Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen

Someone Like You is a journey between two friends, Halley and Scarlett. The story is narrated by Halley, who is a high school student that lives a fairly strict life. Her father is the morning DJ at a local radio station and her mother is a family therapist who specializes in dealing with teenagers, too bad it doesn’t mean that she is excellent with dealing with her daughter. In the beginning, Halley takes a phone call at camp from her friend Scarlett. Scarlett tells Halley that Michael, Scarlett’s boyfriend, was killed in a motorcycle accident. This pulls Halley back home to take care of Scarlett. Michael’s death springs on a lot of changes in both Scarlett’s and Halley’s lives.

Scarlett ends up being pregnant with Michael’s baby. She decides to keep the baby. This pulls her relationship with Halley closer as Halley becomes the birthing buddy and they go to doctor’s appointments, birthing classes, etc. together. Scarlett’s pregnancy is big news around school because she was not the kind of girl that pregnancy was expected from. Scarlett becomes the strong one that keeps everything together through the novel. Even though she is pregnant, and clearly not a role model for young ones, her resolution and level-headedness throughout the story keep Halley in line and give the novel a positive motherly figure.

Halley, on the other hand, turns to a rebellion that was unlike her. She pushes against her very controlling mother and begins to date Macon, Michael’s old best friend and the school’s rebel. Halley begins to experiment with life on the wrong side of what her parents approve of. She questions when to lose her virginity, as many girls do at her age. She feels like she is in love with Macon, but is worried that he doesn’t love her. Macon drives a wedge between Halley and her parents because her parents feel that he is a bad influence on her. In reality, I think he is just giving her a chance to explore other parts of herself. Halley and Macon’s relationship is consistently on rocky ground because he is pushing her to have sex, and she is struggling to fight off that temptation. This of course leads to more issues and Halley is forced into finding out what really matters to her.

This was not one of my favorite Sarah Dessen books, but it was written very well. She has a way of drawing the reader into her characters and relating the stories to all of us regardless if we have been in those situations or not. Someone has said that you can hear a story about something that you were not at, but it was described so well that it becomes a story of your own. It’s as if you were there participating in the event and you can share that story and elaborate upon it just like someone that truly was there. Dessen gives the reader the story in that way. The reader becomes such a part of it that they can then share themselves in the same manner. Someone Like You reminds me of the days in which I was in high school observing those around me. The only thing that I didn’t particularly care for was the fact that the teenage pregnancy was played off as if it was completely normal. Towards the end it is somewhat seen as a bad thing, but overall I think it almost encourages the behavior. As a teacher, I have a hard time with that type of promotion in any sense. The pregnancy is never talked about as if it was a bad mistake by anyone other than a parent. What about Scarlett’s problems? I guess I’d like to know what happens to Scarlett after the birth of the baby and then see if I still feel the same way. ( )

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