Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books (Scholastic)
Then she meets Jared Sondervan. He's sweet, funny, everything she wants — and he has the family Bronwen has always wanted too. She falls head over heels in love, and when he proposes marriage, she joyfully accepts. But is Jared truly what she needs? And if he's not, she has to ask: What would Phoebe Lilywhite do?
I love this book. I love it so much. Everything about it, really, even the parts that almost made me cry. (Which is something of a feat, I will admit, because I don't cry easily.)
Bronwen Oliver is the main character. Only she doesn't want to be Bronwen Oliver, she wants to be Pheobe Lilywhite, or Bronwen VanHorn, or maybe Bronwen Sondervan, She doesn't particularly get along with her mother, which is understandable because her mother doesn't try very hard and doesn't like to talk about things. She got along with her step-father at one point but is mostly just a little distant with him now. Her father died when she was little, but she isn't stuck on it even if she misses him. And she sees Jared Sondervan again, who is an old friend of her brother. Oh, and her brother Peter is Jesus, at least in her mothers mind.
Bronwen is trying to find herself, and accept who she is and trying to deal with that her mother won't accept who she really is. I'm a bit more cynical than she is, or a lot, really, but I still felt a connection with her. She's already figured out the relationship thing. You know, the one that says relationships are always good in the first few months, and you don't really get to know a person until that phase is over, and so you shouldn't say you love them until then. In the beginning of the book, she goes through this type of thing with Chad Dykstra, who just wants to have sex with her and so claims to love her. She doesn't fall for it, and I liked that.
She has a best friend, Kirsten, who gushes over everything with her. She's also very wary about Bronwen and Jared's relationship, and she talks about it with Bronwen. It might cause some problems between them, but I still liked this about her. Because she's a really good friend. (And, yea, I'm a bit envious.)
A big thing goes down near the end with Bronwen's Mother and Whitt, her step-father. Her Mother is kind of really terrible. I have a mother somewhat similar, not nearly as bad, but similar in the not listening thing. But I kind of hate her, especially because of what she did to Bronwen and Whitt. Whitt, however, is kind of awesome. He's sweet and he cares and he's funny. And it's not his fault for what happened, it's her Mothers.
Now, Jared. I love Jared. So much. He's so very sweet. And he loves Bronwen. They get along so well, too. The conversation between them is so easy, and he just goes along with all of her jokes and makes his own. They're just so cute together. He holds back kissing her for a while, and he wants to get to know her, and he loves her and wants to marry her. I love him, and I love their relationship. I want their relationship. As well as Jared's family. They care and are fun and love Bronwen like she's their own.
This book is very much about finding love as it is finding yourself. Because Bronwen finds herself, accepts herself, and she falls in love with Jared. There's a part near the end with Jared that almost made me cry, because it's so sad and I love them and they need to be together, but I know it was coming and it needed to happen because they weren't ready. But it's still heartbreaking to read.
The writing in this book is in Bronwen's point of view in the future, so she's talking about it all as she remembers it. It adds to the element of her learning all of these things. It's very smooth and calm and a bit heartbreaking.
I love this book. So very much, as I've already said. I have a bit in common with this book, and I would love to have even more in common with it. (Like Bronwen and Jared's relationship.) I think just about every teenage girls should read this book, it is that good.
Sidenote: One thing that bothered me about this book, was what it says on the back cover/inside flap, about 'if she can pass chemistry', because that's very misleading. School has very little to do with this book. It starts at the end of her junior year, then goes into the summer, and then through her senior year, and yea there's a bit about her going to college. But that doesn't have a whole lot to do with her relationship with Jared. Where she's going to college does, but she's already pretty set on that, and there isn't anything about her not passing. Very little of time is spent with her even at school. The cover is cute, though, even if the books don't have a lot to do with the story.