By now I've sort of figured out how most of Dessen's books go (though I haven't read her older books yet). A girl (usually with some sort of unusual name) has something bad happen to her and is dealing with the affects of it when she meets boy (along with some other people who do show up but not as much as Boy) who helps her figure out how to live again until she does something to piss him off, and spends about 100 pages not talking to him. Eventually they make up and everything's okay, and there's a lot of lyrical and cheesy reflections on life in between. Occasionally there's a variation on this theme but usually it's more of the same. I got into this book expecting the above forumla, but I was actually pleasantly surprised. There is no One Big Traumatic problem, not much education on how to live, and in some ways McLean had more interactions with other characters than with her love interest, and there was no big fight. McLean is dealing with common issues for teenagers, such as dealing with her parents' divorce and discovering who she is. She played around with her identity before (each town she moved to she had a variation of her middle name, Elizabeth, and played around with her personality to fit that name) and was intending to do the same in this new town, but due to some situations out of her control, continued to be known as McLean. Some of the other characters were quite enjoyable as well (such as Deb, the "freaky" girl that everyone kind of avoided but when you get to know her, while she is kind of weird, she has a lot of other attributes) and it was more subtle than usual for Dessen.