What if your first love left town, without a word to anyone, days before graduation? What if, within months, he became one of the biggest recording stars on the planet, and every song he's famous for is about you? What if, after thirteen years of getting on with your life - walking past his face on newsstands, flipping past his image on TV, tuning him out on the radio - you get the call that he has finally landed back in your hometown for an MTV special two days before Christmas? What if you finally had the chance to confront him? What would you do? This is the dilemma faced by Kate Hollis, a woman on the threshold of her 30th birthday who discovers that the only way to become a well-adjusted, fully-fledged adult is to revisit 17.
The team behind The Nanny Diaries and Citizen Girl returns with another breezy chick lit portrayal of a woman wronged and, eventually, empowered. When Kate Hollis's childhood chum Laura calls from their Vermont hometown and announces the arrival of Jake Sharpe, a mega rock star and Kate's high school sweetheart, Kate jumps on a plane from Charleston, S.C. (where she's a sustainable development consultant) and makes for idyllic Croton Falls. Through it's been 13 years, Kate still has a primal need to confront not only the boy who abandoned her before the senior prom, but the musical pirate who used her personal life as fodder for his most celebrated songs and cheated his high school bandmates out of deserved recognition and royalties. Chapters switch back and forth between the present and the pivotal middle and high school years where Kate (then Katie) and Jake did the first-love thing: readers get to see Jake's growing he's-just-not-that-into-you-ness and how (surprise!) their Zima-fueled love (it was the '90s) was idealized. While one spends much of the book wanting to shout at Kate to give it up, go back to Charleston and get on with it, McLaughlin and Kraus do get the nagging need for closure in even the shallowest relationships comically right.