This is the first of the year that I think I truly LOVE. Harper has escaped L.A. for the summer to work for a volunteer program building a house for a family in Tennessee after a tornado has wiped out the town. Her reasons for going are only slightly altruistic, however. Her father and adored stepmother have suddenly divorced and her stepsister/best friend, Tess is bitter and distant. As the summer progresses, Harper begins to work through her own feelings about family and love. She also falls for a young man and must learn to trust again, realizing that she cannot keep herself closed off from the possibility of love. The writing in this book is superb, Harper has a true voice, depth of character, and a full spectrum of emotions. I just really love this book!
Like I mentioned at the meeting, this one is geared for older teens. There is sex and drinking, but neither are gratuitous. Harper's decisions and those of her friends and family are honest, sometimes self-absorbed, and complex. Did I mention I loved this book? Yay!