This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen was a re-read from almost five years ago. I remember loving it the first time. The second time, I loved it as well, but in a different way. This Lullaby is a teenage novel about a girl named Remy and her strange way of thinking about love. Her mother has been divorced and remarried almost more times than Remy can count, and the only thing she has left of her father is a song called “This Lullaby” (Remy’s father was a musician who left shortly after Remy was born). Add to this the fact that her ex-pot head brother Chris has reformed his ways and fallen in love with a girl named Jennifer Ann, his manager at the Jiffy Lube. Remy never thought she’d fall in love. She doesn’t WANT to fall in love. She’s seen love, and love for her always ends badly. But then she meets Dexter.
Dexter is also the child of multiple re-marriages. However, he’s chosen to believe in love, whereas Remy has chosen to doubt. He’s a musician in a band who’s hit song is “The Potatoe Opus”. He’s got a mangy dog, he’s messy, all elbows, and completely and hoplessly dorky. He’s everything that Remy swore she’d stay away from. And yet, the summer before she leaves for college, she finds herself falling in love with him. I won’t spoil the rest of the book but, needless to say, the two have their fair share of ups and downs.
The first time I read this book, I loved it because I loved Dexter. I thought he was a super dreamboat, and everything I would want in a future boyfriend (I’ve been falling in love with fictional characters since I can remember). I also thought some of the things he said to Remy were the sweetest things I’d ever heard. Or, I guess seen would be more appropriate. However, this time around, there was something else in it for me. The love story was still there. I still love Dexter. However, this time there was more to it than that. This book has some amazing claims to make about l0ve – its power, the way it can overcome, but the way that love requires us to believe in it in order for it to have its power. Dexter chooses to believe. For a while, Remy does not. And the life paths of these two characters converge in a way that has some very powerful lessons to teach.
As I said, this is a teenage book, but I think that it speaks to the teenager in all of us. That teenager that just wants to be loved by the person who will love us back. The teenager who loves late nights, sneaking in through bedroom windows, and perhaps even a swear word or two. It’s not a long book, and its an amazingly quick read. So the next time you’re looking for something sweet, but not sickeningly so, give This Lullaby a try!