This Lullaby, by Sarah Dessen
Reviewed by Jayzle-May, age 13, California
Remy Starr is a high school graduate ready to enjoy her boyfriend-free summer. She wants to leave the East Coast with no one holding her back. Remy knows exactly what she wants. She has exact rules and everyone must follow them. Remy promised herself never to date guys who are musicians, sloppy, or dorky. She believes all relationships are temporary. Who taught Remy that relationships never last? Barbara Starr. Barbara is Remy's mother. She is a famous author and is currently working on husband number five.
While waiting to speak to Don, Remy's step-father-to-be, a boy named Dexter crashes into her. Dexter is Remy's complete opposite, and even though she knows this relationship with Dexter will never last, she goes ahead and dates him anyway. One day at the end of July, Dexter overhears Remy talking to a friend named Scarlett at Bendo, the club. Remy starts talking about how she only dated Dexter because she's going across the country to go to school and he's going to travel the world with the band. To her, it's a "set ending" with "no complications." Once Dexter gets a chance to talk to Remy, he asks for something. Remy has never done "this." Why had she done so much for Dexter? He was so different. Every guy she dated followed the same standards, same rules applied to everyone. So why didn't they for Dexter?
This Lullaby reminds me so much of a quote that I live by. The quote is by an unknown person and there are many different variations. The quote goes: "... Life comes with no guarantees, no time outs, no second chances. You just have to live life to the fullest ... Don't be afraid to take chances or fall in love, and most of all, live in the moment because every second you spend angry or upset is a second of happiness you can never get back." The very last sentence is the most important part. You always have to take chances because you only have one chance to live the life you have. Remy was always on the safe side; she thought she knew what she wanted, always kept her guard up, and never took risks. Life doesn't work that way. Life is all about the exciting adventures that happen when people take risks.
I believe that Sarah Dessen wrote This Lullaby not only to entertain but also to teach the importance of taking risks and truly living the life you have right now. I think Dessen's intended audiences are preteens and teenagers attending school. She chooses words that are easily understandable, and words that might be confusing can be understood using context clues. This book can easily pass just for entertainment because it is a very cute love story, but I don't think that was Dessen's only reason for writing it. I honestly believe Dessen was trying to teach people that we have to live the life we have. In This Lullaby, there are many pages indirectly stating the quote I mentioned above. The book's ending especially gives the reader something to think about. It makes me feels like something can happen. Something can change in Remy's love life. With something to think about at the end of each chapter, This Lullaby makes the reader want to go back for more.
A part of the book will always be with me forever. It's a conversation between Remy and her mom, Barbara. Remy was wondering why her mom would give so much to her new husband. Remy thought that her new husband wasn't even worth the trouble.
"I just think you have to protect yourself," I said. "You can't just give yourself away."
"No," she said solemnly. "You can't. But holding people away from you, and denying yourself love, that doesn't make you strong. If anything, it makes you weaker. Because you're doing it out of fear."
"Fear of what?" I said.
"Of taking that chance," she said simply. "Of letting go and giving into it, and that's what makes us what we are. Risks. That's living, Remy..."
This part of This Lullaby really stuck out for me. As humans, we have to take risks. If we live a sheltered life, we are truly just wasting valuable time. If we don't, life would have no meaning. This conversation connects not only to me, but to everyone else in the world. Love is one of the biggest risks humans take. Sometimes love works out, but sometimes it doesn't. It doesn't mean that we should stop. We should always try to live life to the fullest because if we never did, what would life be then?
I give This Lullaby 5 stars (of a possible 5).