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Someone Like You

Someone Like You

4.5 1467
by Sarah Dessen

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The world is a terrible place not to have a best friend.
Scarlett was always the strong one.
Halley was always content to follow in her wake.
Then Scarlett’s boyfriend died, and Scarlett learned that she was pregnant.
Now Halley has to find the strength to take the lead and help Scarlett get through


The world is a terrible place not to have a best friend.
Scarlett was always the strong one.
Halley was always content to follow in her wake.
Then Scarlett’s boyfriend died, and Scarlett learned that she was pregnant.
Now Halley has to find the strength to take the lead and help Scarlett get through it.
Because true friendship is a promise you keep forever.
* “Dessen has written a powerful, polished story.”—School Library Journal, starred review
Also by Sarah Dessen:
Along for the Ride
Just Listen
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
The Moon and More
That Summer
This Lullaby
The Truth About Forever
What Happened to Goodbye

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Dessen has written a powerful, polished story." (SLJ, starred review)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Dessen's realistic portrayal of contemporary teens and their moral challenges breathes fresh life into well-worn themes of rebellion and first love. Halley has always been close to her mother, a therapist who publishes books about adolescent behavior. But the summer before her junior year of high school, Halley begins cutting the umbilical cord. She and her best friend, Scarlett, start hanging out with Ginny Tabor ("a cheerleader with a wild streak a mile wide and a reputation among the football team for more than her cheers and famous midair splits"); Halley dumps her nerdy boyfriend (the son of her mother's best friend) and becomes involved with reckless Macon, a boy her parents have forbidden her to see. Then Scarlett discovers she is pregnant two months after her boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident. Walking a line between childhood and adulthood, the two girls turn to each other instead of their families for support. Together they explore the meaning of love, sex and responsibility. This romance/coming-of-age story is not as tightly written as Dessen's debut, That Summer; it suffers from some scenes reminiscent of soap opera and from flat presentations of almost all the adult characters. But Dessen's fully developed characterizations of charismatic teens, particularly the rebel-without-a-cause-type Macon, are sure to attract readersespecially those who, like Halley, have felt the urge to take a walk on the wild side.
Children's Literature - Linnea Hendrickson
In the words of its author, this is "a story about friendship, love, and the one year we all remember when everything has changed." Halley and Scarlett have been friends since childhood, but at the end of the summer before their junior year, Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies in a motorcycle accident, and their lives begin to change in ways they could never have imagined. Scarlett learns she is pregnant with Michael's child, and Halley falls in love for the first time with the mysterious, charming, and infuriating Macon Faulkner. Both Halley and Scarlett engage in battles of wills with their very different mothers and in conflicts with other girls at school. The characters are well-delineated, the plot is well-constructed and nicely paced, and issues of love, friendship, family, and deciding for oneself what is right are handled deftly, the decidedly serious issues lightened with a touch of humor.
Children's Literature - Linnea Hendrickson
In the words of its author, this is "a story about friendship, love, and the one year we all remember when everything has changed." Halley and Scarlett have been friends since childhood, but at the end of the summer before their junior year, Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, dies in a motorcycle accident, and their lives begin to change in ways they could never have imagined. Scarlett learns she is pregnant with Michael's child, and Halley falls in love for the first time with the mysterious, charming, and infuriating Macon Faulkner. Both Halley and Scarlett engage in battles of wills with their very different mothers and in conflicts with other girls at school. The characters are well delineated, the plot is well constructed and nicely paced, and issues of love, friendship, family, and deciding for oneself what is right are handled deftly, the decidedly serious issues lightened with a touch of humor.
VOYA - Marcia Mann
At the beginning of their junior year of high school, Halley's best friend's boyfriend dies in a motorcycle accident. Unaccustomed to being the strong one in their friendship, Halley nonetheless struggles to provide emotional support for Scarlett. When Scarlett discovers she is pregnant, she depends on Halley even more. At the same time as Halley works to adjust to their changing circumstances, she must also deal with the shifting relationship she has with her controlling mother and she falls in love for the first time. Halley's relationship with Macon Faulkner, the "Boy with a Reputation," serves to distance her from her parents as it helps Halley discover herself and her own set of values. The story is told from Halley's point of view. She is an engaging character and her maturing perspective over the course of the year rings true. Although the focus is on Halley, as minor characters her boyfriend, mother, and Scarlett are well presented. The overall tone of Someone Like You is funny, heartwarming, and appealing-a fine follow-up to Dessen's first novel, That Summer (Orchard, 1996/VOYA December 1996), a 1997 ALA Best Book for Young Adults. VOYA Codes: 4Q 4P J (Better than most, marred only by occasional lapses, Broad general YA appeal, Junior High-defined as grades 7 to 9).
