Top Ten Tuesday- Books for People Who Like Dessen

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish. This week we are recommending books for people who like a particular author. I’ve chosen Sarah Dessen because her books are a perfect summer read (Who am I kidding? I love them all year, but she feels like a great beach read).

What I love about Sarah Dessen is that she writes books that are funny without being silly, romantic without having heroines who fall all over themselves to give up everything for a guy, and they tackle tougher issues without being depressing.  Her characters feel so real with their odd imperfections, their relatable pain and their underlying awesomeness. If you haven’t read a Sarah Dessen novel, you should get on it stat. Pronto. Like, what are you waiting for?

But if you’ve read her and loved her, here are a few books that sucked me in the way hers do.

1. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson– This covers some tough stuff. Lennie is dealing with grief after the loss of her sister, she’s falling for a new boy, and she feels a painful connection to her sister’s boyfriend.  The writing here is beautiful and poetic and although there are some sad parts, Lennie made me laugh out loud so often, as did her quirky family.  I love this book.

2. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler– Again, this is a story about grief and first love and friendship. It’s so beautifully written.  The friendship in this story–one of Anna and Frankie– is vivid and felt so painfully real.  It’s such a good read.

3. Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta– I know it seems weird for me to compare Melina Marchetta to anyone because she is fantastic in her own right, but this book had the same perfect blend of elements that I’m speaking of.  There was wonderful, quirky humor, absolute pain and distress, and a cast of friends who were all so oddly matched and yet so perfect for one another. And lets not forget the romance with Will, who is so imperfect you can’t help but love him.  The shining star in this book is Francesca.  She is beautifully written and feels like she could come walking through your door at any moment.

4. Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour by Morgan Matson– This book has a great summer vibe, it has a cute guy, a girl grieving over the loss of her dad, and it has a road trip. There are a lot of fun moments and quirky things (like music playlists, photos and receipts plastered throughout making it feel like an actual scrapbook) and there is a good balance between the sadness and the “moving on” elements of this story.

5. The Statistical Probability of Love At First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith– This book has some wonderful, lovely romantic moments, but it’s the relationship between Hadley and her father that truly got to me.  As with many Dessen books, this one doesn’t leave you with the belief that the couple we’ve swooned over is necessarily going to live happily ever after forever and ever and ever, but it leaves you with the hope that something big is about to happen. It even better, she makes you want it.  She gives you hope.

6. Saving June by Hannah Harrington– This book also deals with grief and is perhaps the heaviest of the books I’m mentioning because Harper is trying to pick up the pieces after her sister’s suicide.  It’s tough to read at first, but when Harper embarks on a road trip with her BFF and a virtual stranger (a hot one, of course) on a journey to take her sister’s ashes to California, the heaviness of the subject matter is lightened here and there by their adventures.  This is an excellent book.

7. How To Save a Life by Sara Zarr- I love this one!  Out of all of Zarr’s books, this one, to me at least, had the lightest vibe. The subject matter is still serious— grieving the death of a parent, moving on, teen pregnancy, abuse—and yet, there so many moments of humor and joy and total hopefulness.  In fact, that’s the underlying theme here: life goes on.

8. I’ll Be There by Holly Goldberg Sloan– I am constantly pushing this book because it is SO wonderful.  This explores love from so many angles and like a Dessen book, the romantic love is sweet, but it doesn’t overpower the entire story. It leaves you wanting more of every character.

9. Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald- This one leans more to the lighthearted side.  The main character, is getting over her love for her best buddy (I’ll let you guess his name) and in doing so, she discovers so much about herself. Everything takes place over the course of the summer while she’s working at this coffee shop and it’s the dynamics between Sadie and her coworkers that really reminded me of a Dessen book.

That’s all for now!  Happy Tuesday!

What Happened to Goodbye

What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Since her parents’ bitter divorce, McLean and her dad, a restaurant consultant, have been on the move-four towns in two years. Estranged from her mother and her mother’s new family, McLean has followed her dad in leaving the unhappy past behind. And each new place gives her a chance to try out a new persona: from cheerleader to drama diva. But now, for the first time, McLean discovers a desire to stay in one place and just be herself, whoever that is. Perhaps Dave, the guy next door, can help her find out.

