Title: The Life of Glass
Author: Jillian Cantor
From GoodReads, "Before he died, Melissa’s father told her about stars. He told her that the brightest stars weren’t always the most beautiful—that if people took the time to look at the smaller stars, if they looked with a telescope at the true essence of the star, they would find real beauty. But even though Melissa knows that beauty isn’t only skin deep, the people around her don’t seem to feel that way. There’s her gorgeous sister Ashley who will barely acknowledge Melissa at school, there's her best friend Ryan, who may be falling in love with the sophisticated Courtney, and there’s Melissa’s mother who’s dating someone new, someone who Melissa knows will never be able to replace her father.
To make sure she doesn’t lose her father completely, Melissa spends her time trying to piece together the last of his secrets and completing a journal her father began—one about love and relationships and the remarkable ways people find one another. But when tragedy strikes, Melissa has to start living and loving in the present, as she realizes that being beautiful on the outside doesn't mean you can't be beautiful on the inside."
I have to admit that this book reminded me a little bit too much of my own life to a certain degree. As I began reading, it was eerily familiar and I felt a certain deja vu until I got past the first several chapters. Let me explain... in high school, my father was diagnosed with a brain tumor that eventually led to his death after hospice in his early forties (which is similar to the main character's issues). Another similarity that the main character and I share is our first name, Melissa. As I started reading, the book transported me back to my earlier experiences. Thankfully, those two similarities are the only ones we shared. If the book had had anything else in common with me, I might have written the author and asked her where she got her inspiration.
To say that I liked this book would be an understatement. I thought the book was amazing. I loved how the author, Jillian Cantor, voiced the main character, Melissa, and found her to be a honestly, refreshing high-school female character. It was easy to feel what she was feeling. I found Cantor's writing to be impeccable and reminiscent of why I fell in love with Sarah Dessen's writing in the beginning. The way Cantor describes Melissa's emotions make it easy to identify with her problems and dilemmas. It is unbelievable to think that this is only her second book. From the first written words on the page to the very last period, she made me a part of her story and it reminded me of why I love reading in the first place... that you get a chance to live somebody else's life for a while.