by Sarah Dessen
Listening Library, 2003
Review by Christian Perring, Ph.D. on May 13th 2003
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.
How to Deal --
to Deal -- the book
webpage for book
© 2003 Christian Perring. All rights reserved.
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.