- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: 820L (What's this?)
- Hardcover: 352 pages
- Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers; First Printing edition (May 27, 2002)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0670035300
- ISBN-13: 978-0670035304
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1.1 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 690 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,126,316 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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This Lullaby Hardcover – May 27, 2002
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"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
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.
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This Lullaby read more New Adult than Young Adult. The characters seemed older than 18 with their fake IDs and long history of partying. That being said, I enjoyed it. I eagerly read the whole thing, desperate to find out what would happen between Dexter and Remy.
Dexter was a swoon-worthy lead (although he's no Wes...). He was so sweet with his dog Monkey and I liked that he was part of a band, thus challenging Remy's rule to never date a musician. But I would've liked a little more depth from him. Why did he drop out of Business School? Why is he so passionate about music?
But my biggest pet peeve with this story was Remy's voice...it was so negative and cynical, which was okay at first, but got really irritating by the end. I would've loved more growth from her as a character.
Overall, this was a different sort of contemporary YA novel, not so much a romance as a story about a girl learning to open her heart up to love after watching her mother struggle through four failed marriages.
A few bad points, spoilers may follow. I had a really hard time liking Remy. The smoking, the drinking, the sex, the swearing. She was just a "rougher" character then some of her other female leads. I get that she was trying to change and turning over a new leaf, etc, but those changes didn't make her likable. She was still kind of bitchy. I think that was sort of the point, because she says at one time it was something she was proud of. But apart from her mother's many marriages, and something that happened in her past, I didn't feel like I got a good enough reason why she was proud of being a bitch? Why would anyone want to be known for being mean? I guess that concept is just foreign to me.
I felt like I wanted more. When the book teetered on giving me what I wanted it would continually fall short. Instead of pivotal moments being narrated and two people interacting and exchanging words that meant something, those moments were assumed and faded to black. I wanted her to dive into those conversations between two people and have them actually tell the truth. Like it was always on the surface of something great, but never went deeper under the surface. And when two characters went under the surface it was a small blip on the map then they were right back to the surface.
The main character just wasn't very self-aware.
Caitlin has always lived in the shadow of her older sister, Cass. So when Cass leaves one night without warning, Caitlin feels like it is her responsibility to step up and fill in that "perfect child" role. At the same time, she doesn't want to be Cass. She doesn't want to have to be perfect. She's confused and doesn't know which way to go. Her confusion ends up leading her down the wrong road, sending her life spiraling down a hole she never thought she'd end up in.
In the attempt to step out of her sister's shadow, she falls into Rogerson's. The relationship between these two is heartbreaking, horrific, and realistic. Caitlin's confusion over how she feels about Rogerson is what makes it all worse because I can understand her thinking. Reading about her struggles made my heart ache for her. He met her when she was already down and only brought her lower.
I think the reasons I didn't find myself completely loving this book are because of that initial disconnect between me and Caitlin, as well as how blind those closest to Caitlin were. Out of everyone that knew and loved her, not one took enough notice of her downward spiral. I understand why it was done that way, but I still wish one of them had shown something more.
Dreamland is a quick read, but a powerful one. It shows that sometimes the weak are actually the strongest and that what we see on the outside my only be an illusion.