Realistic and contemporary, this novel addresses two mature themes that teenage girls could relate to or might face. The first theme is pulling away from parents and friends to a more independent relationship; the second theme is teen pregnancy. Life had been fairly predictable for Halley until her junior year. Content to be friends with her mother and shadow to the more outgoing Scarlett, Halley finds herself detaching from both influences when Macon enters her life. Halley falls for the attention Macon gives her, and begins deliberating whether she is ready for his increasing pressure of sexual intimacy. Halley's final decision comes from what she thinks is best for her, and not what others think she should do. Halley revels in her ability to break outside of the confines of lifelong influences and expectations. Then, she must become a source of strength for Scarlett when Scarlett's boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident. Scarlett needs Halley even more when she find out she is pregnant with Michael's child. In Scarlett's need for Halley, Halley realizes how much she truly needs her mother after all. Written with frank insight, this first-person account captures the struggles of making and living with choices. Readers looking for a storyline that reflects situations teen girls face today will be challenged by the choices Halley and Scarlett must make. KLIATT Codes: S—Recommended for senior high school students. 1998, Penguin/Puffin, 281p, 18cm, 97-36437, $4.99. Ages 16 to 18. Reviewer: Pam Webb; Lib. Tech., Sandpoint H.S. Sandpoint, ID, September 2000 (Vol. 34 No. 5)
School Library Journal
Quiet, predictable Halley and Scarlett, her feisty defender, have been best friends since grade school. Growing up like sisters, they've shared everything except a bedroom, dreams, clothes, classes, and Friday nights. Then boys step into their teen lives. Scarlett's romance the summer before junior year has serious consequences when Michael dies in a motorcycle accident and she's left carrying his child. Halley's close relationship with her psychologist mother is fractured as the girl's friendship with secretive, irresponsible Macon Faulkner deepens into romance. To top things off, Grandma Halley is dying. Halley and her classmates experiment with drugs, alcohol, and sex, and experience family problems. Asking questions and making choices, Halley confronts her fears and learns to make her own decisions on her way to adulthood. Dessen deals accurately, sensitively, and smoothly with growing up in suburbia. Halley and Scarlett's friendship resonates with affection and honesty, and the predictable but necessary separation of mothers and daughters is portrayed with tender acuity. Experiences and conversations avoid falling into cliche; all of the characters are fully developed and worth getting to know. Without preaching or posturing, Dessen has written a powerful, polished story. Gail Richmond, San Diego Unified Schools, CA
Horn Book Magazine
In this novel whose first-person voice is remarkable for it authenticity, Dessen more than fulfills the promise of her first book, That Summer. A great deal happens to Halley during her junior year in high school. Her best friend, Scarlett, becomes pregnant, a not-unheard-of event - "but for girls like us, like Scarlett, these things didn't happen. And if they did it was taken care of in secret, discreetly, and only rumored." Uncharacteristically, Scarlett decides to keep the baby. Halley falls in love with Macon, handsome and dangerous and one more secret she keeps from her mother, a psychologist who has written books describing the ideal relationship she has with her daughter. Halley thinks back to the summer before when she and her family had traveled to the Grand Canyon, a metaphor for the distance that has since opened up between her and her mother. The adults - Halley's controlling mother and her sympathetic but ineffectual father, Scarlett's childlike mother Marion - are drawn with as much care and (unusual in young adult novels) affection as the adolescent characters. Familial ties are strong. When Macon pressures her to have sex, Halley discovers that the values her parents have taught her are not that easy to brush aside. "We didn't talk or laugh as much anymore....Everything had narrowed to just going to his house, parking out by the lake and battling for territory while arguing about trust and expectations. It was like dealing with my mother." Dessen has a unique talent for distilling character in a few biting words, and she uses her sharp sense of humor to make her points without mawkishness. The penultimate scene, in which Scarlett heads straight from the junior prom to the hospital to have her baby, incorporates what seems to be a cast of thousands, including a Boy Scout troop and Marion with a group of faux-medieval revelers. It has a farcical quality about it that seems out of place in this otherwise solidly realistic narrative. But this is a minor quibble. The book hits home, from Halley's first serious relationship, to her ignorance over the details of sex ("I wasn't very clear on the logistics"), to her fascination with Scarlett's pregnancy. Adolescent girls will readily identify with Halley and will appreciate the book's honest explication of the things they really want to know.

Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.81(w) x 8.50(h) x 1.00(d)
820L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One
Scarlett Thomas has been my best friend for as long as I can remember. That's why I knew when she called me at Sisterhood Camp, during the worst week of my life, that something was wrong even before she said it. Just by her voice on the other end of the line. I knew.
"It's Michael," she said quietly. Her words crackled over distance. "Michael Sherwood."
"What about him?" The camp director, a woman named Ruth with short hair and Birkenstocks, shifted impatiently beside me. At Sisterhood Camp we were supposed to be Isolated from the Pressures of Society in order to Improve Ourselves as Women. We weren't supposed to get phone calls. Especially not at midnight on a Tuesday, rousing you out of your creaky camp bed and through the woods to a room too bright and a phone that weighed heavily in your hand.
Scarlett sighed. Something was up. "What about him?" I repeated. The camp director rolled her eyes this time, thinking, I was sure, that this was no emergency.
"He's dead." Scarlett's voice was flat, even, as if she were reciting multiplication tables. I could hear clinking and splashing in the background.
"Dead?" I said. The camp director looked up, suddenly concerned, and I turned away. "How?"
"A motorcycle accident. This afternoon. He got hit by a car on Shortcrest." More splashing, and suddenly I realized she was washing dishes. Scarlett, always capable, would do housework during a nuclear holocaust.
"He's dead," I repeated, and the room seemed very small suddenly, cramped, and as the camp director put her arm around me I shook her off, stepping away. I pictured Scarlett at the sink in cutoffs and a T-shirt, her hair pulled back in a ponytail, phone cocked between her ear and shoulder. "Oh, my God."
"I know," Scarlett said, and there was a great gurgling noise as water whooshed down her sink. She wasn't crying. "I know."
We sat there on the line for what seemed like the longest time, the buzzing in the background the only sound. I wanted to crawl through the phone right then, popping out on the other side in her kitchen, beside her. Michael Sherwood, a boy we'd grown up with, a boy one of us had loved. Gone.
"Halley?" she said softly, suddenly.
"Can you come home?"
I looked out the window at the dark and the lake beyond, the moon shimmering off of it. It was the end of August, the end of summer. School started in one week; we'd be juniors this year.
"Halley?" she said again, and I knew it was hard for her to even ask. She'd never been the one who needed me.
"Hold on," I said to her in that bright room, the night it all began. "I'm on my way."

