Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak – Penguin Group
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, Kindle
Page Count: 281
Halley and Scarlett are best friends. Scarlett dates Michael but keeps it quiet, with only Halley knowing. Tragedy strikes – over the summer, Michael is killed.
Going back to school on the first day, Scarlett tells Halley she feels ill. Halley meets a new boy, Macon, and begins to develop a crush on him. Her mother becomes very nosy and keeps asking Halley about Macon.
Later, Scarlett tells Halley she is pregnant, by Michael. They decide to tell Scarlett’s mother, and her mother insists on an abortion.
On the day of the abortion, Scarlett decides against it; Halley and Macon take her home. Halley’s mother thinks they are cutting class, and grounds Halley. She sneaks out anyway, with Macon. They make out passionately, leaving Halley feeling as though the girl she used to be is gone, and replaced by someone new. Macon is insistent above having sex; although Helley thinks about it a lot, she decides she isn’t ready. Macon grows distant and Halley’s mother, who has never liked him, forbids her from seeing him.
Halley finally decides to have sex with Macon, and plans to do so at a New Year’s Eve party. Scarlett tries to convince her not do it. Halley gets drunk, throws up, and makes Macon drive her home. He is too busy shouting at her to watch the road and they get into a major accident. Before going into the emergency room, Macon holds Halley’s hand tightly and says, “I love you.”
After Halley gets out of the hospital, Macon comes to see her. Halley, having had enough, breaks up with him. Macon is crushed; he has realized he’s in love with her. Later, Halley bumps into her friend, Elizabeth. Elizabeth tells her that Macon still loves her.
They are interrupted by the news that Scarlett has gone into labor. Macon drives them to the hospital. Scarlett names the baby Grace Halley. After everything has calmed down aagain, Halley walks home alone, happy, thinking about how she’s changed since the previous summer.
Well-plotted and easy to read, Sarah Dessen’s realistic portrayal of teens and their moral challenges breathes fresh life into well-worn themes of rebellion and first love. The adult characters are somewhat flat, but the fully developed characterizations of teens, particularly the rebel-without-a-cause-type, are very true-to-life, including the desire many girls have to take a walk on the wild side.
A true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
Information about the Author
Sarah Dessen is an American writer. Born in Evanston, Illinois, she grew up in Chapel Hill. North Carolina. She dropped out of Greensboro College in Greensboro, North Carolina, and later attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing.
Dessen is the author of eleven novels, including Someone Like You, Just Listen and The Moon and More. She waitressed at the Flying Burrito Restaurant in Chapel Hill while launching her writing career. Her first book, That Summer, was published in 1996.
Following the publication of Dreamland, Dessen taught at the University of North Carolina. She resides in North Carolina with her husband and daughter Sasha.
When to keep secrets; when not to?
Abortion for young girls?
Reading Level/Interest Age
Interest Level: 12 and up
Teen sex, teen pregnancy, abortion