Macy’s summer isn’t looking too hot. For one, her boyfriend, Jason, is going to be away at ‘Brain Camp’. For another, she’s agreed to take over his job at the library working the information desk. Her free time will most likely be spent either studying for the SATs or hanging with her mother, who has become a workaholic since Macy’s father died.

But things start looking up when Macy breaks away from her monotonous life and takes a job with Wish Catering, where the people are colorful and alive, and every thing that could go wrong, does. But somehow it’s okay. And through it all, Macy tries to figure out who she is and what that means for her boyfriend, her mother… and the gorgeous boy, Wes, she’s gotten to know from a game of Truth.

So, I’ve been playing catch-up these past few months, trying to cram as much YA lit as possible into my reading schedule since I sort of drifted away from it during high school and suddenly felt behind on… everything.

One bright spot since undergoing this project is finding Sarah Dessen. Her books aren’t the usual teen romance, though that’s typically how they’re categorized. At the heart of them, they’re about a girl who needs to work through an issue, be that figuring out how to tell a secret, discovering love in the unlikeliest of places after deciding it doesn’t exist, or dealing with the grief that comes from losing a beloved parent, as is the case in The Truth About Forever.

With every Dessen book I’ve read so far (I’m up to three!), I can’t get over the amount of details she puts in them. The characters are flesh and blood. They have distinct personalities and quirks. Everyone, down to the secondary fringe characters, are realistic and different. And it seems that with every book of hers I read, she only gets better.

The most extraordinary thing I’ve found is that I actually like the heroines. Macy is just trying to do the right thing, be it enduring long hours at a job she hates with two of the snobbiest girls in the world just to appease her boyfriend, or never bringing up her father because she’s not sure if her mother can handle it. She never had the opportunity to properly grieve for him since she went straight from shocked  to ‘fine’. She’s been ‘fine’ for so long, she doesn’t realize there’s more to life than that, until she starts hanging out with the people at Wish.

Pregnant Delia runs the show, somehow handling a business, preparing the food, dealing with crisis after crisis, taking care of her toddler daughter, and keeping an eye on her deceased friend’s children – Wes & Bert. Her operation is a close-knit one with everyone who works there living next to each other – Delia excluded. Kristy quickly becomes friends with Delia on her first night. She’s wild, loves clothes, and puts them together in outfits that I envy. Monica, Kristy’s sister, is nicknamed ‘Monotone’ and moves slow enough to make a sloth seem like The Flash. Bert is a fashion disaster and wholeheartedly believes that Armageddon is imminent. Then there’s Wes. He’s gorgeous, artistic to the point it’s considered genius, and might have served some time in reform school. …But everyone makes mistakes. This electric group of people were crazy and hilarious, and I found myself wishing I could work with them on more than one occasion.

Macy’s growth as a person and acceptance of her father’s death is captivating. I hated putting the book down, much to my boyfriend’s annoyance. But in between the serious moments are funny ones as well. Ones that made me laugh aloud – a feat few books can claim.

There’s so much more going on in this book, but I don’t want to give away everything. It was heartwarming in the truest sense, and I hope you read it, if you haven’t already.

Next up on my “Read Everything Sarah Dessen Has Written” campaign is Lock and Key.

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