You don't need screaming parents, party scenes and crazy friends to make a page-turning YA novel. Dessen's unique voice and delicate style are just as compelling.

Since the death of her father a year and a half ago, Macy has carefully organized her life. It's the only way she can deal, especially now that she's known simply as the girl who saw her dad die. Her rigid boyfriend, Jason, is leaving for brain camp, her sister recently got married and her mother is working overtime.

Macy never wanted chaos in her life, but all that changed after meeting the boys and gals employed by Wishbone caterers. The more she gets to know each of them, the more Macy understands how much she's been missing, and how little she's dealt with the death of her dad. Especially when she and Wes—artist, reform-school boy—start spending time together. But there's still Jason, her mother's refusal to talk about her dad and the end of summer to worry about.

Dessen subtly guides her characters with gentle emotion. Macy is an "everygirl" dealing with loss and trying to figure out life. Wes is her sensitive counterpart, the friend we all wish we had, and we cheer every time Macy opens up to him. This sweet, beautiful novel leaves a lasting impression. (May, 384 pp., $16.99)
Reviewed by: 
Taylor Morris