Protagonist Sadie has been in love with Garrett Delaney for years. Everything she does is done in an effort to get his attention. She’ll do everything for him—comfort him over his latest breakup, read his pretentious books, make fun of her former friends. Literally, I have never encountered a more pathetic female character than Sadie. Her entire life was defined by Garrett and her hopes that he would notice her, even though the kid is obviously not interested. She’s also the sort of girl who thinks Romeo and Edward Cullen are the Ultimate Last Word in romantic partners. So…yeah.
Now, to be fair, Getting Over Garrett Delaney is exactly what the title suggests: the story of Sadie’s progress toward being less a lovesick bimbo and more her own person. I whole-heartedly applaud Abby McDonald’s message in this book, and I had fun with some of Sadie’s embarrassing mishaps. However, the fact remains that for the entire book (discounting the final chapter), Sadie is hopelessly besotted with the complete asshole who his Garrett Delaney. She constantly claims she’s “not the kind of girl who gives everything up for a guy” when in fact, she is. A few hundred pages of Sadie’s state of denial were frustrating, to say the least.
I don’t know. I appreciate that Sadie eventually wises up to her silliness in the end, but that doesn’t mean I have to like the fact that her intervention was necessary in the first place. Maybe some girls who’ve experienced long-term unrequited crushes might be better able to sympathize with this character. But for me Sadie was not a strong female character at all, and—discounting the final chapter—she seemed to have trouble wrapping her head around the fact that she was completely dependent on Garrett in the most unhealthy way possible. It’s hard to really like a girl who behaves like that, you know?
But at the same time, I somehow managed to enjoy this book to a certain degree. I think that this has a very cute and snappy vibe to it. The story is a tad far-fetched, but it’s fun. Sadie’s partners in her summer project are zany and out-there, but they definitely want what’s best for her. The dialogue was sweet and the overall takeaway is positive, in spite of how dubious I am of the path to that conclusion.
In conclusion, I think Getting Over Garrett Delaney is the kind of book that you can’t take too seriously, but is still mostly enjoyable. I really didn’t like the main character, but I thought the storyline was good, and the book itself is fairly engaging. The good aspects of the text outweighed the bad, though I would be pretty hesitant to recommend this to most teenage girls (myself included). The overall presentation could have been fine-tuned a bit more, but I think the novel is good as is.