Auden is the daughter of two (now divorced) academics: a mother who is a successful English literature professor and ardent feminsit and a father who is also an English professor but who once had a very successful novel years ago and is now trying to write another. Auden decides to spend the summer after her senior year with her father, her step-mother, and their new baby at their beach-front home. While there, she ends up liking her step-mother a lot more than she expected to (she isn't as dumb and ditzy as her mother would like to believe), and she realizes how selfish and self-absorbed her father is. Auden also realizes how much of a childhood she's missed out on by growing up with parents who expected her to act maturely. She makes friends with the girls at her job and likes a guy who works at the bike shop nearby. He's struggling with his own issues, of course. I won't tell you how it ends, but you can probably guess since it's a classic Sarah Dessen novel.
I'm a Sarah Dessen fan. Just Listen is my favorite SD novel and one of my all-time favorites. This didn't quite reach that status (I don't know if anyone will ever equal Mallory or Owen for me), but I did like it better than Lock & Key. One of the things Dessen usually does that I like is to give the male character a very concrete interest (ex. music, bikes) and use that to develop characterization and create metaphors for life lessons. The female main characters don't tend to have that as much, though. I wish they did. I guess the books focus on the internal development of the female leads, so maybe that explains why they seem to be the ones with the "issues" while the guys tend/seem to have things figured out more by the time they meet the girl. Lock & Key was a little different in this regard, but the other books seem to follow this pattern. I mean, don't get me wrong; I always like reading the books, but it just seems very familiar. Of course, there are a lot worse things in life and in reading than knowing what you're going to get and knowing you like it.