My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary (from Goodreads): 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?
Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.
My Summary: Ever since she can remember, it's been Ruby and her mom against the world. Until the day her mom doesn't return home, and Ruby's left to fend for herself. For a while it was fun, until things started going wrong and Ruby was picked up by child services and sent to live with her sister Cora and her husband. Cora and Jamie give Ruby everything she could ever want, but she can't shake the feeling that she'd be betraying her mom by suddenly forgiving Cora for abandoning them 10 years ago...
My Thoughts: This was my second Sarah Dessen novel, and I really enjoyed it. I loved the way Dessen wrote the dynamic characters and the growth experienced by Ruby, Nate, and even Cora - it wasn't too fast (like some miraculous transformation or something) and it wasn't too slow either. Dessen set a believable pace, and her characters felt genuine and easy to relate to. The characters were definitely my favourite part of the novel.
I liked the way the author approached the themes in this book as well - Dessen shows us that there are no perfect solutions, and that sometimes you just have to let people go. I found this really refreshing, because there's nothing I hate more than reading a novel where there's a huge problem or conflict and the characters stress about it for 99% of the book, and when the time comes for a solution it's quick, painless, and lasts for less than 5 pages (you know what I mean, right?). I hate it when all the loose ends in a contemporary lit novel are tied into a nice little bow, because real life isn't like that; not everything is going to work out, and big problems don't go away with 'quick fixes'.
Final Thoughts: I recommend this novel to anyone who is a fan of Sarah Dessen's work, and also to anyone who likes edgier contemporary literature. There are some mature themes so its probably best to leave it to readers 16 and up, but other than that I think a lot of readers will enjoy this book!