Readers can count on Dessen; she's a pro at creating characters caught at a nexus of change, who have broken relationships and who need to make decisions.
Here readers meet Mclean, who has been living a nomadic existence with her divorced father for the past two years, reinventing herself every time they move for his job (a restaurant fixer). For some reason, this town is different. She finds herself moving through the world again as Mclean—not Eliza, Lisbeth or Beth—and making friends, almost reluctantly. She's been avoiding her mother diligently, as it was her affair with the coach of the college-basketball program Mclean and her dad lived for that broke the family up. As she becomes closer with friends and the cute boy next door, she also finds herself involved in a project—assembling an intricate three-dimensional model of the town—sited in an unused room above the restaurant her father is trying to turn around. It doesn't take a keen literary eye to see that Mclean is literally building a community, both in the physical model and the emotional network she finds in her new friends. She's an entirely likable narrator, guiding readers through her story expertly, always consciously a beat behind them.
Even though Mclean’s path is clear from the get-go, readers will enjoy every minute they spend with her. (Fiction. 12 & up)