Prolific author Dessen (Once and for All, 2017, etc.) spends summer at the lake.
Seventeen-year-old Emma’s dentist father has just remarried, 10 years after divorcing Emma’s addict mother, who later died of an overdose. Between memories of her mother, her anxious father, and Nana, her wealthy, patrician, paternal grandmother, who helped raise her, Emma’s grown up more than a little anxious herself. Unexpected complications mean she has to spend the three weeks of her father’s honeymoon with her mother’s side of the family in the resort town where they live. Emma’s mother was raised there, but Emma hasn’t visited in years. The family runs an inexpensive motel on the original, working-class side of North Lake; Emma’s parents met when he taught sailing lessons at the more modern, highbrow resort area called Lake North. Emma finds a place in North Lake, working and playing with her idiosyncratic cousins and their friends, but her sense of belonging is disrupted when her dad returns and he and Nana force her to move to the rich side for two weeks. There’s a mild romance, mild drama, and a large cast of teenagers having a good time. Most of the characters are reasonably well drawn, though Emma’s anxiety never feels particularly acute. The rich kid/poor kid developments sometimes feel stereotypical, and excepting one secondary Asian American character, everyone defaults to white.
Not earthshaking but pleasant and an easy read. (Fiction. 14-18)