Dedication, by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

dedicationI know authors hate it when readers say this (I would too, had I written a fabulously successful first novel), but there’s no getting around the fact that anything Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus write (together or separately) is going to be compared to The Nanny Diaries.  And no, I didn’t find Dedication as good — as fresh, as original, or as thought-provoking and funny — as The Nanny Diaries.

Leaving the comparison aside, it’s a good, light piece of fiction — a good vacation or airplane read, which was where I read it.  It’s about a thirty-year-old woman, Kate, who is still kind of stuck on Jake, her first love who dumped her when she was 17.  The reason she can’t get over Jake is that he disappeared from their home town, leaving Kate and all his friends in the lurch, and went on to become a superstar in the music world — writing a series of songs all inspired by his first love.  So even though Kate hasn’t heard from Jake in thirteen years, she can’t turn on the radio without being reminded of him.

For years she’s cherished a fantasy of meeting up with him, finally confronting him, and getting closure on their relationship.  When her high school best friend calls to tell Kate that Jake, along with his superstar fiancee and his entire entourage, is back in their hometown for Christmas, Kate finally gets to live out that fantasy.  The results are fun and satisfying to read, but what I enjoyed most were the flashback scenes that told the story of Kate and Jake’s teenage relationship — the authors got the intense, claustrophic nature of junior-high and high-school friendship and romance exactly right.

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