Here’s the scoop:

When McLean (yeah. I’m serious) arrives in Dessen’s signature town, Lakeview, she’s on her fourth move in two years.  She and her father have found a sort of rhythm in their life together: He works, traveling from town to town revamping restaurants, and McLean looks after them both.  They never stay anywhere long enough to take root, each remaining comfortably distant from their surroundings so that the next time they pick up and leave, it’s easy to cut ties. McLean has become a pro at this, reinventing herself in each town they’ve lived, adopting new names and personas.  All are a far cry from the real girl, whose mother’s scandalous affair rocked their hometown three years earlier, causing her parents’ divorce and the deterioration of the idyllic family life she once had.

The real McLean barely knows how she’s survived the dramatic turn her life has taken since her mother began a new life, complete with a new family.  Her hurt and anger has tainted her to the point that she refuses to live with her mother and, much to Mom’s disappointment, the two are barely on speaking terms.  She’s made it her job to take care of her father, who, in her eyes is the obvious victim and who works such long hours that he barely remembers to take care of himself.

When McLean meets a group of kids from her school she does something shocking: she tells them her real name.  In fact, she acts like herself—not the girl she wants to be—just plain, simple, imperfect McLean.  The real task is in recalling who she was before the divorce and who she is now.  As she remembers, she feels herself letting her guard down and forming attachments to the people around her, especially to one very cute, uber-smart, nerdypants next-door neighbor named Dave (tiny swoon for him because the whole smart nerd thing he has going on is pretty adorbs).

This is a solid story.  As always, I love Dessen’s writing, which is smooth and seamless and seems to envelop her readers instantly.  In truth, this wasn’t my favorite Dessen book though.  While the issues are presented with a sense of realism, overall, the cast of characters was not as memorable as they’ve been in novels past, therefore I didn’t feel quite as attached as I normally do.  Also, this didn’t have quite the sa-woon that Dessen does so well. While I don’t think this was meant to be a swoony story, but rather one about family and about finding your identity, it still felt like the romance with the love interest, Dave, was hinted at but never really got off the ground.

My favorite aspect of What Happened to Goodbye was the complicated relationship between McLean and her parents.  She struggles beautifully with her fond memories of her former family life, specifically of times with her mother, balanced against the grudge she now holds since her mom left.  She also feels a sense protectiveness toward her father that I found to be very sweet.

Crush Intensity: 3.0/5    Overall, I liked this book but I never quite fell in love. Still, if you’re a Dessen fan it is definitely worth checking out.

Memorable Quote:

Even all this time later, it still seemed capable of unexpectedly knocking the wind out of me at random moments.  In the first few shaky, strange weeks after my parents sat me down and told me they were separating, I kept combing back through the last year, trying to figure out how this could have happened.

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors I’d Die to Meet

by Tee

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is: Top 10 Authors (Living or Dead) I’d Die to Meet.  Not as easy as it sounds, mainly because it’s hard to name only ten. So here is my list, though I’m sure I’ll kick myself later for forgetting someone vital.

1. Meg Cabot– Ok, in actuality, I’ve already met Meg Cabot Goddess of YA Literature and Creator of Michael Moscovitz Fake Man of My Dreams.  And yes, before you ask, I babbled on about Mr. Moscovitz like a total idiot, even saying he’s better than Mr. Darcy (which he IS. I mean, hello. Ever heard of a sense of humor Darcy?) and made her sign my Forever Princess book while all the other ten-year olds waited to have their Allie Finkle books signed (my little one among them).  In truth, she was very funny and gracious, she took her picture with us and gave my daughter–who dreams of being an author someday–lots of advice about writing.  Still, I’d love to be her new best friend meet her again someday. Obviously, I’m hoping some of her awesomeness will rub off on me, but I’d settle for another picture and signed book.

2. Jane Austen– I know I make fun of Mr. Darcy alot (ahem, like in the paragraph above), but I love the pants off Pride and Prejudice.  The whole story gets me EVERY. SINGLE. TIME.  And then, of course, there’s Emma, which is probably my favorite Austen novel because it’s so funny.  And Persuasion.  Can we talk about Captain Wentworth and his amazing, romantical letter at the end?  Swoon City!  Jane Austen found a way to be pro-female while still being humorous and romantic.  She, and let’s be honest, Mr. Darcy, are the standard by which romantic love stories/heroes are measured.

3. Harper Lee- Holy bananas, so do I need to say anything else except that she wrote To Kill a Mockingbird and, in doing so, created one of the greatest literary characters ever when she breathed life into Atticus Finch!!??!  And I’ve always loved that this beautiful book was written from the perspective of a child, rather than an adult.  It takes such a keen perception to get back to the innocence of childhood and to recall it so perfectly.