Michael Alex Sherwood died at 3:55 P.M. on August thirteenth. He was turning left onto Morrisville Avenue from Shortcrest Drive when a businessman in a BMW hit him dead on, knocking him off the motorcycle he'd only had since June and sending him flying twenty feet. The paper said he died on impact, the bike a total loss. It wasn't his fault. Michael Sherwood was sixteen years old.
He was also the only boy Scarlett had ever truly loved. We'd known him since we were kids, almost as long as we'd known each other. Lakeview, our neighborhood, sprawled across several streets and cul-de-sacs, bracketed only by wooden posts and hand-carved signs, lined in yellow paint: Welcome to Lakeview—A Neighborhood of Friends. One year some high-school students had gone around and crossed out the rs in Friends, leaving us A Neighborhood of Fiends, something my father found absolutely hysterical. It tickled him so much, my mother often wondered aloud if he'd done it himself.
The other distinguishing characteristic of Lakeview was the new airport three miles away, which meant a constant stream of airplanes taking off and landing. My father loved this, too; he spent most evenings out on the back porch, looking up excitedly at the sky as the distant rumblings got louder and louder, closer and closer, until the white nose of a plane would burst out overhead, lights blinking, seeming powerful and loud enough to sweep us all along with ut. It drove our neighbor Mr. Kramer to high blood pressure, but my father reveled in it. To me, it was something normal. I hardly stirred, even when I slept, as the glass in my windows shook with the house.
The first time I saw Scarlett was the day she and her mother, Marion, moved in. I was eleven. I was sitting by my window, watching the movers, when I saw a girl just my age, with red hair and blue tennis shoes. She was sitting on the front steps of her new house, watching them cart furniture in, her elbows propped on her knees, chin in her hands, wearing heart- shaped sunglasses with white plastic frames. And she completely ignored me as I came up her front walk, stood in the thrown shade of the awning, and waited for her to say something. I'd never been good at friendships; I was too quiet, too mousy, and tended to choose bossy, mean girls who pushed me around and sent me home crying to my mother. Lakeview, A Neighborhood of Friends, was full of little fiendettes on pink bicycles with Barbie carrying cases in their white, flower-appliqued baskets. I'd never had a best friend.
So I walked up to this new girl, her sunglasses sending my own reflection back at me: white T-shirt, blue shorts, scuffed Keds with pink socks. And I waited for her to laugh at me or send me away or maybe just ignore me like all the bigger girls did.
"Scarlett?" a woman's voice came from inside the screen door, sounding tired and flustered. "What did I do with my checkbook?"
The girl on the steps turned her head. "On the kitchen counter," she called out in a clear voice. "In the box with the realtor's stuff."
"The box with—" The voice came back, uneven, as if its owner was moving around. "—the realtor's stuff, hmmm, honey I don't think it's here. Oh, wait. Yes. Here it is!" The woman sounded triumphant, as if she'd discovered the Northwest Passage, which we'd just learned about at the end of the school year.
The girl turned back and looked at me, kind of shaking her head. I remember thinking for the first time how she seemed old for her age, older than me. And I got that familiar fiendette pink bicycle feeling.
"Hey," she said to me suddenly, just as I was planning to turn back and head home. "My name's Scarlett."
"I'm Halley," I said, trying to sound as bold as she had. I'd never had a friend with an unusual name; all the girls in my classes were Lisas and Tammys, Carolines and Kimberlys. "I live over there." I pointed across the street, right to my bedroom window.
She nodded, then picked up her purse and scooted down a bit on the step, brushing it off with her hand and leaving just enough space for someone else about the same size. And then she looked at me and smiled, and I crossed that short expanse of summer grass and sat beside her, facing my house. We didn't talk right away, but that was okay; we had a whole lifetime of talking ahead of us. I just sat there with her, staring across the street at my house, my garage, my father pushing the mower past the rosebushes. All the things I'd spent my life learning by heart. But now, I had Scarlett. And from that day on, nothing ever looked the same.

The minute I hung up with Scarlett, I called my mother. She was a therapist, an expert on adolescent behavior. But even with her two books, dozens of seminars, and appearances on local talk shows advising parents on how to handle The Difficult Years, my mother hadn't quite found the solution for dealing with me.
It was 1:15 A.M. when I called.
"Hello?" Strangely, my mother sounded wide awake. It was all part of that professional manner she cultivated: I'm capable. I'm strong. I'm awake.
"Halley? What's wrong?" There was some mumbling in the background, my father rousing himself.
"It's Michael Sherwood, Mom."
"He's dead."
"Who's dead?" More mumbling, this time louder. My father saying Who's dead? Who?
"Michael Sherwood," I said. "My friend."
"Oh, goodness." She sighed, and I heard her telling my father to go back to sleep, her hand cupping the receiver. "Honey, I know, it's horrible. It's awfully late—where are you calling from?"
"The camp office," I said. "I need you to come get me."
"Get you?" She sounded surprised. "You've still got another week, Halley."
"I know, but I want to come home."
"Honey, you're tired, it's late—" and now she was lapsing into her therapist voice, a change I could recognize after all these years— "why don't you call me back tomorrow, when you've had a chance to calm down. You don't want to leave camp early."
"Mom, he's dead," I said again. Each time I said the word Ruth, the camp director who was still standing behind me, put on her soothing face.
"I know, sweetie. It's awful. But coming home isn't going to change that. It will just disrupt your summer, and there's no point—"
"I want to come home," I said, talking over her. "I need to come home. Scarlett called to tell me. She needs me." My throat was swelling up now, hurting with its ache. She didn't understand. She never understood.
"Scarlett has her mother, Halley. She'll be fine. Honey, it's so late. Are you with someone? Is your counselor there?"
I took a deep breath, and all I could see in my mind was Michael, a boy I hardly knew, whose death now seemed to mean everything. I thought of Scarlett in her bright kitchen, waiting for me. This was crucial.
