I've read quite a few Sarah Dessen books now and I'm very happy I've finally come across her books and given them a chance. While the endings seem a bit abrupt, I really enjoy the story that Dessen weaves like only she can.
I really felt bad for McLean and her father in this book. I don't know if I ever warmed to her mother and I can't say why I was so firmly against anything to do with McLean's mother, but I did find myself hoping McLean would found a way to get rid of her. But, it did make for an interesting story. I really liked reading about how McLean reinvented herself at 3 other schools (even if it might not be entirely healthy) and her lack of a new self for her most recent move. It made her endearing as she learned to finally be herself.
I really liked her father. He was a passionate guy, who loved his daughter. While McLean ended up taking care of him more than she should have for a daughter, you could see the love they had for each other practically glow from the pages. It was sweet.
I wasn't sure what to make of the romance in this at first. Dave wasn't someone I would have clung to at first, but after a bit, he really grows on you! I really felt bad for the way he grew up. While he didn't have a bad childhood or anything, he wasn't really able to do the things that kids normally do. Like get in trouble, have friends, go out. I was glad to see his character grow a bit too as the story unfolded.
Of course, along with the others, I highly recommend this book. Sarah Dessen is pure genius when she puts pen to paper. Or fingers to keyboard.