Eli; dear Eli: you took me back to a time I never, EVER though would be possible to remember so clearly, so emotionally, and so wonderfully, ever again.
I knew I would LOVE this book. From the moment It was suggested to me back in December, until this day I just KNEW there was something about this book I would absolutely go crazy about.
See, I have my own love story. I was only 16 the first time I kissed a boy. He was my first boyfriend, my best friend, my partner in crime, my everything. Until this day, he is and will always be the biggest most greatest love of my life.
We were just kids, but I knew from the beginning that I loved him. I guess when you are a teenager, all of that emotion can get confused with love, lust, passion, infatuation, you name it. But with him, I knew it was love. Up to this day, when I am 31 years old, did my life and he did his, I can tell you, that he is the only man I have ever loved. I saw myself in Sarah. I saw him in Angel. Of course, my boy was the chubby cool guy who would drive us girls around town in his dad’s car. But he was loyalty, he was that rock Sarah had in Sydney, he was the thrill she felt with Angel. I can’t even begin to describe all the similarities I found in their love story. Of course, the HUGE difference was that Angel and Sarah had a HEA. That only could happen in a book as well written as this one. I tried my best to be as objective as possible. I tried to really encounter any flaw, timeline, dialogue, punctuation. Anything. I did not find ONE. Everything in this book is all I ever asked for in a sweet (let’s catalogue it as) Young Adult story. I have to let it fall under that category only because it doesn’t have HOT STEAMY encounters. AND IT SHOULD’T! There was NO NEED for them and it was absolutely OK. I loved it so much you could have absolutely omitted any reference to any intimate encounter and it would still be a fabulous book. No doubt about it.
Angel and Sarah portrayed the magnificence of teenage love. Who didn’t dream of marrying his or her high school sweetheart? I KNOW I DID! Don’t lie! It’s the best most wonderful feeling in the world when you are 17. The way how they meet, the way how they really fall in love, the way how they have ups and downs and brake ups! You transported me back to a time when life was easy, less stressful, beautiful, fun. I loved the maturity in both the main characters. Times like these call for kids being more self conscious about the situation at home, at school, adulthood. I am pro “let the kids be kids” but also I root for parent who actually let their kids experience some things in life that they NEED to go thru in order to grow. Since I was always encouraged to be independent and I have worked since I was 17, I guess the way how you described Angel’s obligations at his parent’s restaurant, and the seriousness Sarah had towards his baby sitter duties was only a small taste of what really happens nowadays. I guess, modern kids do know how to have fun, as Angel and Sarah did, they go to parties, they hang out with friends after school, but also, know that they need to get their act together cause real life starts AFTER you finish High School.
Eli, thank you. Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart. I honestly never believed it was possible to put in words a story as similar yet so different than mine. I could’ve never been able to put it together myself. I traveled back to the morning of Monday April 28 of 1997, when that 14 year old boy gave me my first kiss, sitting on top of my teacher’s desk. Different from Angel and Sarah, each one of us had a different life and though we talk from time to time (now he’s divorced and I never had a serious relationship afterwards) we love to remember those High School days wishing if for only one day, we could go back and be as happy as we once were. As happy as Angel and Sarah.
Thank you Amanda for the recommendation and Taryn for this AWESOME bday gift!