"Please." I whispered over the line, hiding my face from Ruth, not wanting this strange woman to feel any sorrier for me. "Please come get me."
"Halley." She sounded tired now, almost irritated. "Go to sleep and I'll call you tomorrow. We can discuss it then."
"Say you'll come," I said, not wanting her to hang up. "Just say you'll come. He was our friend, Mom."
She was quiet then, and I could picture her sitting in bed next to the sleeping form of my father, probably in her blue nightgown, the light from Scarlett's kitchen visible from the window over her shoulder. "Oh, Halley," she said as if I always caused these kinds of problems, as if my friends died every day. "All right. I'll come."
"You will?"
"I just said I would," she told me, and I knew this would strain us even further, a battle hard-won. "Let me talk to your counselor."
"Okay." I looked over at Ruth, who was close to dozing off. "Mom?"
Silence. I would pay for this one for a while, I could tell. "It's all right. Let me talk to her."
So I handed the phone over to Ruth, then stood outside the door listening as she reassured my mother that it was fine, I'd be packed and ready, and what a shame, how awful, so young. Then I went back to my cabin, creeping onto my cot in the dark, and closed my eyes.
I couldn't sleep for a long time. I thought only of Michael Sherwood's face, the one Scarlett and I had studied in yearbook after yearbook. And later, the one in the picture that was tucked in the mirror in her bedroom, of Scarlett and Michael at the lake just weeks earlier, water glittering behind them. The way her head rested on his shoulder, his hand on her knee. The way he looked at her, and not at the camera, when I pushed the red button, the flash lighting them up in front of me.
My mother didn't look very happy when she pulled up at the front office the next afternoon. It was clear by this point that my experience at Sisterhood Camp had been a complete and utter disaster. Which was just what I'd predicted when I was dragged off against my will to spend the last two weeks of summer in the middle of the mountains with a bunch of other girls who had no say in the matter either. Sisterhood Camp, which was really called Camp Believe (my father coined the nickname) was something my mother had heard about at one of her seminars. She had come home with a brochure she tucked under my breakfast plate one morning, a yellow sticky note on it saying What do you think? My first reaction was Not much, thank you, as I stared down at the picture of two girls about my age running through a field together hand in hand. The basic gist was this: a camp with the usual swimming and horseback riding and lanyard making, but in the afternoons seminars and self-help groups on "Like Mother, Like Me" and "Peer Pressure: Where Do I Fit In?" There was a whole paragraph on self-esteem and values maintenance and other words I recognized only from the blurbs on the back of my mother's own books. All I knew was that at fifteen, with my driver's license less than three months away, I was too old for camp or values maintenance, not to mention lanyards.
"It will be such a valuable experience," she said to me that evening over dinner. "Much more so than sitting around the pool at Scarlett's getting a tan and talking about boys."
"Mom, it's summer," I said. "And anyway it's almost over. School starts in two weeks."
"You'll be back just in time for school," she said, flipping through the brochure again.
"I have a job," I told her, my last-ditch attempt at an excuse. Scarlett and I were both cashiers at Milton's Market, the grocery store at the mall down the street from our neighborhood. "I can't just take two weeks off."
"Mr. Averby says it's slow enough that he can get your shifts covered," she said simply.
"You called Mr. Averby?" I put down my fork. My father, who up until this point had been eating quietly and staying out of it, shot her a look. Even he knew how uncool it was for your mother to call your boss. "God, Mom."
"I just wanted to know if it was possible," she said, more to my father than to me, but he just shook his head mildly and kept eating. "I knew she'd think of every reason not to go."
"Why should I go waste the last two weeks of summer with a bunch of people I don't know?" I said. "Scarlett and I have plans, Mom. We're working extra shifts to make money for the beach, and we—"
"Halley." She was getting irritated now. "Scarlett will be here when you get back. And I don't ask very much of you, right? This is something I really want you to do. For me, and also, I think you'll find, for yourself. It's only for two weeks."
"I don't want to go," I said, looking at my father for some kind of support, but he just smiled at me apologetically and said nothing, helping himself to more bread. He never got involved anymore; his job was to placate, to smooth, once it was all over. My father was always the one who crept to my doorway after I'd been grounded, sneaking me one of his special Brain Freeze Chocolate Milkshakes, which he believed could solve any problem. After the yelling and slamming of doors, after my mother and I stalked to our separate corners, I could always count on hearing the whirring of the blender in the kitchen, and then him appearing at my doorway presenting me with the thickest, coldest milkshake as a peace offering. But all of the milkshakes in the world weren't going to get me out of this.
So, just like that, I lost the rest of my summer. By that Sunday I was packed and riding three hours into the mountains with my mother, who spent the entire ride reminiscing about her own golden camp years and promising me I'd thank her when it was over. She dropped me at the registration desk, kissed me on the forehead and told me she loved me, then drove off waving into the sunset. I stood there with my duffel bag and glowered after her, surrounded by a bunch of other girls who clearly didn't want to spend two weeks "bonding" either.
I was on what they called "scholarship" at Sisterhood Camp, which meant I had my way paid free, just like the four other girls I met whose parents just happened to be therapists. I made friends with my cabinmates, and we complained to each other, mocked all the seminar leaders, and worked on our tans, talking about boys.
But now I was leaving early, drawn home by the loss of a boy I'd hardly known. I put my stuff in the trunk of the car and climbed in beside my mother, who said hello and then not much else for the first fifteen minutes of the drive. As far as I was concerned, we'd come to a draw: I hadn't wanted to come, and she didn't want me to leave. We were even. But I knew my mother wouldn't see it that way. Lately, we didn't seem to see anything the same.
"So how was it?" she asked me once we got on the highway. She'd set the cruise control, adjusted the air- conditioning, and now seemed ready to make peace. "Or what you saw of it, that is."
"It was okay," I said. "The seminars were kind of boring."