4. Charlotte Bronte- Two words: Jane Eyre.  Such a beautiful, perfect book that it has me on the edge of my seat with every reading, even though I know what happens.  Bronte wrote a great novel that was truly feminist (in a feminine way, meaning her character never had to revoke her femininity to rise above her circumstances) and showed me that even the most difficult circumstances can be overcome with grace and poise.  And she created Mr. Rochester, who I love like a crazy person (so like Bertha, only less stabby).

5. E. Lockhart– This woman exudes awesomeness. I mean, I don’t know her personally (sigh) but I love her books.  First off, she invented Frankie Landau Banks. Secondly, she wrote the Ruby Oliver series. She has a way of creating sweet, funny girls who, despite their insecurities (or perhaps because of them) are bold and lovable.  And funny. So, so funny.

6. CS Lewis– You guys, having gone to Christian school my whole life, I obviously knew about CS Lewis. As such, since everyone read The Chronicles of Narnia I, like a total idiot, refused.  It wasn’t until I was an adult and found out that the films were coming out (and seeing how awesome the first trailer looked) that I decided I’d better get on the ball and read them. And holy cow, I can’t believe I waited so long! I loved the story behind them (how he wrote them for his niece) and that they were sweet and magical enough for my young children to fall in love with, but interesting enough to keep my attention.  Beyond that, I read another of his books, Mere Christianity and was pretty much sold on him.

7. Roald Dahl- Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was my favorite book growing up. I read it over and over and even now, watch the film quite often (the original one).  It wasn’t until my oldest child studied his other works in school that I realized how incredibly brilliant his books are.  Though Charlie is the pinnacle, there are so many fun, kooky stories.  His ideas were lively and unique and, even when I read them with my children, still feel as if they are magically transporting me.

8. Sarah Dessen– Girl Crush alert.  I love me some Dessen.  It’s not just that I think her blog or Twitter feeds are hilarious (though they are), or because she created Wes and Bert Baker (though they are both good reasons to throw Ms. Dessen some love).  No, it’s just because every time I read one of her novels, even if it deals with a tough subject, I want to crawl inside it. I love her words and am amazed at her talent.  Also, I heard she handed out whoopie pies at BEA and I’m very easily bought off by dessert.

9. Gayle Forman– Oh my goodness, I hope this woman writes thousands more books because I have absolutely loved her two most recent ones, If I Stay and Where She Went.  Yeah, I actually said in my review of Where She Went that I wanted to marry it.  Kind of embarrassing.  Hopefully if I ever meet her at a signing I don’t act like a complete idiot, but I’m not promising anything.

10. Judy Blume– You guys, Superfudge, Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing, Blubber, Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great, Are You There God?  It’s Me Margaret (the book that told be I’d get boobies if I worked at it.  It totally didn’t work, but it gave me hope)…  Judy Blume was with me during so much of my childhood.  Her stories made me laugh and smile and cringe in all the right ways and they made me feel as if someone understood me.

An Ode to Dessen’s Dudes

By Vee (with a tidbit from Tee, since Vee stole Tee’s two fav Dessen guys)

For the love of all that is good and holy, I heart Dessen Week.  I’d like to thank the Universe for one Ms. Sarah Dessen.  Because without Sarah – we’re on a first basis she and I – I wouldn’t be able to write an article  about Dessen’s boys, and really, what would I do then?  Write about The Hunger Games casting?  Well yea, but, then what would I do the rest of the month?  Come on now.

My favorite Dessen boys are artistic (so they’re sensitive and shizz), laid back, sure of who they are.  A perfect contrast to the more high-strung heroine who is generally struggling with issues like self-confidence, self-worth and self-doubt.  It’s good times to be a Dessen boy.  And to date one too.  They are fo sho deep thinkers, and pretty dang funny, in a clever way only a smart guy can be.

Our Fav Dessen Boys…

Wes from The Truth About Forever– Oh, hummuna, hummuna.  Wes, darling Wes.  Wes is like, the Dessen pinnacle of perfection, by which all other Dessen boys will forever be measured, and, as much as I love me some Dexter, Wes is IT.  He is serenity, he is cool, calm, and collected.  In the midst of the chaos of the catering world he and Macy work in, he seems to walk into a room and everything goes still.  Like in slo’ mo’.  Because he’s suffered enough and lived through enough that he pretty much can see that little problems like wine getting spilled on a fancy pants white carpets ain’t no thing but a chickan wing.  And um, he is also pectorally gifted (in my head).  He puts the SAH- in SAH-woooon!!!!

