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by Sarah Dessen
Listening Library, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 13th 2003

Someone Like You

Someone Like You is a well-told tale of a teenaged-girl's junior year, addressing similar themes to That Summer.  This novel starts when 16-year-old Halley is at her summer camp and gets a call from her best friend Scarlet, telling her that Scarlet's boyfriend Michael has died in a motorcycle accident.  She pleads with Halley to come back home, and it is not long before they find out that Scarlet is pregnant.  The novel follows Scarlet's pregnancy and Halley's romance with rebellious Macon Faulkner.  Halley has been a good girl all of her life, and her psychologist mother has often proudly included her as an example of success in her books on mother-daughter relationships.  But soon Halley's new experiences are leading her to question her parents' authority, and even to sneak out at night so she can be with Macon. 

Dessen's ability to bring alive teenage life is impressive.  Readers see the strength of the friendship between Halley and Scarlet and the ways that the Halley grapples with important life stages.  The story will primarily appeal to teenaged girls, although the quality of writing is high enough to keep adult readers also interested.  Halley is a smart and pleasingly insightful narrator, and the plot moves at a brisk pace, with occasional reflections on the past to fill in the details.  The death at the opening provides the story with a sense of seriousness and depth that helps distinguish it from other teen novels.  The climax of the novel is a little too melodramatic -- a crisis at the high school prom! -- although it has sufficient drama to explain why the book was turned into a forthcoming movie, How to Deal.  The audiobook is performed by Katherine Powell, who does an excellent job. 

 

Links:

·       Author website

·       How to Deal -- the movie

·       How to Deal -- the book

·       Publisher's webpage for book

 

© 2003 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.

 

Christian Perring, Ph.D., is Chair of the Philosophy Department at Dowling College, Long Island, and editor of Metapsychology Online Review. His main research is on philosophical issues in medicine, psychiatry and psychology.