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Sarah Dessen is a queen of coming of age YA contemporaries. She can write a 500 page book of filler scenes and I will still read it. Sarah has a way of capturing essence of being a lost teenager. Every time I read her books, I am reminded of being stuck in my own state of mind when I was in school. Its not always a pleasant feeling, and sometimes you end up doubting if you are just being a drama queen or not. Dessen assures you its pretty normal.
She writes family dynamics in a very realistic way. The relationships are real, raw and hurtful at times. McLean's voice us poignant and strong, and the writing is very simple but super immersive. Dessen does not need to rely on purple prose or poetry to make her prose fulfilling. Her style is substantial and this is why her books are a pleasant read to me. Mclean's struggles felt my own and I could relate to her problems because I know how family can sometimes be your greatest supporter, while hurting you the most. The side characters were endearing. Dave is like any other Dessen's love interest. He is a nice guy and he is pretty normal and not every writer can pull off this feat. Having a male love interest who has all the good/real qualities ever and he still remains compelling? Welcome to Dessen Land. Also some conversations between the two characters made me super emotional. It takes trust and friendship to find a good relationship and Mclean's development with Dave was super sweet, without being in your face.