Disclaimer: I listened to the audiobook version, which I suspect tainted my perception and understanding of the story and characters.
The one word that keeps coming to mind when I think of this book is cutesie. So much of the story is adorable, quirky, secretly beautiful, misfit teens falling in love. Which is great, and in many ways I will never tire of reading those stories. However, the narrator, Jessie, is a 16 year old who has recently lost her mother and moved across the country.
And many of the other central characters have had their own experiences with grief and tragedy. These two competing facets of the book, at times, weighed the story down in unmanagable ways.
Despite being in first person, things become very obvious to the reader that the narrator doesn’t learn or realize for many many chapters. I absolutely enjoyed reading this book. It touches on all of the central aspects of a teen’s life and I think does well in portraying the complicated nature of moving forward in the midst of grief. The development of friendships, old and new, in this story is sweet and realistic.
The reader can expect to recognize people from their own lives in the characters in this book. I definitely laughed, and I may have gotten teary eyed, but I also turned up the speed for the last few chapters to finish the story. I don’t think it’s impossible to hate this book but I also think if you love this story you will really LOVE this story.
Mood: Bazooka bubble gum: pink, nostalgic, sugary and delicious, comes with a joke, but the flavor won’t last forever
For Fans Of: Laura Jean Trilogy, Sarah Dessen, The Upside of Unrequited.