Dessen, Sarah. 1998. Someone Like You. Penguin. 281 pages.
I loved this book. I did. If you haven't read Sarah Dessen, you really should. Dessen, in many ways, is in a class all her own. There's the typically-delightful reading of a YA romance. (Something that I do a good bit of. And I enjoy almost everything in varying degrees.) And then there is the oh-so-wonderful-and-satisfying reading of a Dessen YA romance. There's just something about her work that is better, deeper, fresher. (I don't think awesomer is a word.)
In Someone Like You, we've got our heroine, Halley, and her best friend, Scarlett. When the novel opens, Halley is at summer camp when she gets the call that Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael, has just died. And so this often raw always emotional story begins. A story of friendship and love as Halley helps her friend through this trying time but also of loss and confusion as Scarlett discovers that she is pregnant and decides to keep the baby for better or worse. But this isn't just a story of Scarlett's life, of Scarlett's troubles. No, Halley has a life of her own. And her junior year is getting off to a weird--but wonderful--start when she begins falling for Michael's best friend (and ever-so-bad-bad), Macon. As her own relationship gets started, she's ever-questioning her life and love. Is she ready to go all the way? Does Macon love her even if he never says he does? Is she ready to open up herself to that kind of risk? Not only the risk of pregnancy, but the risk of having her heart trampled on by a boy who is more elusive than not. How much does she really know about him? about herself?
The story is compelling. It's masterfully told by Dessen.
Some of my favorite bits:
When I think of Michael Sherwood, what really comes to mind is produce. (41)
Halley's first conversation with Macon (which happens while they're waiting to speak to the school counselor.) He's in trouble; she's looking to change her schedule.
"Now, you know how to handle yourself in there, right?"
I looked at him. "What?"
"How to handle yourself," He blinked at me. "Oh, please. You need big help. Okay, listen up. Firs, admit nothing. That's the most important rule."
"I'm not in trouble," I told him.
"Second," he said loudly, ignoring me, "try to divert them by mention anything about your therapist. For instance, say, 'My therapist always says I have a problem with authority.' Act real serious about it. Just the word 'therapist' will usually cut you some slack."
I laughed. "Yeah, right."
"It's true. And if that doesn't work, use the Jedi Mind Trick. But only if you really have to."
"The Jedi Mind Trick." He looked at me. "Didn't you ever see Star Wars?"
I thought back, "Sure I did."
"The Jedi Mind Trick is when you tell someone what you want them to think, and then they think it. Like, say I'm Mr. Mathers. And I say, "Macon, you're already pushing the limits and it's only the first day of school. Is this any kind of way to start the year?' And you're me. What do you say?"
I shook my head. "I have no idea."
He rolled his eyes. "You say, 'Mr. Mathers, you're going to let this slide, because it's only the first day, it was an honest mistake, and the fire got put out as quickly as it was started.'"
"The fire?" I said. "What fire?"
"The point is," he said easily, flipping his hand, "that you just say that right back to him, very confidently. And then what does he say?"
"That you're crazy?"
"No. He says, 'Well, Macon, I'm going to let this slide because it's only the first day, it was an honest mistake, and the fire got put out as quickly as it started.'"
I laughed. "He will not."
"He will," he said, nodding his head. "It's the Jedi Mind Trick. Trust me." And when he smiled at me, I almost did. (54)
© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews
If you're reading this post on another site, or another feed, the content has been stolen.