Sarah Dessen is one of my favorite YA authors. I think she is a very talented writer and I always enjoy the smart characters she creates. This is her brandy-new book. If I have one criticism of it it’s that it’s about twenty-five pages too long. There’s a lot going on in this book-it seems like the first story thread is what the whole novel will be about, but then a new thread comes in, then you think that’s it, but instead another thread gets wound in and becomes the main story, and so on. That, by the way, is not what made the book too long, I actually really liked the way all the different threads took over and it’s almost as if there were three different overlapping stories in the whole novel. [Booooo-I’d like to interject that due to my big flight delay I had to eat all my snacks before we even boarded the plane and I totally resent that stupid United Airlines won’t even pass out a packet of ^&^^%%ing pretzels to go with my Coke. I hate the airlines and wouldn’t even bother flying anymore except sometimes it’s necessary. As another airline aside, I’m ever so pleased to see how many people are reading on the plane and at the airport.]
At 17 Ruby is just waiting until she can be legally on her own. She’s already got the “on her own part” going on-her mother just up and vanished one day a few months ago-but her landlords find out what’s going on and report her to Social Services. Which is how Ruby finds herself living with her older sister, Cora, and her husband, Jamie. The last time Ruby ever saw Cora was almost 10 years ago, so she can’t imagine how this will work out. After all, Cora abandoned her, leaving for college and cutting off all ties to the family. An awkard situation to say the least. Their lack of familial ties is further emphasized by Jamie who comes from a large family and is determined to provide Cora and Ruby with the family experiences they never had. Jamie is such a good person he is practically an unbelievable character. In fact, he is the human embodiment of a golden retriever—goofy, lovable, eager to please. This is where the story starts, but it grows to encompass so much more beyond Cora and Ruby creating a family, there are friends to be made, hurts to be healed, secrets revealed, inner strengths to be discovered. Really this was a wonderful story with wonderful characters. I adore Dessen’s writing and think her many fans will enjoy this newest book, especially older teen girls. And special bonus-she mentions Kiki Sparks!! Just a brief callback to one of my favorite books of her, Keeping the Moon. Don’t you just love when authors do that? It’s like a special treat for the dedicated reader.