Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

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This Lullaby
Sarah Dessen
New York: Speak, Penguin Group, 2004
Paperback, 345 pages

Rating: 5 out of 5

Synopsis:

The science of breaking up…

Remy always knows when to give a guy “the speech” — right after the initial romantic rush, but before anything gets too serious. She’s had her fair share of boyfriends, and she’s learned all there is to learn from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. So why is it that Remy can’t seem to dump Dexter? It can’t be his name. It can’t be that he’s messy and disorganized. And it certainly isn’t that he’s a musician — just like Remy’s father, a man she never knew because he left before she was born. Could it be that Remy’s romantic rules to live by don’t apply anymore?

From acclaimed author Sarah Dessen comes a captivating novel about a tough-as-nails girl and the boy who’s determined to soften her up.

Review:

I love Sarah Dessen. She’s one of my must-read authors and I have every single one of her novels. But no matter how many new novels she’s released since 2004, my absolute favourites are This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever. Which is why I reread these two every year and I thought that it was only right to do a review of This Lullaby after my most recent reread.

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Remy is quite a character. She’s loyal, driven, focused, and a girl you want on your side in a fight. At the same time, she’s got secrets and a soft side to her that she doesn’t let others know as she sees it as weakness. I love that she’s not a perfect heroine. She can be quite pessimistic and controlling. She’s quick to judge others. She doesn’t believe in love and scorns those who do. But we see that there is more to her when she makes decisions that show that she’s got more heart to her.

Some things don’t last forever, but some things do. Like a good song, or a good book, or a good memory you can take out and unfold in your darkest times, pressing down on the corners and peering in close, hoping you still recognize the person you see there. – This Lullaby

The thing about Sarah Dessen that makes her one of my favourite authors is that she doesn’t idealize romance and love. Nor does she disregard young love. And you can really get that from This Lullaby. It’s about loving, taking chances, taking risks – even if the love is not perfect.

No relationship is perfect, ever. There are always some ways you have to bend, to compromise, to give something up in order to gain something greater…The love we have for each other is bigger than these small differences. And that’s the key. It’s like a big pie chart, and the love in a relationship has to be the biggest piece. Love can make up for a lot. – This Lullaby

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If you haven’t read This Lullaby (oh, the horror), I would highly recommend it. I’m still waiting for Sarah Dessen to write the novel of all novels to top this. But I’m wondering if it’s because I’m no longer the same age as her characters and that’s why I’m finding it harder to relate to her new books. Whereas I first made my connections with this book when I was at the right age and that sentimental nostalgia keeps it my favourite.

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