the teenage fear of having to move out of childhood and into the world where you take responsibility for your choices. With the fear comes the excitement of a new life, new people and new experiences. Much of the book is spent evoking the smell of the seaside town, the sense of its locals, the mood and atmosphere of a holiday town and the growing awareness that everything is about to change. Without spoiling the plot I did feel she swept over the intensity of emotions felt when relationships end and start, but maybe I’ve lost touch and am more sentimental than most. Fans will no doubt love this but it’s clearly not her best work. I’ll give Dessen another try with one of her bestsellers.
Great quote: ‘Just enjoy things while they last, then be done with it.’