Source: A used book store in Atlanta, GA that I can't remember the name of
Age Group: Young Adult
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?
So, I read This Lullaby roughly 3 years ago, for the first time. Since then, it was always my favorite Dessen book, but I never re-read it- until today. And, my goodness, I think I've been reminded why it's my favorite book of hers, and quite possibly one of my favorite books ever.
Let's have some backstory here, real quick: I've started about ten books or so in the past week- and haven't been able to finish a single one of them. And they aren't bad books. I just can't get into it. Typically I have an issue with the romance. I'm finding it all so cliche and predictable and boring so I went back to a book I know I loved.
And it was perfect. I read it in a matter of hours and found myself laughing and crying (often at the same time), and there were pieces of the plot and their romance and Remy that I hadn't remembered and it felt like an entirely new book. I loved her cynical view of romance. I loved the way the book wasn't about her and Dexter (how cute is his name?) being together- it was about Remy learning that maybe love is worth it, and what she does with that knowledge. Remy is one of my favorite MCs ever, just because she was this awful cynic who really just hated everything. And her friends were awesome and terrible all at once. They stuck with her no matter what, but they only really got along with each other when they were ripping on Remy. It was such a good depiction of how friends can suck and be the best friends ever all at once. (I have a few like that) This book is simply perfection.
The plot isn't really all that matters here- though there were some adorable Remy/Dexter moments that made me feel all warm and fuzzy inside- it's the way Remy went through life and how she changed throughout the book. But, we'll talk about the plot to get there. It's the summer after Remy and her 3 BFFs have graduated high school, and all four are going off to separate colleges- Remy all the way to Stanford. She plans to leave "scot-free" and the book begins the day she breaks up with her current BF- because breaking up is what she does best. Earlier that day, though, she is literally crashed into by this boy who claims that she and he are meant to be together (this would be Dexter). She thinks he's a total freak and thinks nothing of it. As June progresses, though, the two continue to run into each other and kind of become friends (though Remy would never admit it). He's everything she isn't, and breaks all the rules she's carefully set up. Her friends are kind of freaked out by their developing relationship, because this isn't the kind of guy Remy even puts up with. But, when he's there for her when no one else is, they end up dating.
Only a third or so of the book is really spent with them actually together, and throughout their entire relationship, Remy is forcing herself not to fall in love with him. Because her mother has been married 5 times (if you count the first one, which Remy doesn't), Remy doesn't believe in love. She sees it only as an instrument that can cause pain and she wants none of it. Yet she's had 15 odd boyfriends in the past 2 years. I know I've said this already, but I just love the way Remy's character was written. All of her thoughts are cynical and self-loathing. She hates her reputation of being easy and they way she looks when she's drunk. Her friends make fun of her for it, but they're not perfect either. She loves to remind them that she's not as bad as she used to be because she quit smoking. She mentions it a lot. Remy is extremely confident though. She knows guys like her, she knows she's pretty, she knows exactly how to be in a relationship. But, she hates the way they end and tries her best to end any relationship first.
Dexter is a klutz. He trips over everything and just kind of flails about in life, and he's happy. He and his band live together in the yellow house and they're slovenly and gross (as boys living with other boys tend to be). He has a dog named Monkey. He's optimistic and loves challenges more than anything. He makes all kinds of stupid bets on stupid things and everyone gets a kick out of it. He and Remy were complete opposites. He's crazy and wild, while she's careful and controlled. No one eats in her car. Dexter eats in her car. That sort of thing. I just loved the side of her that Dexter was able to finally coax out. I loved them together. I loved everything about them. And him. I really loved him.
When I finish reading any Sarah Dessen book, I always wanna go out and fall in love or something. All of her books are so hopeful and have the best romances. I clearly give This Lullaby five staches of pure awesomeness.