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This Lullaby Paperback – March 8, 2004

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Editorial Reviews Review

"I had no illusions about love... It came, it went, it left casualties or it didn't. People weren't meant to be together forever, regardless of what the songs say." Remy doesn't believe in love. And why should she? Her romance novelist mother is working on her fifth marriage, and her father, a '70s hippie singer, left her with only a one-hit wonder song to remember him by. Every time Remy hears "This Lullaby," it feels like "a bruise that never quite healed right." "Wherever you may go / I will let you down / But this lullaby plays on..." Never without a boyfriend, Remy is a compulsive dater, but before a guy can go all "Ken" on her (as in "ultra boyfriend behavior") she cuts him off, without ever getting close or getting hurt. That's why she's stunned when klutzy, quirky, alterna-band boy Dexter inserts himself into her life and refuses to leave. Remy's been accepted to Stanford, and she plans on having her usual summer fling before tying up the loose ends of her pre-college life and heading for the coast. Except Dexter's not following Remy's tried-and-true rules of break-up protocol. And for the first time, Remy's questioning whether or not she wants him to.

Author Sarah Dessen's ability to write novels that are both crowd pleasers and literary masterpieces of YA fiction is showcased beautifully in This Lullaby. Subtle yet completely absorbing, Lullaby is peopled with breathtakingly believable, three-dimensional characters, the very best of which is the bitter, broken Remy herself. An original love story about learning to love yourself first. (Ages 12 and older) --Jennifer Hubert --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From Publishers Weekly

This modern-day romance narrated by a cynical heroine offers a balance of wickedly funny moments and universal teen traumas. High school graduate Remy has some biting commentary about love, including her romance-writer mother's betrothal to a car dealer ("He put one hand on my shoulder, Dad-style, and I tried not to remember all the stepfathers before him that had done the same thing.... They all thought they were permanent, too") and her brother's infatuation with self-improvement guru Jennifer Anne. But when rocker Dexter "crashes" into her life, her resolve to remain unattached starts to crack. Readers will need to hold on to their hats as they accompany Remy on her whirlwind ride, avoiding, circling and finally surrendering to Cupid's arrows. Almost as memorable as her summer romance with a heartwarmingly flawed suitor is the cast of idiosyncratic characters who watch from the sidelines. There's the trio of Remy's faithful girlfriends, all addicted to "Xtra Large Zip" Diet Cokes practical-minded Jess, weepy Lissa, and Chloe, who shares Remy's dark sense of humor as well as Dexter's entourage of fellow band members, as incompetent at managing money as they are at keeping their rental house clean. Those expecting a Cinderella finale for Remy will find a twist consistent with the plot's development. Contrary to any such implication in the title, this one will keep teens up reading. Ages 12-up.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
  • Paperback: 345 pages
  • Publisher: Speak; Reprint edition (March 8, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0142501557
  • ISBN-13: 978-0142501559
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.1 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (334 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #51,205 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

I've been writing, in one way or another, for as long as I can remember. I was always a big reader, mostly because my parents were. I used to get frustrated with my mom because she bought me books for Christmas when what I really wanted were the gifts my friends got, things like sweaters and jewelry. But I did love to read. When I was eight or nine my parents gave me an old manual typewriter and a little desk in the corner of our den, and I'd sit there and type up my stories. I was the kind of kid that people always sighed over and said, "She has such a wild imagination," which usually meant "I wish Sarah would try to stick to the truth." I have a tendency to embellish: I think it's just a weakness of fiction writers. Once you learn how to make a story better, it's hard not to do it all the time."The books I read when I was teenager, the good ones anyway, have stuck more in my mind than anything since. I still love books, but while I couldn't tell you complete plots of novels I read even six months ago, I do remember even the smallest descriptive details from Lois Lowry's A Summer to Die or Judy Blume's Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret. I think it was because back then books were still somewhat new to me, and when I found an author who seemed to say just what I was feeling, it really struck me and resonated. I hope that my books do that for the people who read them: I think it's the best thing to which any writer can aspire. "As far as my other life, my non-writing life, I live in the country with my husband, some lizards, and two dogs who are completely spoiled and rule me completely. I like to work in my garden---although I have not yet perfected the art of keeping everything alive----and, in my weaker moments, shop. I have a bit of an addiction to the Gap clearance rack, to be honest. I have this strange need to buy huge quantities of black pants. How many pairs of black pants does one person need? (Obviously for me, the answer is 11 and counting. But I digress.) What else can I tell you? I love Starbucks mochas but they make me way hyper. I subscribe to too many magazines. I make a mean bean salad. I could go on, but the truth is, my books are much more exciting than I am, and that's a good thing. It's always more fun to make stuff up anyway."

