Monday, September 5, 2016

Someone Like You, by Sarah Dessen

Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen describes the normal life of a teenager that has suddenly become not so normal anymore. Halley Cooke is your average fifteen year old with a controlling therapist mother, quiet father who avoids confrontations, and one and only best friend, whom she can always count on, Scarlett. Everything is normal until Scarlett’s boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies, Scarlett learns she’s pregnant with his baby, and Halley gets involved with bad boy Macon Faulkner, and this is when the new definition of normal has to be made.

First and foremost, Dessen has written a book that captures the real and raw emotions of teenagers. She does not overdo it, making her characters have a tantrum on every other page, nor does she leave them bland, showing no significant emotions. She is able to bring out that rawness and energy that is experienced with the emotions. The author is very good in her pacing of the story, and keeps reminding the reader of the time going by with the mention of holidays and months. Her exposition is not slow and she jumps right into it, and it does not slow down during the book. She also weaves a very sweet and enviable friendship between Halley and Scarlett, but I would have appreciated a little bit more history of their friendship rather than only the start of it. Macon’s and Halley’s relationship throughout the story is also admirable in its actuality. The author didn’t create a relationship that sprung out of nowhere and leave the reader to question if the characters were together or not. The reader is also pulled in by the conflict between Halley and her mother, which is experienced by many teenagers everywhere, and so is very relatable. Her characters, especially Halley, are realistic and totally relatable with their thoughts and actions and win the sympathy of the readers (at least for me). Dessen creates a small town setting with comfy little characters that have to make big, uncomfortable, and life-changing decisions that make the book all too real.

Lilit, Grade 12
Central Library