I usually avoid YA books like the plague because 99% of the time, I find that the teenaged characters are almost ALWAYS annoying and bratty, yet paradoxically mature beyond their years. Yeah, right.
Plus, I can't handle all the flighty and stupid-sounding teen lingo (O-M-G! Totes!). It's just not cool, cute, or entertaining (although I'm sure teen readers love it because hey - that's the target market, right?). My parents seriously would have killed me if I so much as uttered the word "ain't," much less all the other crazy vocabulary used by teens nowadays, which most of the time I need to google to even remotely understand what it means.
However, Someone Like You was very enjoyable, and I'll explain why shortly after this synopsis.
Halley and Scarlett have been best friends for years. Now juniors in high school, the two are closer than ever, especially when Scarlett's boyfriend Michael Sherwood - the sexiest, most coveted boy in school - dies in a motorcycle accident. As if dealing with her grief isn't burdensome enough, Scarlett learns she is pregnant with Michael's baby, even though she had only had sex with him one time.
As Halley helps Scarlett cope with her new dilemma, Halley deals with drama of her own. For one, Halley's new boyfriend Macon is TOO mysterious to the point where Halley has no idea how he spends his free time or who he hangs out with outside of school. Second, Halley's controlling therapist mother won't allow Halley to live her own life and experience her own (albeit relatively small) mistakes.
In the end, Halley and Scarlett must learn how to deal with their own problems, while still managing to support each other and maintain a strong and harmonious friendship.
Someone Like You is written in a manner that makes it easy for readers to put themselves in the shoes of both the teens and parents. Although the novel is written in first-person from Halley's point of view, the characters are made so brilliantly and life-like that you'll feel emotions coming at you from all directions, from all the characters.
I think I especially liked Someone Like You because it was published in 1998 - which is the same year I graduated from high school. It was easy for me to relate to Halley and Scarlett given its time period, sans any time-sensitive references to cell phones, social media, the Internet, etc. Additionally, as a parent, I found myself on both sides of the fence regarding many of the rules and expectations set in place by the girls' parents, most specifically Halley's mother.
I was happy with the outcomes between Halley and Scarlett, Halley and Macon, and best of all, Halley and her mother.
Sarah Dessen's more recent novels include The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, and Lock and Key.
Click on any of the images of the books below to learn more about them on Amazon's website.
What are your favorite YA novels? Did you read Dessen's Someone Like You and if so, what did you think? Let us know in the comments section below.