Author: Deb Caletti
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Scarlett Hughes is overly involved in the lives of everyone around her, and exceptionally interested in the habits of her neighbors. But Scarlett is thrust solidly into her own life when her sister, Juliet, returns home from school—pregnant and surprisingly married to a sweet, handsome man whom she seems to have no interest in, but who is hopelessly in love with her. Forced to take a look inward for the first time, Scarlett discovers the necessity of dreams, as well as the necessity of facing reality and speaking the truth.
I feel like I should just direct any readers of this review to my review of Wild Roses, because I mostly had the same problems with this book as I did with the other one. Protagonist Scarlett isn’t as judgmental as Cassie from that book, but she’s irritating in a different way.
Scarlett is the good guy who only ever does anything for other people, never actually thinking about herself. At least, that’s the character she’s supposed to be, but sometimes I think this was a case of show, don’t tell, because it didn’t seem obvious that she was like that based on the book itself. I had trouble connecting with Scarlett and feeling sympathy for her. I liked some of the background characters and was interested in their stories, but I wasn’t as big a fan of Scarlett.
Like Wild Roses, it was the story itself that kept me interested. Not everything kept my attention, but the main story involving Scarlett’s sister and her new husband kept me interested. A secondary subplot that involved an apparently-stereotypical Goth neighbour and a loner obsessed with fire or bombs or something seemed to just be there to show that Scarlett is an amazing person who goes out of her way to set people up. I won’t say what happens with that subplot – although I will say I was expecting it to self-destruct the whole time, just because it seemed to happen too quickly – but I will say that there is a literal explosion near the end of the book. For at least a page or two, I was really confused and wondered if it was a dream or the book had suddenly become a paranormal book. It just left me really confused, which made it even harder to really enjoy the book.
So, overall, I was yet again slightly underwhelmed by a Deb Caletti book, especially since I remember reading the summary and thinking that it sounded so interesting and had a lot of potential. I still want to read more books from her in the future, but I’m starting to notice a pattern of judgmental protagonists and books that I just don’t like, and all I can say is that I hope that pattern doesn’t continue to show up in her books.