A high school graduate realizes that having a near-perfect life means not always having the best of everything.
It’s Emaline’s last summer in her hometown of Colby, a seaside tourist mecca where nothing ever changes. But there’re big changes in store for Emaline, and what starts out as a happily predictable summer turns into one of emotional twists and turns. Accepted at Columbia, her dream school, Emaline must instead settle for the lesser, local college when her chronically absent father reneges on his offer to pay. Then her perfect, steady boyfriend suddenly begins behaving imperfectly. Another curveball comes in the form of Emaline’s burgeoning relationship with Theo, a sophisticated, go-getting film student from NYU who comes to Colby to shoot a documentary and who urges Emaline to aim for greatness. But she is torn, weighing the comfort of her family and the familiarity of small-town life against her belief that her potential rests only in bigger, better things. In the end, Emaline’s plans seem almost as surprising to her as they might be to readers. Dessen’s characters behave as deliciously unpredictably as people do in real life, and just as in real life, they sometimes have to make difficult choices with not-so-predictable outcomes. Luckily for her readers, it also makes for good fiction.
Completely engaging, infused with moments of sweetness, humor and major epiphanies. (Fiction. 12 & up)