This novel is about a teenage girl feeling lost in the shadow of her older, reckless brother. After her brother, Peyton, is sent to jail, Sydney decides to switch schools and is left to her own devices to rediscover herself. She makes new friends (Layla and Mac), finds new interests, and slowly discovers what it's like to finally be seen.
10 out of 10! Sure, I'm probably a little biased because I've loved so many of her novels before, but this one, I think, takes the cake! The internal emotional/mental battles that Dessen describes are so well thought out that you can't help but relate to some degree. She describes so well, how we struggle due to others' choices and how we have to find our own voice in all matters, of the heart, or otherwise.
"My brother stood up. Beside me, my mom tensed, sucking in a breath. Like the way they tell you to inhale before an X-ray so they can see more, get it all." pg. 1
"-and we'd all go back down the rabbit hole of charges, lawyers, court, and sentences." pg. 10-11
"If I hated the crowds but also my own company, where did that leave me? It was the saddest I'd felt in a long time." pg. 26
"I'd done the right thing. I always did. It just would have been nice if someone had noticed." pg. 61
"With shame, like horseshoes, proximity counts." pg. 76
"I met her eyes, saying nothing but wishing she would. That somehow, in the midst of all her grief and distraction, she might be able to finally see me, if not hear the words I couldn't speak aloud." pg. 93
"'He doesn't notice much of anything when it comes to me.'
I'd never though this before, actually, but as soon as I said it, I realized it was true." pg. 107
"Finally, I was alone, just like I'd wanted. It felt so awful. Like it was just what I deserved." pg. 160
"There's no shame in trying to make stuff work, is how I see it. It's better than just accepting the broken." pg. 244
"I would have loved to know how it felt, just once, to have something fall apart and see options instead of endings." pg. 244-245
"You know, to be acknowledged without feeling targeted." pg. 248
"It's something about seeing all these people in their separate places. Like little snapshots of the whole world as it's happening, simultaneously." pg. 250
"No longer if, just when." pg. 254
"Again, I was surprised. How much else did we see differently?" pg. 260
"There, in the woods, on a late fall Thursday afternoon, it was perfect." pg. 293
"Again, she'd hit it dead-on. How the guilt felt so heavy on me, like ten of those drapes they put on you at the dentist before they take X-rays." pg. 300
"Relationships evolve, just like people do. Just because you know someone doesn't mean you know everything about them." pg. 351
"It was easier to just be mad at my mom; sympathy and empathy are complicated things." pg. 352
"You get used to people being a certain way; you depend on it. And when they surprise you, for better or worse, it can shake you to your core." pg. 407
Another amazing novel by Sarah Dessen. I hope you take the time to read it!