Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

Title: This Lullaby

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Puffin

Pages: 345 paperback

My Rating: 5/5 stars

When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five. But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him. Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about? 

Sarah Dessen created another outstanding book with This Lullaby. Staying true to form with relatable main characters, an amazing guy, and several issues that many can associate with, there is no doubt in my mind that many will come to love this book.

Remy is not your average girl. She has crazy-good grades, a tough, bad-girl attitude, and a special formula she uses to push boyfriends away. After watching her mother’s marriages fail, one right after another, Remy has become as cold-hearted as they come. She likes to think she is out-smarting love by pushing guys away before they can do serious damage. If she avoids love, she also avoids hurt. This all changes when Dexter bumps into her life (quite literally, in fact). He goes against all of her general rules for dating. He is unorganized, a total goof-ball, in a band, and worst of all, he makes Remy feels things that she has never felt in past relationships. In true Remy form, she ends things with Dexter right before they are about to get serious but due to a series of events, he becomes the one loose-end she doesn’t want to leave behind before she jets off to school. Add to this story, an eccentric mother entering yet another marriage, a wacky brother turned responsible due to a new love, an issue with her late father and the one and only thing, a song, he left behind for her, and three amazing friends, and Remy’s life is more complicated than she even realizes.

It says a lot about an author when they can create a cold, bitter character with an all-around bad attitude, yet still make her completely lovable for readers. I will admit, Remy’s personality and views on love are a little harsh and hard to take for hopeless romantics such as myself, but I still found myself cheering for her. I wanted so badly for her to wake up and finally smell the roses; I wanted her to find what true love really is whether it lasts forever or not. When she is with Dexter (a completely amazing guy of whom I will be gushing over in just a bit) you saw her let her guard down. She felt things, did things, and believed in things that she never had before. It was such an amazing transformation even if Remy refused to see the changes that she made.

Dexter, oh my, Dexter…. he is one of my dream guys. I am a lover of all things music and in turn means that I totally fall for guys in a band all the time. There is just something about their look, their talent, and even their confidence. Dexter fits all the roles of a perfect lead singer. He is cute in a kind of nerdy, gangly way. He exudes confidence and his personality as a total goofball makes him pretty easy to love. At first Remy is irritated by his easy going personality and tendencies to say whatever is on his mind, however, it is small quirks like that, that make them such a good match. They truly equal each other out. Remy’s level-headiness and ways of thinking balance out Dexter’s spur-of-the-moment plans and over-all goofiness. She makes him a little more responsible (without changing his funny personality) and he makes her more easy-going (while still keeping her blunt attitude that is actually pretty funny).

Remy would be a tough character to really love if it weren’t for the relationship that she has with her three good friends, Lissa, Jess, and Chloe. She may be able to keep guys at a distance, but with these three girls, it is a different story. Lissa is a bit of a softie in this book. She is what I would consider the baby in the group, not because she whines and cries, but because she feels things so strongly. Jess is definitely the mother of the group. She goes out and has fun with the girls, but is responsible enough to not drink and get everyone home safely. Chloe is a character very similar to Remy. She is a little heart-breaker with a mean streak similar to the main character. While looking at them separately, these cast of characters seem like they could be hard to love and annoying, but together, in this story, they are magic! Their friendship is portrayed in such realistic way. I could picture one of my friends being similar to Jess or another being similar to Lissa. Sarah Dessen proves again that she truly is a wiz when it comes to creating amazing side characters.

The things that Remy goes through in this story are not as serious as some of Sarah Dessen’s other novels. An eccentric, mother with a bad marriage habit and an absent father have made her life less-than perfect. Her mother’s ability to fall in and out of love rather quickly has made Remy grow up and become more mature sooner than most people her age. Her father, being a dead musician, left nothing behind for Remy except an empty void, some money for school, and an over-played song about letting her down. Remy likes to think she is tough because she can deal with this crazy, whacked up life she has, but in reality, the guard she puts up is only making her seem weaker. It is finally, when her tough-girl exterior starts breaking down, that we see admiral strength in her.

This Lullaby is a book that will make you believe in falling in love. With an outstanding cast of characters, including a hard-ass girl and a dorky, lovable guy; problems that people young and old can relate to today; and Sarah Dessen’s brilliant writing style, this book is another must-read (I am still waiting for a Sarah Dessen novel that isn’t an must-read), that will leave you wanting to hear more of Remy and Dexter’s story.

11 thoughts on “Book Review: This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen

  1. Excellent review and now I really really (um really!) want to read this. Can’t believe I have not yet. Hmmm, may have to sneak a little time at work for reading on the desk. It’s at the library so…. :P

    And what you said here:

    “It says a lot about an author when they can create a cold, bitter character with an all-around bad attitude, yet still make her completely lovable for readers.”

    Yes. Yes and yes. Like I said, can’t wait to read this! Thanks!

  2. Oh, I agree that what makes Remy work is her friends, I think it’s the only real relationship she has ever allowed herself to be part of.

    I just re-read this one too, and I love it. Dexter is awesome.

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  4. This was my first Dessen read. I really liked it, a lot, but I wasn’t as wowed by it as I had expected to be. But, your review makes me want to go back and read it again with new eyes! Especially since I found myself nodding along and agreeing with everything you were saying! Your reviews could make anyone interested in a Sarah Dessen novel! Seriously! Even those die-hard PN only fans! :P

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