I usually love books that make me feel a range of emotions. If I rage, or almost cry, or laugh, or scream, to me the book is phenomenal. This book, however, didn't make me do any of those things, and when it did, it was to a small degree. However, do not assume that because of this factor, I didn't like it. That is, in fact, not the case. It was actually really good. But my love for this book is quiet, subdued, like how I am in real life. My love for it hit me softly, like a light shower on a spring day, and I believe that sometimes, the quietest books have more impact than the ones that hit you like a freight train.
This book was quite thought-provoking for me. Some points truly hit close to home. I could understand the main character's struggle with her mindset about weight. I mean, once you have experienced the prejudice that so clearly goes along with it, you never want to experience it ever again. So I definitely related to her in that regard. And then when she meets a guy, Gage, after swearing them off for awhile post breakup, all the things she knows about relationships, or at least the one she had with her ex Jacob, go out the window. She is practically thrown for a loop. And while I do think she too overreacted to the outcome of her and Gage's first "date", Gage cannot take all the blame, I think it's good that what happened happened. Because it started a chain of events which taught her things she never knew about herself. It gave her expectations for what she wants in future relationships, because this book's ending does not guarantee the two a happy ending, but it does guarantee that things will get infinitely better, for Serena is finding out what she truly wants from herself and from life itself.
In the beginning of the book, after Serena and Jacob's breakup, Serena feels isolated. The friends she had before getting together with Jacob seem to be doing their own thing, and she's alone. But seeing another girl in desperate need of a friend after having a video basically sent to everyone in school of her doing something she wasn't proud of guarantees Serena two new girl's she can relate to. And their common ground of swearing off boys makes their small group grow even more. Well, maybe not a lot more, but it does grow. And it also helps to make Serena into a better version of herself, because it shows her strength and compassion and an understanding of people's situations, even if they got themselves in the mess, that I believe makes her and Gage's relationship grow even more. In fact, I believe it makes Gage's own situation easier to understand.
As for her brother Devin, his leaving left a gaping hole in her family. Her parents pretty much stopped once he left and haven't been the same since. And while it is hard too for Serena to get over the fact that he did leave, because they seem so close in her recollections of the early days before he started shutting down, I also think it was good for her that he did this. It gives her a chance to connect with her older brother Morgan, who she mentions consistently, more contemplative than whiny, as being the star child of the family, the perfect one. She begins to see cracks in his facade that she never noticed were there before. And while is does seem naturally perfect, the fact that they were never close almost hurts him. Okay, it DOES hurt him. He truly wants to be there for her, and her animosity toward the fact that he does seem perfect probably kills him inside, because he can't help it. That's who he is, and he is such an amazing person, along with his boyfriend, and I was glad to see Serena find this out.
While this story does have an aspect of love in it, there is so much more. It is about finding your true self in a world where people judge you at every turn. About living your life even though bad things may happen along with the good. There is a sunshine at the end of this page-filled rainbow, a subtle sunshine that basically says everything is going to be okay, and you know what, at the end of this book, I could feel it almost warming my face.