When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
This isn't the first YA book that I read, but it's the first YA book that I loved. This is the book that made me fall in love with everything YA. This is the book that made me all but abandon reading "adult" books and shoved me headfirst into the YA pool.
The funny thing is, I had just finished writing my NaNoWriMo novel (the great-great grandmother of my WIP) when I picked this up...a contemporary YA. I don't know what I was doing writing YA at that point when I didn't really know much about it. And when I closed this book I said, "Oh my goodness, THIS is the book I wanted to write! Exactly!"
The major thing I love about this book is Remy, the narrator. She's a total hard ass. She's pretty bitchy. She's not always likable. But I LOVE her. I love her attitude and her spunk, but also her vulnerability. She's a very layered character who is rough on the outside, but damaged and vulnerable on the inside, and I love how Sarah Dessen builds that throughout the book.
Then there is the adorable Dexter. I have found that everyone seems to connect with a different Sarah Dessen book, and I think a lot of that has to do with the guy in the book. All of her guys are so different, and they really appeal to different types of people. I love all of her books (and all of her guys...except for Rogerson, of course), but there is something about Dexter that is just the perfect storm of everything I love in a literary boyfriend. He plays in a band. He's lanky and awkward. He plays in a band. He doesn't take no for an answer with Remy. HE PLAYS IN A BAND. I just love Dexter, and Dexter is part of the reason this book has my heart.
I made my first attempt at writing YA before I read this book, but this book is the one that let me know I was doing it wrong. And it opened me up to the world of Sarah Dessen and the world of amazing YA lit that is out there. It's hard for me to think of a book that has had more of an impact on me than this one, and I love it for that.