Originally published on May 5, 2012.
This book was no exception.
17-year-old Mclean Sweet has been on the move for two years, ever since her
parents got divorced. She and her restaurant-consultant father have lived in
four towns in two years.... which also means four different high schools for
Mclean, and consequently, four completely different personallitites. Since her
parents split up, Mclean just isn't sure who she is, and she has developed a
different persona in each town.... mostly to keep wiping the slate clean,
forgetting her painful past. She's been Eliza the popular cheerleader, Lizbet
the drama queen, and Beth the student council good-girl. But when she and her
dad land in Lakeview (the setting of most of Dessen's books), she can't seem to
figure out who to be. Without meaning to, she shifts back into Mclean and
actually starts to develop some real relationships, both with the kids at her
school and the staff of her dad's failing restaurant.
The blurb on the
back of my copy of the book (borrowed from my friend Andrea) reads: "Another
town, another school, another role to play--even Mclean doesn't know who she is
anymore. But maybe Dave can help her find out..." I actually thought that this
was a serious oversimplification of the book. While her friendship (and the
possibility of something more?) with her neighbor Dave does help her to grow and
re-form her identity, she also develops real friendships with the unlikely
combination of Heather, Riley, Ellis, and Deb (who I found to be particularly
interesting and wish had been developed further).
At its core, though,
the story centers around Mclean's parents' divorce, her attempts to reconcile
her present life to her childhood memories, and the current complicated state of
her relationships with her parents. I thought the book would focus on anecdotes
of each of her personalities; instead, it demonstrated a longing for a simpler
While this book was more than the simple teenage love story that
the cover seemed to indicate, it was also a lot lighter than the other books
I've read lately. I do love Sarah Dessen and plan to read more of her this
year, and her stories of complicated family relationships always tug at my
hearstrings. Thumbs up for a lighter but still bittersweet read.