Seventeen-year-old Sadie Bell has this summer all figured out: She’s going to befriend the cool girls at her school. She’s going to bond with her absentee father, a famous artist, and impress him with her photography skills. And she’s finally going to get over Noah, the swoony older guy who was her very first mistake.
Sadie wasn’t counting on meeting Sam, a funny and free-thinking boy who makes her question all of her goals. But even after a summer of talking, touching, and sharing secrets, Sam says he just wants to be friends. And when those Sadie cares about most hurt her, Sam’s friendship may not be enough. Sadie can see the world through her camera, but can she see the people who have loved and supported her all along?
This book was sad and sweet and melancholic. I could feel Sadie’s angst deep in my bones. Romano depicted teenage years so well. Trying to fit in. Faking it until you make it. Making mistakes. Forgiving everyone else’s mistakes. Trying to do the best you can. Falling in love. Falling apart. And then picking up all the pieces.
It struck me how much Sadie grew up over the course of the book. She went from putting people on a pedestal to realizing that she didn’t have to kowtow to anyone. She reaffirmed her passions, and overcame great obstacles (thank goodness for Benji — what a great mentor!). I felt like all of Sadie’s relationships were foils of one another. Sadie and her dad was equivalent to Sadie and Noah, or Sadie and Phaedra. Willa was to Sadie as Izzy was to Phaedra. And so on. It’s beautiful, in a way. Your relationships are just like relationships with other people. Sam echoed it himself: he didn’t want to go through a bunch of BS again. But he was also the real deal (hello, swoon).
There are some real adult rockstars here. Sadie’s mom, bless her heart. I’m glad that she was such a well fleshed out character, with her own flaws as well. And Benji, I think everyone needs a mentor like you.
There are so many facets of growing up. This story encapsulated those feelings (from feeling invincible to believing it was the End of the World As We Know It in two seconds flat) so, so well. Sadie, I wish you all the best as you grow up. College will be really good to you, I think. And Juliana Romano, thanks for taking us on this wild ride.
- Making Pretty – Corey Ann Haydu
- Autofocus – Lauren Gibaldi
- The Year We Fell Apart – Emily Martin
- First & Then – Emma Mills
- Love & Gelato – Jenna Evans Welch