This book is basically the reason you should never give up on an author after just one book. It was fun, it had bite, there was tension and a genuine moral maze to navigate and I came away really pleased that I'd picked it up.
Before this I'd only ever read one Sarah Dessen book - The Truth About Forever. It was okay-ish, but it was a bit tepid. It didn't blow me away and I came away feeling a bit let down, like I'd wasted however many hours of my life that I'd never get back.
The characters were engaging and showed actual growth throughout the book. I really liked Sydney and was angry at her parents. The plot is sad and hopeful in equal measure. The romance was sweet and I liked that it didn't overpower the rest of what was going on and I especially liked that there was more focus on the friendship between Sydney and Layla than on the romance. In fact, the romance could have been completely written out and it wouldn't have changed the impact of the book that much.
There were a few things that reminded me of The Truth About Forever - the plot was wrapped up quite quickly inthe end and while this book had more tension, it was still fairly plain sailing to the end and although there was some bickering, everyone was pretty nice. I generally prefer my books to have some truly despicable characters included - especially when the author ends up making me care for them.
I'm so glad I gave this book a chance and I'll probably pick up other books by Sarah Dessen in future.