The Boys of Dessen: Dave Wade

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Since I haven’t done an actual review for What Happened to Goodbye (and at this rate, I’ll probably never get to it), I wanted to at least showcase the boy. :) Jeans, faded flannel or plaid shirts, beat-up Adidas, dark wavy hair that he keeps tucked away under a knit cap, and bright blue eyes…ladies and gentlemen, that’s our Dave Wade. Dave seems to have a lot of the better traits of other Dessen boys all mixed into him. He’s smart. I mean, like, total genius, as were Jason (The Truth About Forever) and Gervais (Lock and Key), who we actually see and/or hear about in this book. His humor is engaging, like Dexter (This Lullaby), but Dave’s is a more dry, deadpan kind. He’s really nice and welcoming to everyone from the start, like Nate (Lock and Key), but even being so, he’s still a little bit on the sweet-but-awkward side, like Norman (Keeping the Moon). He has the same amazing listening and understanding qualities as Wes (The Truth About Forever), Eli (Along for the Ride) and Owen (Just Listen). Yet, even with all these similarities, he still stands out as his own person. He’s still different from the rest. Still a great guy. How does Sarah Dessen do this?!

There isn’t much mystery to Dave’s story. He’s pretty upfront about his life. The reason for this is that he hasn’t really led a very exciting life. In fact, it’s been very…vanilla. He went to a school for gifted kids, during the summers went to Brain Camp, spent his free time with his parents (geniuses themselves; both are scientists). He had but one friend! Sad face. So he wakes up one day, and as fate would have it, decides it’s time for a change when he sees a “Help Wanted” sign and applies for work at local smoothie shop. He also then decides to transfer to public school, where he knows just his one friend. And by the time our protagonist, Mclean, comes into his life, he’s been arrested for underage drinking…but just the one time, he’s not a delinquent or anything. He’s still paying for that mistake when we meet him.

Although he may not be as swoon worthy as other Dessen boys, Dave Wade is not to be out done. He creates one of the most romantic gestures for Mclean. I thought it was up to par with Wes and Macy’s big moment in the end of The Truth About Forever. Loved the little people, but “Stay”?! That was swoon-worthy!! There’s no way I could not spotlight him. Another Dessen boy steals my heart. :)

Some favorite Dave snippets (spoiler free!):

“What is that they’re playing down there?”

“Cuban jazz,” I told him. “My dad swears it makes people enjoy the food more.”

“That is so weird,” he replied. “Because I hate jazz. But I’m suddenly starving.”


“Want to know what I think?” Dave called out from behind me.


“I think,” he continued, ignoring this, “that you’re scared.”

I just looked at him. “Scared.”

“Of my game,” he explained. “My skills. My—”

I walked closer to him, then reached out, easily knocking the ball from his hands. It hit the driveway, then rolled onto the grass.

“Well, see, I wasn’t in defensive mode just then.”


“Pretend to be a delinquent?” I said, clarifying.

“You can do it,” Dave advised me. “Just don’t smile, and try to look like you’re considering stealing something.”


“What was this fight supposedly about?” […]

“Apparently, it was a jealous rage spurred by seeing us together at the game.”

“Ah,” he said, nodding. “Right. The jealous rage thing.” He carefully raised a hand, touching my cheek. In my peripheral vision, I saw Deb’s eyes widen. “What really happened?”

“My locker door attacked me.”

“They’ll do that.” He dropped his hand, then smiled. “You need some ice or something?”

“Already got it at the nurse’s office,” I told him. “But thanks.”

“It’s the least I can do,” he said. “Since I was the cause and everything.”

I smiled. “You joke, but the rest of the school totally believes it. Just look around us.”

Dave turned, scanning the courtyard. Since he’d joined us, we had even more of an audience. “Whoa,” he said, looking back at me. “You’re not kidding.”

“People can’t resist a love triangle,” Deb said.

“Is that what this is?” Dave asked. He was talking to her, but looking right at me, and I felt my face flush.

“No,” I said.

He shrugged. “Too bad. I’ve always wanted to be part of one of those.”

I love guys with this kind of sense of humor. Oh! Side note…I totally crushed on Mclean’s dad, Gus!! Am I alone here?! LOL

And here’s a quote from this book that will always stay with me:

“Home wasn’t a set house, or a single town on a map. It was wherever the people who loved you were, whenever you were together. Not a place, but a moment, and then another, building on each other like bricks to create a solid shelter that you take with you for your entire life, wherever you may go.”


Jess @ Gone with the Words

21 Responses to “The Boys of Dessen: Dave Wade”

  1. Avatar

    Ginger @ GReads!

    Obviously I have been wanting to read this book.  I told myself to wait until tomorrow night’s event to purchase it.  But now after reading this post I DON’T KNOW IF I CAN WAIT!!! aahhh you made this story sound even better.  I seriously can’t wait :-)

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    Awesome post! Dave is totally my ideal fictional boyfriend. *sigh* And I loved Gus, too!! I’m glad it wasn’t just me! : ) This book was awesome, although I love Sarah Dessen so I think that about all her books. And you’re right about Dave being a mash-up of all the best traits and yet somehow his own person. I loved him. : )

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    I have this book, but I still haven’t cracked the spine. I absolutely love Sarah’s books and her incredible writing and I can’t believe I’ve put off reading it for so long! Thanks for posting this! I’ll go read it now.

  4. Avatar

    Jacinda @ Reading Housewives

    Can I just crown you “The Sarah Dessen Boy Expert?” Maybe I can make you a button for it! haha! I still haven’t read this book, I know horrible. Love the love triangle quote! :)

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    Kate Lynn Ellison

    I can’t wait to read it :) but omg!It doesnt take place in the summer does it??

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    I love this!!! Thanks for sending me the twitter link. I cannot wait to devour all of these books, and I’m keeping this page favorited so I can come back and re read it after I have gotten to know all these boys! :)

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