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Reviewed by Jocelyn Pearce for TeensReadToo.com
Sarah Dessen's THIS LULLABY is one of the best teen books I've ever read. It's the story of Remy, a girl who has no faith in love. Part of this is because her own father never even saw her, only wrote a now-famous song, called "This Lullaby," about her before he died. It certainly doesn't help that her mother has been married four times, and, at the beginning of the novel, is about to have her fifth wedding. Remy says about her mother's marriages, "She 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 likes to feel in control of things when she's got a boyfriend. She knows all about getting into relationships, the first romantic rush, and ending them before there's any emotional attachment. She's almost always the one to dump guys, not the other way around. She's got plenty of practice at it, too.
One day, at the car dealership owned by her mother's next husband, she meets a guy named Dexter. He's very determined to get to know Remy, and, at first, she thinks he's ridiculous and ignores him. Dexter, however, is persistent. When the two finally get together, everyone is shocked that Remy's staying in the relationship. Dexter is so many things Remy could never put up with. He's messy and impulsive, but, most of all, he's a musician. Until Dexter came along, Remy had a "no musician" rule, and now she's broken it.
Signs point to Remy ending this relationship and not looking back. Everyone thinks that's what will happen. Everyone except Dexter, who wants it to be more than a summer thing, who has faith in their relationship. How will it all end
This is an amazing young adult book by a brilliant author. Sarah Dessen, author of several other books including THAT SUMMER and SOMEONE LIKE YOU, does an awesome job of keeping the reader's attention throughout THIS LULLABY. She does it with her original story, told in Remy's unique voice. It doesn't hurt that Sarah Dessen is great at creating fresh, original, believable characters. Thoughtful and powerful, this book also has its moments that will make readers laugh, which is a nice change of pace in the story. Every aspect of this novel surpasses expectations.
Carl Streator is a reporter investigating Sudden Infant Death Syndrome for a soft-news feature. After responding to several calls with paramedics, he notices that all the dead children were read the same poem from the same library book the night before they died. It’s a ‘culling song’ – an ancient African spell for euthanising sick or old people. Researching it, he meets a woman who killed her own child with it accidentally. He himself accidentally killed his own wife and child with the same poem twenty years earlier. Together, the man and the woman must find and destroy all copies of this book, and try not to kill every rude sonofabitch that gets in their way. Lullaby is a comedy/drama/tragedy. In that order. It may also be Chuck Palahniuk’s best book yet.