This blog is now retired. My new site is at: Predictably Irrational.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

I picked this book up because I didn't have the book I 'ordered' from the library. This was one that CJ was interested in. Since she wasn't reading it...

It's a teenaged novel about, mainly one girl, Halley, who rushes back from an undesirable summer camp (in the mountains) to be with her best friend Scarlett, who's boyfriend (and new relationship) was killed in a motorcycle accident.

From there, we learn more about Halley and the relationships she has with her mom and with Scarlett.

It's pretty profound, in one sense, a book about a thinking teenager who recognizes changes within the relationship she has with her mom, as well as analyzes decisions that have to be made. She's supportive of her friend Scarlett, who ends up becoming pregnant from her first intimate time with the deceased boyfriend, even with protection.

The things I did like: seeing the teenaged point of view of a best friend. This is the most important person in her life and unfortunately, parents are second best. It is a critical relationship and minimizing it is pretty cruel.

Also, forming a crush, then relationship, with the 'wrong' boy. Reading the emotions that Halley has for the guy who skips class, parties all the time, but is showing affection only for her is pretty tantalizing. I absolutely can relate to that and it's probably most teenage girls' dream: to be the apple of someone's eye, even if they're the bad ones.

But having a parent who will not accept that boy is also very demoralizing. I went through it with my parents. The truth is: you can't stop them from liking (LOVING) the wrong person. And trying to control that interaction cannot happen without a lot of destruction. I could definitely empathize with the parents and I have no idea what I will do if I have to go through this with my girls.

But what I didn't like about the book is, it becomes a little preachy. Having sex WITH protection CAN make you pregnant. Yes. We know that. I knew that when I was a teenager. But it just seemed so health class textbook in the plot of the novel. And then, very unrealistically, Scarlett has a comical pregnancy, with support from everyone...well, her mom comes around...but mom is also not really a 'mom' for her.

Halley goes through her own dilemma of whether she becomes intimate with her man. And we see the bad boy through Halley's eyes, which I didn't particularly like (I know, it's about her) but he is transformed from a boy who cares to a boy who just parties and wants sex. And again, on the preachy side.

The novel ends on an almost happy note. Scarlett has a healthy baby; Halley dumps her man...ON HER OWN VOLITION; and she and her mom get through their own hurdles within their relationship. Just too hollywood for me.

One thing I felt, while reading the book, was the area felt really familiar. I probably made it all up in my head, but the street names, or areas around, seemed very Raleigh-centric to me. I looked on the back cover and found that Sarah Dessen lives in Chapel Hill, which I thought was tres cool.

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