Published: June 1, 2010
Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books
Overall Rating: 4/5
Seventeen-year-old Bronwen Oliver doesn't just want a family. She has one of those, and there's nothing terribly wrong with them apart from bickering grandparents, an image-obsessed mother and a brother she describes simply as Jesus. But there's no natural sense of connection between Bronwen and her family, leaving her with the belief -- and the hope -- that she was switched at birth, that she was never supposed to be Bronwen Oliver but someone else entirely.I think that synopsis is a bit much. They may as well have told you the entire story, because in all honesty, that pretty much sums it up.
When she begins dating college senior Jared Sondervan, she finds herself thoroughly embraced by the loving family she has always wanted and does not hesitate to say yes when Jared proposes on her 18th birhday. Plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her junior year of college become plans for the Perfect Beach Wedding before her freshman year of college. And a wedding so soon isn't exactly what Bronwen wants. But Jared is. And his family is. Or so she thinks.
Before Bronwen can determine what she truly wants, she must first determine who she truly is, and the answer, she discovers, is only partially what she thought it was. She wasn't switched at birth, but she's also not Bronwen Oliver and hasn't been for a very long time.
I thought this was a cute, fun read. Jared was adorable, but I think he was too mature for Bronwen. She realized that too, just long after the reader does. Which is one issue I had with this book. I can not stand realizing something chapters before the protagonist. It drives me insane.
It's kind of sad, really. Seeing her lose herself to their relationship, when she never really understood who she was to begin with. When she finally realized how badly her life was spinning out of her control, I had mixed feelings. On one had I thought, "Finally!" and on the other hand I felt bad for Jared. Though only eighteen, I still felt she could have handled the situation differently. I tried to remind myself--she's only eighteen, but I remember being eighteen, and I don't think I was that naive. But it goes without saying, Jared being the mature one, he should have realized that she was not on his level, and he should have slowed things down.
Their budding love was just adorable. I didn't really feel as though the book's conflict packed enough punch, but it did keep me interested. I really liked the ending, but I won't say anything more because I can't figure out how to review this book without including spoilers!