Dexter from This Lullaby– Dextaaaaaahhhhh!  If I saw him walking down the street in Crazytown, that’s exactly how I would say hi to him.  I love me some Dexter.  He appears to be just fun, and carefree, and you gotta love him despite his apparent inability to tie his shoelaces.  For all the smoldery-ness of Wes, Dexter is the comic relief.  He could talk his way out of Hades, if he needed to.  Though he is softer in the chestal area, and doesn’t seem to have a stink eye in him, he is still totally charming and utterly fun to kick it with at the 7-11 while you sip on a Slurpee.  And then, just when you think you have Dex all figured out, he goes and slaps out some major insight into why  you’re so messed up and afraid of love, and you’re all, whoa.  True story.  OK, maybe not true story, but definitely an awesome YA story!

Owen from Just Listen Oh Owen, you look like you’d be this mass of tough guy but really you’re just a kind-hearted  softie just waiting for the right girl.  You lay your cards on the table, let the chips fall where they may and go with what your gut tells you.  Plus, dude, you’re a DJ music man, always walking around with your iPod (ready and willing to share your awesome music insight with the world around you).  I’m gonna be honest.  Dessen had me at iPod.  I love guys who love music (real music, not obnoxious rappy stuff). Also, being tall, studly, dark-haired and pretty hot never hurts.  (Tee)

Honorable Mention:

Bert from The Truth About ForeverWhoa, hold on. I know he’s a gigantor dorkhead. I know he’s crazy obsessed with Armageddon and aliens and goodness knows what else.  I know he can barely put together an acceptable outfit without Kristy’s help.  I know he calls his car the Bertmobile, but for the love of everything holy, can we get Bert some action?  These are all reasons to love him! (Tee)

Ack, good one!  Donneven tell me there is anyone out there who doesn’t love Bert.  I am sure there’s a girl out there in fictional-book-world at an Area 54 Convention who thinks Bert is awesome sauce.  That is one perfect honorable mention.  Shazaam.  (Love, Vee)

Just Listen

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Last year, Annabel was “the girl who has everything”—at least that’s the part she played in the television commercial for Kopf’s Department Store.This year, she’s the girl who has nothing: no best friend because mean-but-exciting Sophie dropped her, no peace at home since her older sister became anorexic, and no one to sit with at lunch. Until she meets Owen Armstrong. Tall, dark, and music-obsessed, Owen is a reformed bad boy with a commitment to truth-telling. With Owen’s help,maybe Annabel can face what happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends.

Here’s the scoop:

Annabel has had a tough summer.  She’s done something pretty bad and now her former best friend—the uber popular and totally bishy, Sophie—has desserted her.  Now Annabel has gone from being part of the in-crowd (Gorgeous?  Check.  Cool modeling career? Check.  Popularity? Check.  Would I hate her?  Um, probably.) to being a complete nobody.  To make matters worse, her mom is pushing the whole modeling thing like her life depends on it. Annabel really isn’t interested, but she does it anyway.  She doesn’t stand up for herself at all—not when Sophie is saying terrible things about her, not when her mom is being like one of those terrible Toddlers in Tiaras moms.  She doesn’t say a word.

Now that Annabel sits in the outcast area at lunch, she notices Owen.  He’s a tall, hulking bit of man who is crazy obsessed with music.  Owen keeps to himself, always drowning out the world with his iPod.  As she begins to get to know him, Annabel find that Owen is different from her.  He’s totally open about his issues and his past struggles with anger, and about pretty much everything (though not in an obnoxious, verbal diarrhea way. It’s refreshing).  Through this new friendship,  the truth about Annabel’s life slowly unfolds: her apathy over her modeling career, the frightening and painful reality of her older sister, Whitney’s,  anorexia, and just what happened to make Sophie hate her so much.  Owen, with his commitment to telling the absolute truth,  helps her see that it’s okay to be honest, that life isn’t always picture perfect and that sometimes the best you can do is just be who you are.