"Hmmm," she said, and I figured that I was pushing it. I knew my mother, though. She'd push back. "Well, maybe if you'd stayed the whole time you might have gotten more out of it."
"Maybe," I said. In the side mirror, I could see the mountains retreating behind us, bit by bit.
I knew there were a lot of things she probably wanted to say to me. Maybe she wanted to ask me why I cared about Michael Sherwood, since she'd hardly heard me mention him. Or why I'd hated the idea of camp right from the start, without even giving it a chance. Or maybe it was more, like why in just the last few months even the sight of her coming toward me was enough to get my guard up. Why we'd gone from best friends to something neither of us could rightly define. But she didn't say anything.
She turned to look at me, and I could almost hear her take a breath, readying herself for whatever I might try next. "Yes?"
"Thanks for letting me come home."
She turned back to the road. "It's all right, Halley," she said to me softly as I leaned back in my seat. "It's all right."
My mother and I had always been close. She knew everything about me, from the boys I liked to the girls I envied; after school I always sat in the kitchen eating my snack and doing homework while I listened for her car to pull up. I always had something to tell her. After my first school dance she sat with me eating ice cream out of the carton while I detailed every single thing that had happened from first song to last. One Saturdays, when my dad pulled morning shift at the radio station, we had Girls' Lunch Out so we could keep up with each other. She loved fancy pasta places, and I only liked fast food and pizza, so we alternated. She made me eat snails, and I watched her gulp down (enjoying it more than she would ever admit) countless Big Macs. We had one rule: we always ordered two desserts and shared. Afterwards we'd hit the mall looking for sales, competing to see who could find the best bargain. She usually won.
She wrote articles in journals and magazines about our successful relationship and how we'd weathered my first year of high school together, and spoke at schools and parents' meetings about Staying in Touch with Your Teen. Whenever her friends came over for coffee and complained about their kids running wild or doing drugs, she'd just shake her head when they asked how she and I did so well.
"I don't know," she'd say. "Halley and I are just so close. We talk about everything."
But suddenly, at the beginning of that summer, something changed. I can't say when it started exactly. But it happened after the Grand Canyon.
Each summer, my parents and I took a vacation. It was our big splurge of the year, and we always went someplace cool like Mexico or Europe. This year, we took a cross-country road trip to California and then the Grand Canyon, stopping here and there, sucking up scenery and visiting relatives. My mother and I had a great time; my father did most of the driving, and the two of us hung out, talking and listening to the radio, sharing clothes, making up songs and jokes as state lines and landmarks passed by. My father and I forced her to eat fast food almost every day as a payback for a year's worth of arugula salad and prosciutto tortellini. We spent two weeks together, bickering sometimes but mostly just having fun, me and my parents, on the road.
As soon as I got home, though, three very big things happened. First, I started my job at Milton's. Scarlett and I had spent the end of the school year going around filling out applications, and it was the only place with enough positions to hire us both. By the time I got home from the trip, Scarlett had already been there two weeks, so she taught me the ropes. Second, she introduced me to Ginny Tabor, whom she'd met at the pool while I'd been gone. Ginny was a cheerleader with a wild streak a mile wide and a reputation among the football team for more than her cheers and famous midair splits. She lived a few miles away in the Arbors, a fancy development of Tudor houses with a country club, pool, and golf course. Ginny Tabor's father was a dentist, and her mother weighed about eighty pounds, chain- smoked Benson and Hedges 100's, and had skin that was as leathery as the ottoman in our living room. She threw money at Ginny and left us alone to prowl the streets of the Arbors on our way to the pool, or sneak out across the golf course at night to meet boys.
Which, in turn, led to the third big event that summer, when two weeks after coming home I broke off my dull, one-year romance with Noah Vaughn.
Noah was my first "boyfriend," which meant that we called each other on the phone and kissed sometimes. He was tall and skinny, with thick black hair and a bit of acne. His parents were best friends with mine, and we'd spent Friday night together, at our house or theirs, for most of my lifetime. He'd been all right for a start. But when I was inducted into the new crazy world of Ginny Tabor, he had to go.
He didn't take it well. He sulked around, glowered at me, and still came over every Friday with his little sister and his parents, sitting stony-faced on the couch as I slipped out the door, yelling good-bye. I always said I was going to Scarlett's, but instead we were usually meeting boys at the pool or hanging out with Ginny. My mother was more sad about our breakup than anyone; I think she'd half expected I'd marry him. But this was the New Me, someone I was evolving into with every hot and humid long summer day. I learned to smoke cigarettes, drank my first beer, and double-pierced my ears as I began to drift, almost imperceptibly at first, from my mother.
There's a picture on our mantel that always reminds me of what my mother and I were then. We're at the Grand Canyon, at one of those overlook sites, with it spread out huge and gaping behind us. We have on matching T-shirts, sunglasses, and big smiles as we pose, our arms around each other. We have never, in any picture before or since, looked more alike. We have the same small nose, the same stance, the same goofy smile. We look happy, standing there in the sunshine, the sky spread out blue and forever in the distance. My mother framed that picture when we got home, sticking it front and center on the mantel where you couldn't help but se it. It was like she knew, somehow, that it would be a relic just months later, proof of another time and place neither of us could imagine had existed: my mother and I, best friends, posing at the Grand Canyon.

Scarlett was sitting on her front steps when we pulled up. It was early evening, just getting dark, and all up and down our street, lights were on in the houses, people out walking their dogs or children. Someone a few streets over was barbecuing, the smell mingling in the air with cut grass and recent rain.
I got out of the car and put my bag on the front walk, looking across the street at Scarlett's house, the only light coming from her kitchen and spilling out into the empty carport. She lifted one hand and waved at me from the stoop.
"Mom, I'm going to Scarlett's," I said.
