This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen
Summary from Goodreads:
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn't mess around. After all, she's learned all there is to know from her mother, who's currently working on husband number five. But there's something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy's rules. He certainly doesn't seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can't seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy's starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
Sarah Dessen is a name that is widely known in the Contemporary YA genre and I have been meaning to pick one of her books up for so long now. But it always gets pushed way down my TBR because I sort of thought that it just might be too romance focused for me. Luckily, some people over at the Filipino Goodreads Group did a buddy read for this particular novel. And that was just the extra push I needed to finally get started on my very first Dessen read. So, I thank you my lovely reading buddies!
First off, I particularly liked the dynamics of the group of friends in the story. I had the same affinity for Remy's best girl friends and Dexter's band mates, as I had with those found in John Green's stories. They have an interesting mix of personalities that gel and clash in all the right and funny places. They were a source of many banters and antics that were definitely fun to read. And despite being minor characters, these friends sure are pretty memorable.
As for the main characters, Remy and Dexter, I love the contrasting characters. Remy is the neat, organized, pragmatic, and planning type. Dexter is the messy, happy-go-lucky, goofy, let's just wing it guy. While I've had my fair share of "opposites attract" type of romance, I enjoyed this one because it's not just the usual bad boy rock star - practical good girl kind. In fact it even goes beyond the contrasting personalities I mentioned. It's their differing outlook on love, which is not something than can be overcome by patience or some little quirk that one can just put up with. Remy is a cynic about love. To her true love does not exist. Relationships never last forever so why bother putting in all the effort? While Dexter is a believer of true and lasting love and taking chances when such an opportunity strikes. And it was interesting to read how these two would fare. Will they be able to work out their opposing outlooks? Who will cave in to the other? Will they last? Another plus, is that I was never really for certain if they will end up together.
Another thing that surprised me is that the book does not focus too much on the Remy and Dexter romance all the time. Other stories of interest shared the limelight. Of particular importance would be the one on Remy's mom, and how she goes through one husband after another, this in turn greatly influenced Remy's own view of love. Then little stories about her friends like Lissa, about Dexter's band and their struggles to make it in the biz, about Chris, Remy's brother; can be found all throughout the the book and added much color to the main story.
Lastly, there were many funny dialogues in the story, discourses on relationships, marriages, and friendships after break ups and there were quite a number of introspection in it, and I immensely enjoyed all of these things. I've had my fair share of YA stories whose bulk contains too many touchy-feely descriptions. (As opposed to what one of our buddy reader, Patrick, might say. This seems tamer on the touchy feelys in my opinion. Hihi. :D)
Okay. So, what of my first Dessen experience? It was good! I must admit, I misjudged this book. I found that it fits nicely with my type of Contemporary YA Romance read. This author was a new and pleasant discovery.