In many ways, it's understandable why Ruby's flawed in the ways that she is, having lived with a mother who has declined in maturity and responsibility the older she becomes, raising Ruby in cramped apartments and nearly dilapidated houses, seemingly always on the run from creditors and landlords, unable to hold down a steady job. It's easy to see how Ruby becomes fiercely independent, stubbornly closed off, and prone to believing her future is, at best, a high school diploma and a minimum wage job. While I still struggled to read about the choices Ruby made, I loved reading about her being reunited with her older sister, who has come from the same background as Ruby but has risen above her circumstances. Cora was the character I was able to read about, from her slowly unraveling the truth of the past to Ruby about their parents to teaching Ruby that it's OK to be vulnerable, to allow yourself to want and to love, even when it's hard. It's a fragile yet rewarding bond of sisterhood, and I would expect nothing less from Sarah Dessen
However, despite my interest in Ruby and Cora's relationship, I felt that this book dragged a bit in the middle and could have been shorter while still delivering the same impact. This story also seems like it finishes more open ended than some of Dessen's other novels.
Overall: I enjoyed this novel because of the reasons I enjoy ALL of Sarah's novels: the great character writing, the relationship dynamics, the focus on imperfect families and self-discovery. However this story wasn't one that was particularly memorable against some of Dessen's stronger works. This review was originally posted on Girl in the Pages