The title refers to the enduring classic one-hit wonder song written for Remy Starr by her father who wrote the song the day she was born and left shortly thereafter. Remy doesn't share this information with many people. The song is a guilty secret she hides. Although she claims to dislike it, she finds it calming to spend time quietly listening to it when she is alone.
Remy's mom is a romance author, with a lot of ex-husbands, and a current fiancee. She believes completely in love and is convinced, each time, that this one will last forever. Remy does not share her mom's beliefs. In fact, as her mother's caretaker, wedding planner she has reason to want to be different from her mother. She's been witness to the changes her mom makes in her attitude and behavior as she falls in love. As well as the fall out when it all goes south. Now, she has her mom's wedding to husband number five, Don, the car dealer, to plan and then she'll be ready to leave for Stanford, which is quite a distance from her South Carolina home.
Remy has rules about boys. She doesn't let them get too close. She has regrets about the reputation she earned with the boys and she's proud of the fact that she's cleaned up her act. Now, they don't get much and what they do get, they don't get for long. Each relationship is finite. She looks for the signs and they dictate how close she is to the break up speech. Then she meets Dexter. He is not the kind of guy she goes for, and yet.
Remy has made her life incredibly narrow and structured. Things fit where they are meant to, no room for surprises or deviations. But, somehow in these days leading up to her great escape and the new life she plans to make for herself, things start going very much not according to plan. Dexter is Don's nephew and he's living a simple and quasi-nomadic life with his dog, Monkey, and his bandmates, hoping to get his music heard.
I liked Remy, although I think I liked Dexter much more. Remy micromanages everything and life doesn't always allow for that. The real test of a person's character and strength is how they handle things when everything goes wonky. Remy learns just how much she has to learn and just how much character she has. She's a great character, hamstrung by her own neuroses. It makes her easy to relate to, and at the same time. At the same time, you just know that she can't go on being so highly strung without snapping.
Dessen writes great characters. Her protagonists are complicated and damaged (in widely varying amounts) and they take their lives head-on, whether they want to or not. I love some good girl power and Dessen gives it to us in spades.