This time around, Dessen takes her readers back to Colby, the beach town that was focused on in Keeping the Moon, with her main character Auden. Auden is very reminiscent of the character Macy in that she tries to be perfect academically but instead of being perfect for a boyfriend – although Jason does make an appearance in this book – it’s for her academically minded parents. Her mom and dad divorced a few years back and because of it, Auden can’t really sleep anymore. She stays up all night focusing on her studies.
She’s not much of a social bird, so when she gets a gift from her Europe travelling brother – Hollis – she wonders if maybe she’s doing her summer before she goes to college wrong. With this in mind, she decides to visit her father, stepmother, and new stepsister. Her arrival is perfect because Heidi – her stepmother – is having a difficult time with her new stepsister, Thisbe. Auden, despite everything her mother has told her, helps her out with the baby and then with her business – Clementine’s – books. During her first night in Colby she has a brief fling with a guy named Jack who turns out to be one of her new co-workers boyfriend.
Feeling like she’s already making such a great start with these people, she goes back to her old ways of staying up late and studying. But in Colby there’s no 24-hour diner where she can sit and drink coffee. That is until she meets Eli, a local in Colby who has a dark past of his own.
Some people find this book repetitive, and I really want to ask why? Other than Keeping the Moon, That Summer, and This Lullaby not all of Dessen’s books take place during the summer. This book does too, and you get to check in with Isabel and Morgan, and Auden really grows while she’s in this town. The only reason I don’t like this book is because her father is a writer who’s working on his next book, and every time those scenes were mentioned I said to myself – “I should be writing too.” I get where some people are coming from with the character of Eli, although he has a dark past with the accident, his character isn’t really that explored.
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. I loved Auden’s character development throughout this book. I loved the character of Eli, and the characters of Maggie, Adam, Esther, and everyone else that Auden became friends with while in Colby. They’re the kind of people you want to be friends with in high school.
Bookshelf worthy? I bought mine used, and finally got around to reading it. Wohoo, another book read!