by Alyson Noel
Paperback, 229 pages
May '08 by St. Martin's Griffin
Details from Goodreads:
“This was supposed to be my best summer yet, the one I’ve been working toward since practically forever. Now I’m being banished from everything I know and love, and it just doesn’t make any sense.”
Having recently discarded her dorky image--and the best friend that went with it--Colby Cavendish is looking forward to a long hot season of parties, beach BBQ’s, and hopefully, more hook-ups with Levi Bonham, the hottest guy in school. But her world comes crashing down when her parents send her away to spend the summer in Greece with her crazy aunt Tally.
Stranded on a boring island with no malls, no cell phone reception, and an aunt who talks to her plants, Colby worries that her new friends have forgotten all about her. But when she meets Yannis, a cute Greek local, everything changes. She experiences something deeper and more intense than a summer fling, and it forces her to see herself, and the life she left behind, in a whole new way.
This is the only book (so far) that I felt like giving up numerous of times! but I didn't.
Told entirely through Colby's letters, journal entries, and blog posts, this story is one of a girl's search for her identity and struggle to fit in. And this, like so many other young adult novels, is a great idea. I just wish I found Colby a little more likable. She's just so whiny. I mean, sure, teens are typically an unhappy and angsty bunch when things don't go their way, but Colby is more like a petulant child than an angst ridden teenager. It's obvious that she cares about the social politics of high school, like most of Noel's characters in her other novels, but I couldn't really bring myself to care about her.
My view of Colby as little more than a whiny little girl is probably due in part to the format of the novel. Normally, a book that tells its story solely in correspondence gives the reader letters from both the main character and the people they spend their time writing to. Not the case here. Even when Colby emails people from back home at the internet cafe, we don't get to see their responses to her. Anonymous comments on her blog are the only voice other than her own in the whole novel. It makes for some very one sided conversations, and I don't think it works quite as well as if Colby was allowing the readers to see what other characters had to say.
Now, none of this means the story is particularly bad. I know quite a few people who enjoyed it. The way the story was told just wasn't my cup of tea. If you want more interesting stories of teenage girls finding themselves in summer settings, I'd go for a Sarah Dessen novel instead.