Author: Sarah Dessen
Provided Synopsis: Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.
Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.
Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?
Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?
Review: Unfortunately, this book under whelmed me in so many ways that I nearly abandoned it. I was attracted to this book based off the premise of a small summer town in which a girl is on the cusp of her future. Sarah Dessen typically excels when it comes to book that deal with the main character on the verge of discovering more about themselves and the life they wish to lead. But this story fell so short of the mark of her usual gusto that I might consider it to be her worst work to date.
After the reader is introduced to Emaline, her family situation, her job, her sleepy beach town, and her boyfriend there enters a world that Emaline had never dreamed of. In Colby for the summer is an award winning documentary filmmaker and her young assistant named Theo. Both represent a world that is different from Colby; they are from the city, they contrast so starkly from the locals and the life that Emaline has always known. Theo is constantly on the lookout for a way to promote himself and to capture the best of what the world has to offer.
The problem with this book was that it seemed to move at the pace of this small town. It felt as if for endless pages I was reading about Emaline driving around town and looking towards the ocean. As a main character she under whelmed me with every passing page. I felt the need for her to do something besides be passive, contemplative, and dull. Dessen also made the issue worse with the way that she would constantly end each chapter with a sentence that was meant to be deep and philosophically preachy. Rather than convey the themes she wanted to portray throughout the novel, she clunked them at the end of each chapter. Don’t get me wrong, they were some wonderful sentences, but I found myself rolling my eyes at the continuous pattern.
Dull and inspired. Did not engage.