As always, Sarah Dessen is able to touch on realistic issues without the topics feeling morbid or depressing.  The big secret of what Annabel has done is nothing too terribly scandalous, but the weight of guilt she feels and the impact it’s had on her so-called friends is told to perfection.  In the long run, it may not be a life-ending incident, but it’s the kind that feels that way when you’re in high school and everything hinges on your friends.  At the same time, the details of Whitney’s physical and emotional deterioration are told with such frank simplicity.  It’s frightening and sad, but Dessen always finds a way to show hope.  In this case, she does so with Annabel’s family (those sisterly bonds that I, as an only child, am so fascinated by) and with her new friend/resident hot guy, Owen.

Owen is the calm in the midst of Annabel’s stormy life; her “friend” issues,  her regrets, her mom’s expectations, and her concerns about Whitney.  There is a real sweetness to their relationship, which develops slowly from a friendship to something more.  Throughout the book, Owen is a solid force surrounding and protecting Annabel.  He’s the first to admit he isn’t perfect, but it’s his weaknesses that have molded him into such a great guy.  Through his anger management meetings he’s learned to tell the truth and to embrace what he loves in life.  It’s this outlook that she tries to share with Annabel.

Crush Intensity: 4/5  It’s Sarah Desseny goodness all the way around.

The Way I See It:

Um, Jake Ryan. Sa-woon

This is totally how I pictured Owen (minus the vest).  Tall, bulky but not fat, dark-haired and cute without being a pretty boy (wow. Do you think I’ve thought about this just a little bit?). I totally think he’d return her undies if he found them because, you know, he’s an honest guy.

I have no other casting because what could top this?

This Lullaby will keep you awake!

This Lullaby by Sarah Dessen (moo)

So then what is it about Dexter that makes it so hard for Remy to follow her own rules? He’s everything she hates: messy, disorgan­ized, impulsive, and worst of all, a musician like her father. The father Remy never knew, the one who wrote a famous song for her but dis­appeared from her life. Remy has never had trouble getting out while the getting is good. But there’s just something about Dexter. . . . Could it be that Remy is finally finding out what all those love songs are about?

Sarah Dessen, acclaimed author of Someone Like You and Dreamland, gives readers her most captivating novel yet, as she introduces us to a girl who believes her heart is made of stone and the boy who proves her wrong.

Remy is a self-professed hard-ass.  There’s a place for everything and everything is in its place in her world, including her men.  She dates guys until she thinks, essentially, things are getting too comfy.   Then she lowers the “we need to talk” boom.

At her young age (just graduated high school), Remy has created the idea that all relationships are doomed to fail.  This is in part due to her mother’s numerous marriages (5 to be exact).  Not to mention (watch me get down with my pre-psych self up in da hiz houz) her feelings of abandonment that stem from her famous musician father, a man she never met.  He died of a heart attack when she was just a tiny thing,  but not before writing a song he would be known for in pop culture, the ballad “This Lullaby”.  In the lyrics he expressly wrote for her, he essentially tells her, “I am a good-for-nothing, will always disappoint you, but at least I wrote you this song”.  A song which has become an old favorite in pop culture, which means, she gets to hear it on the overheads of elevators, and in commercials as background, on a fairly regular basis, much to her chagrin.

Slap on top of all that a sad and difficult experience in the boy department during her sophomore year, and call it the last nail on the coffin.  This all is what created a girl who never wants anyone to get too close, because they will ultimately end up hurting her.  So instead she hurts them first and protects her already fragile heart.  Part of her system includes various hard and fast rules about who she’ll consider date-worthy material, and who she won’t.  Example?  No musicians!  (I know you saw that coming.)

Enter Dexter (Dextahhhhhh!).  A funny, carefree musician (say what??? I know…) who doesn’t seem to take anything too seriously.  Remy meets Dexter at a car dealership where she awaits to finalize the last of the wedding details with her newest stepdad-to-be (a car salesman who sells Corollas by the boat load).  Her mother, a writer of romance novels, is too busy writing her newest saga and, as ever, depends on Remy to take care of those pesky little details she just can’t seem to be bothered with.  It is in the midst of this frustrating moment that Dexter, quite literally, bumps into Remy (ouch) and royally ticks her off.

Not discouraged by Remy practically threatening to end his life (the bump really hurt), Dexter decides this crazy beast is the girl for him, and so his pursuit for this feisty girl begins.  Despite Remy’s failed attempts to discourage Dexter, he finally wins her over and a large part of the book is spent with her talking about her game plan to a) not fall in love with the Dex-man (good luck with that sistah…) and b) how/when to break up with him before her departure to Stanford University (yea, she’s a smart one).