"Fine." I still wasn't totally forgiven for this, not yet. But it was late, she was tired, and these days, we had to pick our battles.
I knew the way across the street and up Scarlett's walk by heart; I could have done it with every sense lost. The dip in the street halfway across, the two prickly bushes on either end of her walk that left tiny scratches on your skin when you brushed against them. It was eighteen steps from the beginning of the walk to the front stoop; we'd measured it when we were in sixth grade and obsessed with facts and details. We'd spent months calculating distances and counting steps, trying to organize the world into manageable bits and pieces.
Now I just walked toward her in the half-darkness, aware only of the sound of my own footfalls and the air conditioner humming softly under the side window.
"Hey," I said, and she scooted over to make room for me. "How's it going?"
It seemed like the stupidest thing to ask once I'd said it, but there really weren't any right words. I looked over at her as she sat beside me, barefoot, her hair pulled away from her face in a loose ponytail. She'd been crying.
I wasn't used to seeing her this way. Scarlett had always been the stronger of us, the livelier, the braver. The girl who punched our Missy Lassiter, the meanest, most fiendish of the pink-bike girls that first summer when she moved in, on a day when they surrounded us and tried to make us cry. The girl who kept a house, and her mother, up and running since she was five, now playing mother to a thirty-five-year-old child. The girl who had kept the world from swallowing me whole, or so I'd always believed.
"Scarlett?" I said, there in the dark, and as she turned to me, I saw her face was streaked with tears. For a minute, I didn't know what to do. I thought again of that picture tucked in her mirror, of her and Michael just weeks ago, the water so bright and shiny behind them. And I thought of what she had done all the millions of times I'd cried to her, collapsing at even the slightest wounding of my heart or pride.
So I reached over and pulled her to me, wrapping my arms around her, and held my best friend close, returning so many favors all at once. We sat there for a long time, Scarlett and me, with her house looming over us and mine right across the street, staring back with its bright windows. It was the end of summer; it was the end of a lot of things. I sat there with her, feeling her shoulders shake under my hands. I had no idea what to do or what came next. All I knew was that she needed me and I was here. And for now, that was about the best we could do.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Dessen has written a powerful, polished story." (SLJ, starred review)

Meet the Author

Sarah Dessen is the author of thirteen novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers The Moon and MoreWhat Happened to GoodbyeAlong for the RideLock and KeyJust ListenThe Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association.
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com.

Brief Biography

Chapel Hill, NC
Date of Birth:
June 6, 1970
Place of Birth:
Evanston, Illinois
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.

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Someone Like You 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1466 reviews.
Truth_about_4ever_3 More than 1 year ago
THis book captured me the second i started reading it! it is so realistic and could happen to people in high school. I definetly could relate to it in some ways and it made me realize some things about myself i didnt know! such a good book i read it about 4 times!
mothman More than 1 year ago
Someone Like You was a very good book. It really explains what high school and just what being a teen is all about. Except, not all teens get pregnant in high school. This book is about two girls who have been best friends ever since they first met. Halley has always been they quiet one, but Scarlett is braver and more outgoing. Scarlett has always been there for Halley whenever she happened to need her and she has always known what to do to make things better. But this time I don't think Scarlett can handle this one on her own. At the beginning of their junior year Scarlett's boyfriend is killed in a motorcycle accident. Later on, after the funeral, Scarlett finds out that she is carrying her boyfriend's baby. For the first time Scarlett really needs Halley's help. Now Halley has to learn how to be strong for Scarlett. It will be hard, but she can't let her friend down now. This book was very well written and is very dramatic at times. You will want to see what happens next. Once you pick it up you really will not want to put it down. I would definitely recommend this book to other people. Sarah Dessen's books are very popular with young adults, but this one is interesting for anyone who reads it!
Jasmine_94 More than 1 year ago
"Someone Like You" was an absolutely fantastic read that greatly portrays the powers of love and friendship. Love between friends, romantic relationships, and family. Halley Cooke and Scarlett Thomas have been best friends every since Scarlett and her mother had moved across the street from Haley's family five years ago. The girls were about to start their junior year of high school. However, a devastating event created a mark of melancholy in the girls' summer vacation when Scarlett's boyfriend, Michael Sherwood, died in a motorcycle accident. Previously, Halley's mother, a therapist, had sent her to a Sisterhood Camp in the Grand Canyon. But when Halley received Scarlett's news, she immediately returned home to comfort her best friend. During the first few weeks of school, more news was gathered when Scarlett found out that she was pregnant with Michael's baby. While Scarlett's world seems to be spinning, Halley deals with conflicts of her own. Her mother does not approve of her new boyfriend Macon. But regardless of her opinion and attempts to keep them apart, Halley still pursues her relationship with Macon. However, soon their relationship hit bumpy roads. The two girls search for comfort in each other as they carry themselves across the bridge from their adolescent years to adulthood. A major theme that this novel definitely falls under is that the power of friendship can pull you through the hardest times of your life, no matter what the obstacles may be. Halley and Scarlett had to face numerous gigantic obstacles which they faced and pulled through together. Another theme is that love is found everywhere and comes in all shapes and sizes and affects people in a variety of ways. Halley's mother's love for Halley drove her into making decisions that she believed were best for her daughter. Scarlett's love for Michael led her to happiness, but also to her pregnancy. Scarlett and Halley's love for each other gave them the strength to carry on in times of despair when it literally seems like nothing is worth the effort of enduring. They gave each other the encouragement and support they both needed. "Someone Like You" consists of a brilliant plot, and well-developed characters. Many readers can easily relate to at least one of the events in these girls' life. The events in this book could easily happen to any teenager. Although the ending seemed to be a slightly scattered and lacked a sense of closure, overall this book was a terrific read and was too captivating to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It takes you on a adventure with Halley a girl a quiet girl who grew up in a normal suburban neighborhood. She had a good relationship with her mom and her best friend Scarlett, a wild girl full of life, Until now everything is fine until things get turned upside down for Halley when Scarletts boyfriend Michael dies in a tragic motorcycle accident and leaves Scarlett with his kid. To top it off Halley finds her self falling in love with Michael's best friend Macon Faulkner, who has a reputation for not following the rules. The fairytale between her and Macon get real and she understands she needs to be tough in situations she feels pressured in. Her fling with Macon weakens her relationship with her mother and helps her face reality. Through it all Scarlett and Halley have each other, there like sisters and no matter what happens Halley is there for Scarlett's pregnancy and Scarlett keeps a strong hold on Halley.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for a book report we had to read it in 1 month and every week we had to read a certain amount of pages and i finshed the book in 1 week and i still had the rest of the month to go...its so good i couldnt stop reading....amazing book about friendship and you have to read it i LOVE this book
siera-franco More than 1 year ago
If your looking for a good book to read really look in to this book. It was the best book like ever!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it! The book had a great conflict, and im only 13.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This was such good book, once u start reading u can put thr book down. I give this book 1000 stars!!!!!
