Publication Date: June 2012 (this edition)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 228 (paperback)
Source: From Publisher For Review
Never underestimate the power of friendship.
When Colie goes to spend the summer at the beach, she doesn't expect much.
But Colie didn't count on meeting Morgan and Isabel.
Through them, she learns what true friendship is all about, and finally starts to realize her potential.
And that just might open the door to her first chance at love...
This book may be short, but it packs a whole lot of heart. When you're looking for a beautiful story of self-discovery, you know Dessen will always do the trick. All I can say is that I'm so thankful she's written this book, one of her ultimate favorites because of how important Colie's journey is.
Colie is spending the summer at the beach with her aunt Mira while her mother, famed fitness guru Kiki Sparks, tours Europe without her. Once they had nothing, now they have everything they could ever want and the skinny bodies that eluded them years before, but that doesn't mean Colie is happy. In fact, she's the most unhappy she's ever been despite her mother's success. This is her story of finding herself.
I think the best thing about this book is how relatable Colie is. I mean, it's a little ridiculous how much I understand her. I may not go about discovering myself by dying my hair or getting a lip piercing (my parents would kill me!), but I understand her and her struggles. Knowing that you have done everything in your power to make yourself be happy and fix what you perceived as your flaws, but still allowing others to hurt you is something I (and many other young adults) understand. Furthermore, being sensitive and taking all insults to heart instead of allowing them to be easily brushed off is something that I can relate to as well. Words are powerful weapons, and they hurt even when you don't want them to. Colie understands that and easily depicts something I've struggled with overcoming for a very long time by allowing her low self-esteem rule her life, but watching her begin to have more confidence in herself thanks to a waitress job, of all things, was super uplifting. And, like her, I eventually found my way, too.
This story is also lovely because of the friendships in it. I can't tell you how much this story depicts crazy awesome friends...the ones that'll do anything for each other and are undeniably loyal until the very end. Friends can fight and pick up the pieces and forget it ever happened, and they can also take turns blasting terrible music while they sit outside and talk for hours. They are there to cheer you up even if they have funny ways of showing it, and they support you simply because you are you and they love you. The friends that Colie makes in this book thanks to her summer job at the local diner down the road are perfect. They are unique and crazy, sometimes a little rude (part of their charm!), but honest and loving. And I really like that about them. It's made all the more awesome by the fact that Dessen apparently based this aspect of her story after working at a burrito shack herself and using it as a way to come out of her shell and discover amazing friendships.
But, the biggest take away of this story is acceptance. Accepting yourself and being proud of who you are, accepting the weird quirks that those close to you have and indulging them with a huge smile on your face, accepting that some people simply will not change but that some people will. And, most importantly, accepting that you deserve to be happy, even if the people making you happy aren't what you imagined they would be in the past. Live in the present and roll with it with a huge smile on your face. If anything, that's what Colie's story has reminded me and will teach other younger readers as Dessen's novels continue to be a main staple in any YA reader's life.
All I've gotta say is thank heavens for Sarah Dessen!
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for my honest review.