Author: Sarah Dessen
Release Date: April 22nd, 2008
Published by: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 422 pages
Goodreads Rating: 4.04 stars
Review: Ruby's family was far from perfect. Her older sister dropped contact with them after college, her dad is absent, and her mom lives for drugs and alcohol. This all made Ruby used to dealing with things by herself, so when her mom disappears, she carries on living in her house like nothing's changed. But people find out, and she's sent to live with her sister, Cora, who she hasn't seen in ten years. It feels strange to live in Cora's huge, luxurious home, but stranger yet is Nate, the boy next door, who seems to have his own big secret.
This is the second book I've read by Sarah Dessen, and I really liked it! Ruby was such a strong character who didn't let herself fall victim to her circumstances, like when she managed to live on her own even while her mom was missing for months. One thing I will say, though, was that I didn't really connect with Ruby that well. I felt like I never got to know her. However, this book got so many raving reviews, it might just have been me!
Cora and Jamie (her sister's husband) were awesome characters. I could feel the awkwardness between Cora and Ruby like it was happening to me, and I was thrilled when they finally had their heart-to-heart. It was so heart-warming to see as they grew to know and love each other. Jamie was great too - I would love to know him in real life! He's the modest, intelligent founder of that world's version of Facebook (called UMe, though I don't understand the name). Given his young age, I would say he's definitely inspired by Mark Zuckerberg.
I didn't like Nate too much. There was nothing wrong with him per se, but he was just a normal guy who didn't - in my opinion - get explored to the depth I thought he could. Like with Ruby, I was hoping to get to know him better. Since I never felt like I really got to know either side of the couple, the romance didn't affect me too much. However, it has to be said Nate's little brother was adorable!
All in all, I liked reading this but just wasn't too impressed. Ruby and Nate didn't do it for me, but I loved all the other characters, from the major ones (Cora, Jamie) to the minor (Nate's little brother, the woman Ruby works for). Fans of Sarah Dessen will probably love this one, although it's likely they've already read it ;) I give it 3 stars out of 5.