k_tompkins More than 1 year ago
The book, Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen, is about a 16-year-old named Halley and her best friend, Scarlett. After their best friend, also Scarlett's boyfriend, dies, Scarlett finds out she's pregnant with his child. Both young girls, then, have to deal with, not only teenage struggles, but also grief and pregnancy. Halley, the normally stand-off-ish one, now has to step up and be Scarlett's number one. She learns to be a stronger person, more about pregnancy than any teenager ever should, about love, and also about letting go, in more ways than one. I would highly recommend this book to any teenage girl. Actually, i would recommend this book to ALL teenage girls. Its filled with love, heartbreak, grief, adventure, and so much more. Its an easy read, but you'll never get bored! I think any girl can relate to SOMETHING in this book. Trust me, you wont regret it! :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
 It takes you on a adventure with Halley a girl a quiet girl who grew up in a normal suburban neighborhood. She had a good relationship with her mom and her best friend Scarlett, a wild girl full of life, Until now everything is fine until things get turned upside down for Halley when Scarletts boyfriend Michael dies in a tragic motorcycle accident and leaves Scarlett with his kid. To top it off Halley finds her self falling in love with Michael's best friend Macon Faulkner, who has a reputation for not following the rules. The fairy tale between her and Macon get real and she understands she needs to be tough in situations she feels pressured in. Her fling with Macon weakens her relationship with her mother and helps her face reality. Through it all, Scarlett and Halley have each other, there like sisters and no matter what happens Halley is there for Scarletts pregnancy and Scarlett keeps a strong hold on Halley.  I recommend this book to anyone because it is a very interesting, sweet, funny page-turner. It is a wonderful book.      
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone Like You by Sarah Dessen is a well told story about a long lasting friendship between two young women. Scarlett and Halley have been best friends for as long as they can remember. There is friendship that everyone wishes they could have. This novel starts out with Scarlett demanding Halley to come home from summer camp because Scarlett's boyfriend had died in a motorcycle accident. Not long after his death, Scarlett finds out she is carrying Micheal's (Scarlett's boyfriend who died) child. This narrative follows Scarlett's pregnancy and Halley's relationship with Macon Faulkner. Halley has been a good girl he entire life, but her relationship with Macon Faulkner has led her to different experiences that are leading her parents to question her responsibility. This book is told from Halley's point of view, the reader faces all the drama high school life is known for. Boy's, school, teachers and friends seem to be the most important thing in their lives. Readers see the vigorous friendship between Scarlett and Halley while goes through many life changes. The touching scenes between Scarlett and Halley show how they deal with real life teenage problems.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone like you is such a sweet story. It's very dramatic at times especially the ending. This book shows you how far a true friendship can really go. At times I wanted to cry. At others I couldn't help, but laugh. I just couldn't put the book down. I read it in two days. I would have gave the book five stars, but there was too much underage drinking and itinmite relationships for my likeing.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book! Absolutely adore it! This is one of my favorite books i have read so far, at first i just picked it out because the summary sounded good, but after i read it, i'm actually wishing she wrote a sequel! This book is so good i never wanted to put it down, i read this book every chance i got and finished it in less than a week!I would recommend this book to any teenagers that enjoys drama and fiction novels, also something with a scenerio they can relate to! Im seriously in love with this book,I'm going to read it again next year an the year after that, it's just that good. (normally i don't read book over because i already remember the problem and solution) To wrap it up, i loved this book and HIGHLY recommend it to teenagers!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Im only 14. And i love this book. Including the Main characters. This book is a great book for a group of friends to read, either together or day by day. I'd definatly reread this book, over and over. It's not really a book for finding your true self, but this book is adicting. i read it in one night, all nite. If you get really emotional about families or breakups, there is alot of that in this book. It's a type of book that will have you on your edge of your seat. The writing is amazing. And all i have to Say is that i absolutly love this book. and highly recommends it. Thanks for Reading
ZoeyGirl More than 1 year ago
Just another teen romance, kissy kissy, cry-your-heart-out, oh the horror, blah blah blah. BUT YOU'RE WRONG!!This is a wonderful book about friends and learning to be strong for them. I LOVE THIS BOOK!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Scarlett and Halley have been best friends forever. Scarlett always the more outgoing one while Halley is quiet and ¿innocent¿. They have always helped each other get through the hard times, but will Halley be able to help Scarlett this time. Scarlett's summer boyfriend died in a tragic motorcycle accident then Scarlett finds out she, at age 16, is carrying his baby. Through this thrilling Sarah Dessen book, you will see Scarlett and Halley's journey through motherhood. During the book, Halley finds the man of her dreams named Macon. He loves her, well at least she thinks he does, he treats her right, and he will do anything for her. Her parents think he is a bad influence on her by the way he acts and how he drives. She fell all over him until Macon tried to do the wrong things to her. It was the last straw when Macon left Halley in the hospital after an awful car accident. In the end, will Scarlett follow her gut and have the baby, or will she regret it? Will Halley ever find the spark that was in Macon? Will Halley's parents trust her again? Someone like you is a book you never want to put down. There is always something happening that will keep you sitting on the edge of your seat. I would recommend this book to all teen-young adult girls looking for an amazing book. I rate this book 5 stars without a doubt!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was the best book I ever read! Sarah Dessen is a wonderful author for young adults. I had to read this book for a report in school and I didn't want to put it down. I just kept reading it and reading it. It was so sweet and entertaining.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I started reading this book and I did not know if it was going to be good and then I started to read it and I could not put this book down I think that is the best book that I have ever read and everyone should read this book!!!!!! I read this book a week ago and I am still thinking about this book.it is the best book that I have ever read and u need to read this book!!!!! u will not be disappointed at all!!!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Omg im like at the part where Macom wants to sleep with her and all i can think is nooooooooo cus Elizibeth already warned her that he uses girl and as soon as they have sex he gonna be like bye bye birdie omg i hate him right now
