I got frustrated with this book. I know that a lot of people love it, but I had a hard time getting through it.
In English class, Laurel is assigned to write a letter to a dead celebrity. She uses the assignment as a way to cope with the death of her sister, her parents’ divorce, the drama of high school, and her own past.
I think my issues with this book come from the fact that I read a ton of contemporary YA. I read more of that genre than any other. I feel like I’ve read this book before. Many, many, many times. For me, the ending was so predictable that I had a hard time sitting through all of the angst to get to the big reveal. It’s a slow book, and there is a lot of angst. I know that there are real-life teenagers who are going through similar problems to what Laurel experiences in the book, so this is an important story, but I don’t think it’s a very interesting story. It’s just been done too many times.
I also think that Laurel’s character is inconsistent. She’s very childish for a 13-15 year-old, but sometimes she suddenly gets philosophical and sounds like a 40 year-old poetry professor. Laurel’s love interest, Sky, also bothers me. I’ve seen this character too many times in YA fiction. He’s a sexy, mysterious, loner with a troubled past who shows up to save Laurel whenever she needs saving. I wanted to like him, but he doesn’t have much depth.
I’m probably making this book sound terrible. It’s not. I like the secondary characters. Hannah and Natalie are my favorites, and I found their relationship believable. I also think that some elements of Laurel and Sky’s relationship are very realistic. They both have communication issues, and Laurel sometimes expects Sky to be a mind-reader, which causes tension in their relationship. I like that Laurel learns how to communicate over the course of the story. She learns not to be afraid of her own voice, and that’s a very good message for the reader to take away from the book.
This novel reminds me a lot of The Perks of Being a Wallflower, but I think that Perks is more successful at doing everything that this book is trying to do. This one just didn’t work for me.