Thursday, July 23, 2015

Summer of Sarah Dessen Book Review: Someone Like You

Title: Someone Like You
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak (paperback reissue)
Publication Date: June 2012 (originally published in 1998)
Source: Penguin Teen

Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she's carrying his baby, she's devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it'll never break--because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.

The Summer of Sarah Dessen is a summer-long reading event and blog tour that is being hosted by Penguin Teen. All summer long, book bloggers and readers are celebrating the one and only Sarah Dessen (AKA The Queen of YA). 

I'm completely honored that Penguin asked me to take part in the blog tour, as I was planning on making this my own Summer of Sarah Dessen before I even knew about the event. Most of you may know that prior to this summer, I'd never read a Sarah Dessen book. Luckily, they asked me to read and review the next Sarah Dessen book on my list, Someone Like You.

 My Review

Let me start off by saying that Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen isn't your typical YA book. Why? Well... Ms. Dessen brings in a lot of more mature subject matter, but the subject matter are issues that teens deal with in life. It doesn't matter that this book was written in the late 90s because teenage girls are still dealing with things like sex, teenage pregnancy, underage drinking, and drug use. So what am I saying? I'm saying that this book is still relevant, and if anything, it's aged as nicely as a really good bottle of wine.

What do you get out of Someone Like You? Well, you get two very different coming-of-age stories in one novel. One story belongs to Halley, a teenage girl who is trying to become her own person. The other story belongs to Scarlett, Halley's bolder best friend who finds herself pregnant and alone because her boyfriend died in a motorcycle accident. Does it sound complicated? You'd be right if you guessed that!

The book revolves around Halley and Scarlett, two high school juniors who have been best friends since the day Scarlett and her mom moved to Lakeview. There are also a few other characters who are important to the story and how Halley and Scarlett grow.

Halley... what can I say about Halley? Sometimes I liked her. Other times, I cringed because she's just a moody teenage girl who is trying to rebel. Teens do that. I see it every day in schools, but sometimes, I felt it was a bit too much. Halley is complicated, and she doesn't see herself for who she really is until something bad happens. After that, she kind of comes into her own, and I really liked how she was able to really find her strength and be there for the best friend who was always so strong for her.

Then there's Scarlett. You can't read this book and not feel something for Scarlett. You might feel bad for her. You might pity her. You might even want to sit there and cry with her. She's forced to grow up in a way that not many teens do by dealing with a pregnancy, but then you have to factor in that her first love was killed in a motorcycle accident. It's so sad, but I loved how she was able to stay positive throughout her pregnancy and even make some new friends.

And what contemporary YA book wouldn't have some sort of a love interest, right? Meet Macon, love interest to Halley. At first, I liked Macon, despite his mysterious lifestyle, but by the end of the book, I had enough of him. He was vital to Halley's coming of age story, and I think he was a wonderful character to include, but I just didn't like him.

The writing of Someone Like You is okay. There aren't many metaphors in the book, but there is one that I really enjoyed (Halley's comet), and I think other readers will like the reoccurring metaphor. The book does read a bit slow, and you really get the sense that these two girls are going through a year of school. It starts in the summer before their junior year, and ends on the night of prom. Many seasonal events are brought up, and it's just very realistic feeling.

Now... keep in mind that this is only my second Sarah Dessen book. (I read and reviewed her debut as a guest post, but you'll be able to see it on The Hardcover Lover later this summer.) I really did enjoy it, and if I'm being honest, I'd have to say I enjoyed the characters and the plot more than the writing. It's a very good book, and I'd recommend it to fans of TV shows like The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Sixteen & Pregnant, and Teen Mom. I'd also recommend it to fans of Katie Cotugno's debut novel How to Love. If you haven't picked this one up, please do so. You won't regret it.

Sarah DessenSarah Dessen is the author of twelve novels, which include the New York Times  bestsellers The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You were made into the movie How to Deal starring Mandy Moore.

