Title: Someone Like You
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: YA contemporary
Source: Purchased (ebook)
Halley has always followed in the wake of her best friend, Scarlett. But when Scarlett learns that her boyfriend has been killed in a motorcycle accident, and that she’s carrying his baby, she’s devastated. For the first time ever, Scarlett really needs Halley. Their friendship may bend under the weight, but it’ll never break–because a true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
After falling in love with an author for their current works, I’m always so scared to venture into their back catalogue. Will I like what they first started writing? Is the writing now consistent with the writing from back then? Someone Like You was published in 1998, so I was terrified reading it 15 years later (having said that, does anyone else feel old?). I had read another first work by Sarah Dessen and wasn’t the biggest fan, so let’s just say that my water wings were on when I first waded into this one.
While the writing style still isn’t quite like that of her current works, which are so easy to get into and have a perfect blend of drama and comedy, this book was still a great read. In fact, I dove into it without even reading what the synopsis said about it and was kind of ticked with myself when I went to add the book on Goodreads only to have part of the story — a surprise it would have been for me! — ruined by reading the synopsis. Actually, I’m a little upset that this one detail is included in the synopsis because it happens quite far into the book.
Still, I loved the transformation of the characters in this story. When the story starts out it seems like the characters are so young, but they do a lot of growing as the story progresses. The tragedy that happens in the beginning could have been a real downer for the story — and it kind of is, in some ways — but Sarah really tries to not make it SUCH a sad thing that’s happening. The fact that Scarlett’s boyfriend died is a huge thing for the story, but it really sets up the tone for the friendship between Scarlett and Halley and the secret that friends keep. In fact, I’m pretty sure we all have that friend who’s harbouring a deep secret that they don’t want to share, even with their best friend.
I love how I can see Sarah’s writing style start to grow with this story. It’s quite unlike her first novel, but still has that sadness to it and a lack of the witty banter and humour that is present in her current novels. I wouldn’t say that it was a favourite story of mine, and it wouldn’t be one that I would recommend to readers interested in trying out her works, but once you’ve gotten your feet wet with her current stories, I would say give this one a go. It’s sad, but still has plenty of heart that her readers have come to love.