March 1st 2009
"Ruby, where is your mother?" Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she's been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.That's how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she
hasn't seen in ten years, and Cora's husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around. A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future—it's a dream come true. So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
I, um, I don't know if you ever picked this up in the short time that I've been running this blog, but I am completely and irrevocably in love with Sarah Dessen. Not literally, of course, because I don't even know her or anything, but I *love* her books. There's just something that comes with them after you've read two or three, where you start to realise the formula and you don't even care. There's just a sense of familiarity about them, and comforting. They're like the book equivalent of a favourite blanket or a cup of tea, they just make me feel all warm and snuggly inside (I sound like a freak, I know.) They're just lovely.
I also love the way that in all of her books (that I've read) they've all tackled 'issues', like in this one abandonment and abuse, without being 'issues' books. I like that, because I sometimes feel with issues books that they isolate the issue and turn the book into being about the issue instead of the person suffering. When you read about issues intertwined into a normal persons life, it feels more relateable, and less like it's something to be ashamed of, I guess? I mean, I like issues books and whatever, even if I don't read a great deal of them (read - hardly any), but I don't know. I just feel like if I had one of the issues at hand, I'd rather read about it incorporated in a story about other stuff that and story mainly about said issue. But I could just be really strange.
Anyway, I loved the way that Ruby's abandonment was handled, and how she coped with it. It was really interesting because I think she's one of Sarah Dessen's heroines I've related most to. I relate really well to all of them, because she just has a way of completely understanding the teenage mindset, and it kind of scares me. She gets teenagers better than I get teenagers, which is weird considering I *am* one. But then again, I kind of suck at being a good teenager. I still haven't had a rebellious phase. I'm such an awful teenager, I know. But yeah, just the whole journey she went on, and her philosophies and stuff. I'm one of those people that expects the worst so that nothing is a disappointment, and I kind of realise how negative that can make me sound sometimes! But I really liked Ruby a lot when we got to know her better, and I think she's a great example of how teens thing and feel and perceive certain things.
Another one of my favourite things about Sarah Dessen books is that, yes, there's romance, but the main focus is usually on the main character understanding herself better, and about family. I have never met a family in one of Sarah Dessen's that I'm yet to dislike, and Cora and Jamie were no exception. I really loved Jamie a lot, and I think he was just such a great person, you know? I'd love to be in a family with someone like him. I'd happily dress up as an elf with him as Santa and give people presents in the neighbourhood! I have a lot of Holiday spirit, sometimes... And Cora was awesome too. I could understand why there was friction between her and Ruby at times, but she always had her best interests at heart, and it was great to learn that she's always cared about Ruby and always tried to get in touch with her when Ruby was still living with her mother.
Nate was so great! I'm also yet to find a main boy character in one of Sarah Dessen's books that I haven't loved completely (but I've never read Dreamland so that is still subject to change). I just wanted to give him a massive hug, especially by the end, and I can't believe that his father would ever do that to him. I just don't understand why you'd take your frustration about your failing business out on your own son. Get a freaking stress ball or something! I didn't like his dad one bit, ever since that scene with him and Roscoe (who was so freaking adorable, btw). Harriet was another of my favourite characters, and I really wanted to see more of her and Reggie! I hope they worked out well too.
I could go on forever about Sarah Dessen's books and just the characters alone, but I reckon you don't have enough time for that, and I'd just be making the same points about all of them anyway, (being that I adored them), so I think I'll wrap it up now, and just say that I'd read the phone book if Sarah Dessen had written it.