Peyton, Sydney's charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion's share of their parents' attention and—lately—concern. When Peyton's increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?
Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends, and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac, gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.
The uber-popular Sarah Dessen explores her signature themes of family, self-discovery, and change in her twelfth novel, sure to delight her legions of fans.
- The more contemporary works I read, the more I enjoy them. I would typically pick books that were more on the dystopian, post-apocalypse genre before I started blogging. I knew that I needed to diversity for my own sake, and to be a well-rounded blogger. I LOVE contemporary right after an intense book and definitely in the summer.
- Sydney was an interesting main character. I can not imagine growing up in her situation. She was the little sister of a “bad kid” and she lived in his shadow the whole time. For all the times Peyton screwed up, Sydney was the one left to deal with the judgements of her parents and the strict rules that she was forced to follow at all times. She was not even able to make a little mistake without huge consequences.
- I loved the whole Chatham family. They were so close, so fun and had their own little dramas. In the imperfection, there was love. It was a great family unit. I wanted to be friends with Rosie, hang out at the pizza parlor and Mac, oh Mac. Boy was Mac amazing. I loved his stories, his commitment to his health and the walks in the woods.
- I would have loved to learn more about Peyton. I thought he was a great character, but wished that he had more page time. I realize that Sydney was the MC, but I wanted to know more about Peyton. It would be awesome to read the book from Peyton’s POV.
- No real gripes. It was hard to read at points when Syndey’s parents were so awful, but it was realistic.