Guys! We are getting SO CLOSE to the release date of Once and for All and I don’t know about y’all, but I am SO. FREAKING. PSYCHED. In my last spotlight post, I talked about how I hadn’t read much Dessen before joining in on this campaign, and now I can honestly say that I am a Dessen convert! This Lullaby was so beautiful, and reading What Happened to Goodbye sealed the deal. I received a copy of this wonderful book from the publisher, in exchange for my honest review, and boy do I have plenty of feels to share with you all about this one.
Who is the real McLean?
Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.
There are so many interesting things happening in this book… I don’t even know where to start. McLean and her Dad move so often that she has learned never to let herself get too settled in. In fact, she completely reinvents herself at each high school she attends. In a lot of ways, she’s done it all… She’s been just about every things a girl can be except for herself. She’s been so busy becoming someone new every few months that she honestly has no clue who she is anymore.
I really liked McLean’s character – she’s in the throes of self-discovery for most of the novel, and it was really fun to be along for the ride. This book isn’t as focused on the romance as This Lullaby was, and I was fine with that because McLean proved interesting enough on her own that it didn’t really need a heavy romance-driven plot. She’s got a strong group of friends in Lakeview, and I loved how each character was distinct – there are no cookie cutter supporting cast members in this book – they each had something to add to the story.
Now, I will say, while this book didn’t need a lot of romance to make it entertaining, I did want more and more and MORE of Dave. Because DANG is that boy the man of my dreams. He’s a genius-geek who is absolutely adorkable and I pretty much just wanted to cuddle with him from the second McLean met him. I could easily have read another 300 pages of Dave-centered plot (sequel idea, maybe?). He made me laugh so much, and he was so good. I love when a romance feels realistic, and this one certainly fits that bill – McLean and Dave are good together, they strengthen each other. None of that toxic bad-boy romance BS that sometimes seeps into YA. I love a wholesome love story.
If you’re looking for a relatable YA story with absolutely incredible characters and an awesome non-romance-driven story, this is definitely the Dessen novel for you!
And, speaking of perfect summer reads, don’t forget to pre-order your copy of Once and for All, which comes out on June 6th!
Enter for a chance to win one (1) set of Sarah Dessen’s books in paperback (ARV: $132.00).
NO PURCHASE NECESSARY. Enter between 12:00 AM Eastern Time on April 17, 2017 and 12:00 AM on May 29, 2017. Open to residents of the fifty United States and the District of Columbia who are 13 and older. Winners will be selected at random on or about June 1, 2017. Odds of winning depend on number of eligible entries received. Void where prohibited or restricted by law.