A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
First of all, let me say how much I love this cover! Maybe I'm just drawn to pink. But I love it, it's classic. I think it's my favorite Sarah Dessen cover yet.
Now on to the book, reading Sarah Dessen is like curling up with a blanket or pillow you've had since you were a baby. Or eating that casserole your mom has made you your entire life. It's comfort. And you know it's going to make you feel good. Sarah Dessen yet again delievers that kind of a story.
Auden is about ready to go to a very elite college. Something she's being aiming to do her entire life. When one of her brother's girlfriends brings her a gift of a picture frame that says "best of times" on it, Auden realizes that she doesn't have one single picture that she could put in the frame that would represent a best of times. So she decides to spend the summer with her dad, her much too girly stepmother, and her newborn sister who never stops crying in Colby.
Reliving childhood is something we try to do all the time. As big kids (teens+) we try to find crazier and more dangerous ways to that, to find that thrill we used to get so easily as a kid (paint-balling, sky-diving, etc...). Since Auden never had a childhood thanks to her scholarly parents who treated her as a adult her entire life, much too tired out from her colicky older brother, after she meets Eli she has a chance to do all the things she couldn't do as a kid. And Eli is finally getting over a tragedy that's been plaguing him.
Eli and Auden are magical together. The dialogue, as always, realistic and true. I felt like I was reliving me own childhood with Auden. Heidi, Maggie, and the other bright cast of characters really brought life to this novel and to Auden herself. The writing was flawless and everything else was just right. It seems to me as though Sarah Dessen tells the perfect story every time. I devoured this novel.
I recommend this book for every girl who has every fallen in love, or not fallen in love. Studied or played too hard. But especially for anyone who's ever experienced what it's like to be part of a family and true friendship