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book almost made me cry when Halley finds out that Scarlett might lose the baby Other than that a great book to read about friendship :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
My nam is halkey too!!! Im being 100% legit right now.. --HalleyReneeHoran
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Sarah dessen is my absolute FAVORITE ATHOUR. I love all her books. So i give 5 stars to them all. Read them. They have romance plus they teach you a life lesson. Im not kidding. Teachers love kids reading these books.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Before I begin talking about the book in general, I will have to say that there is no doubt that it was one of my favorite books. I really enjoyed reading this book by Sarah Dessen and I am going to read many more by her in the future. All of the little details during each event made the story so much better, and more descriptive. I was able to get a clear image in my head of the scenery, the characters, and their actions. I enjoy reading books that I am able to play a movie out in my head while I read the book. I cannot usually make out a very clear image in my head of the story, but with this book it was simple because of the detailed descriptions. There is a great deal of emotions that flow throughout the book. The characters have their ups and their downs, and Sarah Dessen does a fantastic job at creating the book for teenagers and how they would live their life. All people are emotional and go through hard times in their lives, and this is a great example of one of these times. Scarlett, the main character’s best friend, is pregnant, the father of the baby died in a motorcycle accident, and he will never know. Scarlett is left to choose, all alone, what she will do with the baby. Abortion, put the baby up for adoption, or keep the baby herself. Throughout the book, Scarlett thinks and thinks about what to do, is she capable of keeping the baby herself? If she keeps the baby, will she be too busy all of the time to do other things? All that Scarlett has to help her with the pregnancy is her best friend, Halley. Halley and Scarlett are like two peas in a pod, they cannot be separated no matter what happens. But will Scarlett's emotions get the best of her and push Halley’s stress to the limits? I believe that Sarah Dessen writes her books for mainly teen audiences, they tell a great stories that are very realistic. This book is one example of how the events that Sarah Dessen writes about are possible and happen every day in the life of a teenager. The drama and the boys is a teenage girl's’ life, and not much else. Dessen really acknowledges these ideas and puts them into her stories in a very interesting way. The author’s tone is perfect for teenagers and what most of them enjoy reading. This book had a great hook right away, and it made me want to keep reading right until the end. It helped that even when there was a not so interesting section of the book, Scarlett’s pregnancy was still in the back of your mind. What will happen with Scarlett and her baby? Boy or girl? These questions wander through your mind when reading this book, and they aren’t answered until the very end, there is always something to look forward to as you read the book. I really enjoyed reading Sarah Dessen’s writing and I recommend reading some of her books in the future.
SpartanReading More than 1 year ago
I gave this book three stars because it talked about issues that occur in high school which i can relate to because I'll be in high school next year. I didn't like the way it ended because I predicted a very different ending. The middle of the book was the most interesting because it described Halley's relationship with Macon as it was just beginning. This book was about two best friends who had to help each other with issues they both had. Scarlett was really in love with her boyfriend Michael Sherwood, but the day after they had sex for the first time, he died in a motorcycle accident. Halley thought she was in love with her boyfriend Macon Faulkner, but things changed drastically towards the end of the book. He wasn't the kind of boy she thought he was. Halley at first had a very good relationship with her mother, but then things started changing when she started dated Macon. She tried to keep Macon a secret from her mother, by saying "I'm going to Scarlett's house now" when she really was hanging out with Macon. I would recommend this book to teenagers who are at least 13 years old (no younger) because it talks about things some younger kids wouldn't understand and are not mature enough to read. For example it deals with issues like sex, drugs and drinking. It's just like you wouldn't let your younger kids watch shows like "Sex in The City." A high school kid would like it because it deals with strong relationships. It talks about Scarlett's relationship with her mother in contrast with Halley's relationship with her mother. Also, Halley's relationship with Macon was interesting because it changed over time. Halley had to make some tough decisions about her relationship with Macon.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Someone Like You is, in my opinion, the best Sarah Dessen book I ever read. And that's saying something, because I've read them all! It's so good, that as soon as I picked it up, it sucked me right in, and I didn't want to put it down. So I didn't. At least not until I had read it all. I literally read this book in one sitting. I didn't move to do anything while I was reading. It was so engrossing! Someone Like You is very relatable. Probably because it happens to so many people! From a technical standpoint- it was well written. All the characters were well-developed and by the end of the book, you feel like you really know them. I thought about this book for days after I finished reading it- it was so good! I highly reccomend this book to any female reader in the age range of pree-teen to young adult. There is some adult content, so I would not reccomend that younger children read this book. :)