A long, hot summer…That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp. Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.
But sometimes unexpected things can happen—things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew. Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories. Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down. As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to wonder, Is it really better to be safe than sorry?
I had this book recommended to me by many and I am glad I listened! I have only heard good things about Sarah Dessen’s writing and I am glad I finally took the plunge to start reading her various novels.
Somehow this novel is both light and heavy at the same time. This is not set right after Macy’s father dies, which I think allows for the reader to really see her in the stage of acceptance and later her moving forward with her life. Macy has an internal dilemma about wanting to move on from her father’s death but she also does not want to forget him and she is finding this hard because of her mother. Macy’s mother finds her comfort in her work and making sure that Macy is the perfect daughter. She pressures Macy to focus on school and preparing herself for college. This pressure to be perfect soon gets to Macy and she finds an outlet when she gets a summer job at a catering company. It is through her relationships and experiences there were she finds out how to be happy.
The supporting characters in the novel all have their own role in Macy’s life. While Macy’s mother is the source of some of the biggest pressures in Macy’s life, she also has her own struggles. They cause each other stress but they are also a source of comfort. Macy’s sister Caroline helps alleviate some of the problems that spark between Macy and later help both Macy and her mother with the coping of the death. All of the friends Macy make while catering help bring her out of her shell. Wes of course is in his own category because he helps Macy realize what she really wants all because they play a simple game called “Truth”.
One of the most stand out themes of this novel is that perfect is not always best. In the beginning Macy seems to have the “perfect” life from her good grades to her picture-perfect boyfriend. Macy learns throughout that occasionally its plans B or C that turn out to be more fitting than plan A. Sometimes through chaos we find meaning.
Favorite Quote – “There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
I really enjoyed this book and would put this under beach/summer read.
Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s books? If you have which do you recommend I pick up next?