Dessen's books are frequently chosen for the Teen Top Ten list of Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages.

Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing.

She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.

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  1. I see you're in a Sarah Dessen binge now, lol. I still haven't tried to read her books but I see you're a fan. What book do you think I should start with? I'm intrigued by this though. I haven't read much books of teen pregnancies so I'm adding this to my TBR :D

  2. Katherine @ Neon Yeti ReadsJuly 23, 2015 at 11:11 AM

    I read this one recently too and I enjoyed it. It isn't my favorite Sarah Dessen, so they go up from here :) My favorite is Along For the Ride, followed shortly by Keeping the Moon. I liked how this was a little bit of a darker story, unlike most of Dessen's books. My favorite part was the friendship between the two girls.

  3. Yay! I'm glad you liked this one. I really need to re-read her books. Some of her books are a bit slow but they are definitely still relevant today which is what I love about them.

  4. Blessie! If you start with the order they're published past characters come out in her books along the way. But my favorites that I'd recommend are someone like you, the truth about forever, dreamland, and saint anything.

  5. I really liked how this book focused on both of the girls' stories. Like you said, I also found Halley to be a little bit annoying at times, but it was a good book nonetheless. Glad you liked this one!

    P.s. This reminded me of how I still haven't read Katie Cotugno's How to Love. I need to get on that ASAP.

  6. Kayla @ The Thousand LivesJuly 23, 2015 at 7:02 PM

    I haven't read this one in so long, so the details are a bit fuzzy, but I remember really enjoying this one! Another of my favorites was Keeping the Moon - it was my first and favorite until I read Saint Anything.

  7. Jess @ Princessica of BooksJuly 23, 2015 at 7:56 PM

    Hey there! Just nominated you to do the 3 days, 3 quotes challenge. Check out the rules and my post here:

  8. I've only read two - this one and That Summer, but I'm trying to read them in publication order.

    There really aren't a lot of books about teenage pregnancies that I'd really be interested in reading, but this one was pretty good. :)

  9. Out of the two Sarah Dessen books I've read, I'd have to say that I just liked this one. But I also just liked That Summer. I've heard that they get better, so I'm looking forward to reading the rest of her books.

    The friendship was my favorite too. I loved how Scarlet and Halley balanced one another out, even when they kind of switched roles.

  10. Thanks, Tina! For a while, I was thinking that I wasn't going to like this one because it was very slow to start, but the ending made up for it.

  11. Yes! I'm so glad that I'm not the only one who thought Halley was a bit annoying.

    You definitely need to read How to Love! I read it last year, and it was one of my favorite books that I read last year.

  12. I'm very much looking forward to reading Keeping the Moon! I bought it a while ago, but I definitely want to read the books in publication order.

  13. Oh I didn't know that! Thanks for letting me know, Tina! I love it when books are interconnected even though they don't belong to a series. :D

  14. Yeah, there aren't a lot of those, so I'm going to make sure I read this one. :)

  15. Somehow, I had no idea what this book was about. It sounds really interesting now that I know. I have only read two Dessen titles myself (The Moon and More and What Happened to Goodbye). I keep meaning to pick up others but other books keep taking priority.

  16. I only knew what it was about because I remember my sister watching How to Deal. I need to add a few more Sarah Dessen books to my read pile, but other things always get in the way. :(

  17. Eeeeeep. *covers eyes* This is the Dessen book I don't think I ever really want to read. I know teen pregnancy is a thing but for some reason I just HATE reading about it. I don't knooooow. *hides in a cone of shame* I recently bought The Truth About Forever and Lock & Key because I know I've read and loved them, so now I need to find time to reread!

  18. Oh no! Why do you hate reading about it? I'll admit that it's not my go-to choice for books because I had three cousins who were teen moms, but I don't mind reading about it.

    I still have to read those two... actually, I have to read all of Sarah's other books.


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