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#43 in Books > Teens
#43 in Books > Teens

Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

62 of 72 people found the following review helpful By Traci D. Haley on August 26, 2002
Format: Hardcover
This Lullaby is about Remy, daughter of an eccentric, romance writer mother who has been married five times and a dead, musician father whose only legacy is a song called "This Lullaby." Remy, having seen her mother go through husbands like kleenex, is jaded about love and relationships; every time she gets close to a guy, she dumps him.
Then along comes Dexter, who not only breaks her "no musicians" rule (he's in a band that sings - among other things - "The Potato Song"), he's also everything that drives her crazy.
Sarah Dessen's talent for character development shines through in this tale of first love. Her characters are flawed, dysfunctional, and so realistic that reading this book is like visiting with old friends. The topics tackled in This Lullaby are written both believably and in an utterly unique way, so that an old problem - "What do you do when someone doesn't like you back?" - becomes a fresh, new story with an ending that will satisfy both romantics and cynics alike.
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25 of 27 people found the following review helpful By Rachel Hanson on June 15, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Sarah Dessen quickly became one of my favorite authors after I read her books "Dreamland" and "Someone Like You". I was super excited when I found her new book, "This Lullaby", and settled down to read it right away.
I was not disappointed. This book is amazing! It made me laugh out loud in some parts (Dessen has remarkable prose, and just her word choice and descriptions make for a humorous time), gave me butterflies in others, and had me feeling pretty sorry for the characters during certain scenes.
Remy has got the guy thing figured out -- once the first heady, romantic feelings start to fizzle and "cracks" begin to appear in the guy's personality, Remy's out of there. Remy has plenty of experience -- her father left before she was born, leaving her with his sappy one-hit-wonder, "This Lullaby". Not a great gift, considering the lyrics "I will let you down." Plus, Remy's mother, a romance author, is now on her fifth marriage -- "This time it will work, Remy." But Remy doesn't share her mother's hopeful outlook on love.
Then she bumps into Dexter, quite literally. She avoids him as much as she can, but he manages to pop up everywhere, and just where she needs him the most. He's the exact opposite of her usual guy -- messy, clumsy, and, of all things, a musician like her father. She runs away from him until he crashes through her bedroom window, and she finally decides to take a risk with this guy.
They're a couple from then on. But Remy's done this before -- have a fun time with a guy through the summer, move on in September. Remy wants to head to Stanford in the fall leaving nothing messy behind her -- but Dexter might make this hard.
The Dexter/Remy romance is just perfect.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Korianne Speaks on July 20, 2009
Format: Paperback
While I enjoyed the lightness of this read, I just can't love this book. I would definitely recommend it as a happy read and to someone who likes a love story. I love a good love story, but this one didn't catch my interest. Don't get me wrong at the end of the book I still got the "Oh, that's a good way to end it" feeling, just not the "Wow, that floored me even though I expected it" feeling.

Remy's character is very cynical about love, and I really enjoyed seeing her transformation. She had a really cool personality, and sounds like someone who would be my friend but definitely not me. But, the fact that she just kept pushing Dexter away kinda bothered me. I was wondering why she couldn't just see the relationship for what it was, love. I get that she had issues with it because of her mom, but I still couldn't push someone away like that and I have see my fair share of troubles with divorce. And while Dessen's writing was very interesting I didn't find anything really deep about it this time around. Yes, she had family issues, but the goal was really more her resolving them by being in a relationship, not coming out and telling her mom her problems or doing something that stood up against the issues. It was kind of like, well if you are in this relationship with Dexter you won't have family issues anymore. That is a complete lie, in my opinion. It was also really hard for me to understand her issues with her father who died when she was young. He sounded like a jerk, but she was always flip-flopping around on what she thought of him. Of course he is her father and I will admit sometimes I love my dad, but sometimes I hate him. Overall Remy's character was confusing, but entertaining, and I did really love her.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By "greengoldfairy" on November 16, 2002
Format: Hardcover
If put down in a nutshell, the plot of this book might sound uninteresting, cliche, or something equally bad. However, I have read other books by Sarah Dessen as well, and this is by far the best. And not only is it the best of her books, it's also one of the best teen novels I've read in a long time. THIS LULLABY is the story of a girl who has grown up with a mother who takes on husbands "the way other people change their hair color: out of boredom, listlessness, or just feeling that this next one will fix everything, once and for all." Remy never knew her own father even, and all she has of him is the song, "This Lullaby," that he wrote one the road the day of her birth.
By the time she graduates from high school Remy has developed a careful schedual for all relationships she enters in to, and never allows any boy to get close to her heart, convinced that it is better to keep all guys at arms length so that they are unable to hurt her. Then, while planning her mother's fifth wedding, Remy meets Dexter, a boy who has so many qualities she dislikes. Though at first reluctant, Remy is eventually charmed by Dexter, who's shoelaces are always untied, and who insists on challenging people to do things such as eat ten bananas, or name more states than him before a specific lady is through picking up her dry-cleaning. Remy still believes that love is foolish, but Dexter helps her to learn otherwise.
As I said, the plot sounds quite cliche. However, it's a lot more complicated than all that, the writing is superb, the dialouge is at times very witty and entertaining, and this is an all around enjoyable book. I was completely engrossed, and reluctant to put it down even when I was in desperate need of something to eat.
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