Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Reviewed by Maggie: April 22, 2013
Published March 27, 2002 by Viking Juvenile
Goodreads • Buy at AmazonKindle • Indie Bound

It feels almost sacrilegious to run a Young Adult blog without having read Sarah Dessen. She's one of the biggest names in YA with a massive, devoted following. I wasn't sure where to start but when Anna suggested This Lullaby and threw in Veronica Mars as a selling point, I couldn't resist.

This book definitely surprised me. I expected Dessen to be light and fluffy. However, instead of The Sisterhood of Traveling Pants, I got The Sisterhood of the Traveling Diet Zip and Cigarettes. I know it's chic to be geek right now, but I love that Remy, the main character, drinks, smokes, cusses and has sex. And she still got into Stanford! She's not the girl standing in the corner hoping that the boy will notice her. She's the girl guys crash into hoping she will notice them. Believe me, I was not that girl, but there were other elements of her personality I related to, like when she says,
"The only I can't stand more than seeing something done wrong is seeing it done slowly."
Preach! She also does her crosswords in ink. Basically, she's a Type A personality. This is what got her into Stanford while her mother flitted from husband to husband. She also has Chloe, Jess, and Lissa, her core group of friends. Though they are all friends, they don't necessarily all get along.

This Lullaby starts right after Remy graduates from high school and right before her mother's fifth wedding. While waiting at her soon-to-be stepfather's car dealership, a guy named Dexter clumsily enters her life.

I really liked Dessen's portrayal of family and friendship, but with all the dramatic exits and declarations and breakups, it felt more like a romance book. It was like a YA version of a Kristan Higgins book, aka Type A Bitches Deserve Love Too. (Not that there's anything wrong with being Type A. Or a bitch.) There's even a dog! Dexter was so sweet and rumpled and lovable and his dog, Monkey, just killed me, but there was such a quick turnaround from first meeting to True Love. A lot of issues are brought up and not really explored. It was all very dramatic -- and very high school. Sometimes, like with Sloppy Firsts by Megan McCafferty, it works for me. Sometimes it doesn't. In the case of Sarah Dessen, I liked This Lullaby and can see her appeal, but I'm okay with being one and done.

Rating: 3/5 stars. 

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