This book had a promising start, as I really liked the protagonist, Auden. She kind of reminded me of myself back in high school: The girl focused on her studies and music, and was Ivy League bound, while my fellow classmates snuck out of the house Wednesday nights after midnight to go to Club Egypt, and came to school the next day nursing puffy eyes and major hangovers. ;) And like Auden, I had my own “fun” prom story: When my date took me to his prom, he told me I wasn’t his first choice… that the college girl he originally asked turned him down, but in the end, was glad he asked me, as I was “a knockout.” I couldn’t help but laugh, remembering what his mother told me in confidence when I had first met her, “My son’s a stupid boy.” ;)
Enjoyed the scenes between Auden and Eli, and liked the idea of the quest. I thought it kind of cute, and wondered why couldn’t I meet a guy like him! But then, like the majority of Dessen’s books, the story just regresses. Auden, in the beginning is mature, ready to tackle whatever problem is at hand. Then her father and stepmother break up and she falls apart. Reverting to her father’s emotional displacement, she drives everything and everyone away, including Eli. So dumb and immature.
I also hated some of the relationships described in the book. Dessen taps into Freudian psychoanalysis with her descriptions of Victoria’s unconditional love for her son, Hollis, and her own clandestine relationships with younger men, who happen to be the same age as her own son. And then there’s Hollis’ own burgeoning romance with Laura, an older woman and model of his own mother. *
In truth, this book only deserves two stars, but I’m willing to give it three, as I liked the last paragraph.