In the meanwhile, we get to kick it with Dexter and his band mates who live in this utterly groaty house (they’re all dudes, so it makes sense that they only have one spoon between the 3 of them).  There we see a new Remy, with a slightly smaller stick up her…you know.  A girl amused as she bears witness to contests such as the  “Bet You Can’t Eat 7 Bananas” bet, and listening to the musical musings of his band Truth Squad.  This, BTW, includes “The Potato Opus”, a collection of songs (not one, a collection, party people), that somehow or another come back to the potato, in its many incarnations, including the sweet potato.  Really.  (Loooooooove it!)

You know the emotional shizz is gonna hit the fan when, contrary to the way it went down in past relationships, she keeps putting off the “distancing” portion of her plan deciding that there is still plenty of time to lower the boom.  Hmmmm…

Right from the get go, I was concerned this Remy girl and I were not going to be friends.  She was so negative, so crusty in her shell of man-hate.  But this is where the genius of Sarah Dessen comes into play.  She takes a girl I found to be hardened, sarcastic, jaded, and made her into a character that I could empathize with.  A girl whose vulnerability is plain to see despite her best efforts.  Someone you want to hope the best for.  I’d go as far as to say, I’d even be her friend.

All the characters in this book are thoughtfully written, each of them playing an integral role in who Remy was/is/will be.  Among them, Remy’s brother Chris is a voice of reason where you least expect one.  Her three best friends, Chloe, Lissa, and Jess, all highlight a different facet of Remy’s personality, offering her (and us) different perspectives in various situations.  Her mom who you may first dislike, and then (a classic Dessen move), becomes someone who will surprise.  And, in case I haven’t gushed enough, gotta send some love to my Dexter.  Seemingly incapable of basics such as tying shoe laces and holding down a decent job, he turns out to be a wise soul who sees straight through Remy.  The fact that, despite all her walls, Dexter can peer inside Remy’s heart and see love is incredibly alarming to Remy.  To the reader its a glimmer of hope where one is sorely needed.  She will have to decide if she is willing to risk what she has been protecting for so long for the sake of this wonderful guy.  Sigh.  Good stuff, friends.

Crush Level:

4.75/5– All in all, on many levels, this was a wonderful book.  Yay Sarah!  I’ll say this much: after Mother’s day breakfast, flowers, cards, and a bike ride, my beloved asked, “So now what do you want to do on your day?”  Silliest question I ever heard.  So we put out some snacks, he tossed the baseball with mah babies in our yard, and I sat and read this book in one sitting only pausing for dinner and bedtime rituals.  Best mother’s day everrrrrrr.  I loved this book and I just couldn’t put it down.  The reason I nicked .25 from my crush?  I get that there is a purpose behind Remy’s self-deprecating ways, that there is a level of self-hate there that she has to work through, but she called herself a byotch just one too many times for me.  Maybe I just needed her to call herself something else, and that would have made the diff.  Like you know, switch it up to “I’m a crazy-boy-hating-ninja”.  Just sayin.  All in all though, this book does what most Dessen books do for me.  It put me in the middle of feelings I’ve felt before, I could practically be in the book, having a Zip drink (real life translation: Slurpee) with friends at the local Quik Zip (translation: the 7 Eleven) feeling like this was my last summer before college.

How I see it:

Kristen Kreuk...not a very accurate Remy, but this is what the brain eyes saw.

Remy: Ok, I will confess, I was utterly distracted picturing Dexter, to really think of what anyone else look like.  And truth be told, I have some sort of bizarre bias that makes me default to brunettes for most of my literary characters.  No offense.  Some of my dearest friends are blondes. I wanted a Remy that was soft and vulnerable looking, and gorgeous – which we are told she is – but that could kick some arse when needed.  Except it would come out of left field because she’s petite and pretty.  Also, she has to have good hair.  She works in a hair salon, you know.

Charlie McDermott is tote's my Dexter

Dexter: The man without the plan, but always seeing the bright side.  Love him.  He sounds messy in every way, and yet you still are ok if he wants to hug you.  Cuz he’s just so cute.  (And funny, never underestimate the power of funny).  Charlie McDermott has got those messy black curls that need a hair cut, but you wouldn’t dare chop off, and as he has proven in his performance in “The Middle”, he can be a funny slob.  I couldn’t resist but to typecast!