Sadie has been in love with her best friend Garrett for two years. She’s pined for him since they first met, and he has remained blissfully oblivious to her affection. Her unrequited love has reached new heights when Garrett leaves for the summer to go on a literary retreat–and then calls her to tell her he’s fallen in love. Figuring that’s the final straw, Sadie sets out to create a 12-step program to help her get over him, and enlists the help of her new friends at the coffee shop where she’s gotten a job.
Abby McDonald’s crafted an entertaining anti-romance with this novel, and it’s sure to appeal to readers looking for smart, funny heroines. This novel about unrequited love and how to move on offers an inside look into how hard it can be to let someone go while still keeping a light tone and a sense of humor throughout. While it’s certainly predictable, the novel offers a fresher take on a sometimes tired topic.
Sadie is a remarkably well-drawn protagonist. Her candid first person narrative provides plenty of insight into what makes her tick as well as providing plenty of laughs for both her and the reader. Sharp insight into her own ridiculousness helps lessen some of the shenanigans she engages in, including a scene where she ends up spread-eagle on the floor during a mad rush at work in order to take a phone call from Garrett. Sadie’s character is easy to relate to but never seems too much like an everygirl.
Much of the supporting cast is colorful and well-drawn, too. The girls Sadie befriends at the coffee shop add dimension and humor to the story. Sadie’s evolution as a character is marked by her taking chances on making new friends and discovering that the world doesn’t revolve around Garrett (much as he might like it to). There’s some nice stuff done here with regard to female friendships, which was a pleasant surprise.
This reviewer couldn’t help but wish that Garrett had been a little more authentic. Near the end of the book especially, McDonald goes to great lengths to make Garrett seem like a total jerk, and it felt a little forced. There were plenty of smaller moments throughout the book to get the point across, and the culminating event feels a little like overkill. Despite all this, it’s an incredibly enjoyable read.
Recommended to fans of contemporary YA featuring plucky heroines.
Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald. Candlewick: 2012. Library copy.