Publisher's Note:  

A New York Times bestseller
She’s got it all figured out.
Or does she? When it comes to relationships, Remy’s got a whole set of rules.

Never get too serious. Never let him break your heart. And never, ever date a musician.

But then Remy meets Dexter, and the rules don’t seem to apply anymore.

Could it be that she’s starting to understand what all those love songs are about?

This Lullaby

by Sarah Dessen

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Overall Review:  

I've really enjoyed Dessen's other work, but This Lullaby left me cold. The characters are shallow and boring, and the plot is too predictable. The protagonist's love interest is sweet, but that's about the only redeeming quality in the book. There's also quite a bit more content than I've come to expect from Dessen. 


Remy's character is too extreme to be believable. She's obsessive, cynical, and completely organized. She's had virtually no parenting, which she claims makes her the way she is. She's a serial dater and dumper. And she's an overachiever. Not likely. All the prospective Stanford students I went to high school with spent more time studying than drinking excessively and sleeping around. 


Dessen's writing isn't the problem. Once again, she tells the story well, with moments of real poetry and beauty. The plot and characters are the deadweight in this story. In addition to Remy's above-mentioned flaws, she's abusive in relationships, which causes the reader to wonder why in the world anyone like Dexter would like her. The story gets wrapped up in a nice package, but I'm of the opinion that Remy could have used five to ten years of intensive therapy before ending up with a healthy anything (including her liver). 


Read Dessen's other work--she's a great young adult writer and storyteller--just don't bother with This Lullaby.

Content Analysis:  

Profanity/Language:  87 religious exclamations; 22 mild obscenities; 5 religious profanities; 17 derogatory names; 31 scatological words; 19 anatomical terms; 8 f-word derivatives.


Violence/Gore:  A character punches another character in the eye; a character struggles during a rape scene with few other details.


Sex/Nudity:  Characters discuss a teacher who was known to look at girls' breasts; several characters are known to have been sexually active as teens; a character flirts, using vague sexual innuendo; characters discuss groping; a female character sits on a male character's lap (twice); an underage character is raped with few details--this is never addressed as rape, but there is a struggle--both characters are drunk; characters kiss briefly (3 times); nude artwork is displayed in a home and described in detail; characters hug and flirt (twice); female characters discuss their breasts; characters (working at a photo lab) look at photos of women in their underwear (twice); a character is known to be an unwed teen mother; characters are kissed on the forehead or cheek (4 times); a male character squeezes a female character's leg; a character dances provocatively. 

Mature Subject Matter:  

Family problems, divorce, abandonment, sexual promiscuity, illegal activities (breaking and entering, fake IDs), abuse, rape, underage drinking, marital infidelity.

Alcohol / Drug Use:  

Underage characters drink and party excessively; underage characters smoke; some adult social drinking; a character is known to have used and sold marijuana.

Reviewed By Leslie
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