It’s summer and Ducky’s spending his time working at Sunny’s dad’s bookstore and hanging out with Sunny. They’re getting along well, but Ducky starts to think Sunny’s acting weird/different. He can’t figure it out, but then Brandan (Amalia’s boyfriend) asks him if they’re dating. Ducky laughs it off, but then realizes that maybe that explains these looks Sunny has been giving him. Sunny asks Ducky to go to the movies, and says they shouldn’t invite anyone else. At the end of the evening, Sunny kisses him, and Ducky completely freezes. Sunny goes home and Ducky freaks out for the rest of the book.
It turns out that it was Ducky’s first kiss, and while he really likes Sunny as a friend, he just wasn’t into kissing her. Sunny tries to act like it was no big deal, but Ducky can tell she’s hurt and things get a little weird between them. Ducky tries talking to his brother and then Brandan about the situation and they’re both like, “if you aren’t attracted to her don’t force it,” but Ducky still feels really guilty about it. He talks to Dawn too, who says it’s too bad, but that she thinks Sunny will get over it and they’ll be friends again.
Eventually Ducky does talk to Sunny and she tells him she wishes she could unkiss him because she hates how he looks scared every time he looks at her now. Ducky says he was just worried about hurting her feelings and he thinks they’re meant to be best friends. And it looks like Sunny’s okay with that and they’re on track to get back to how things were.
Meanwhile Maggie has been having a rough time because of her mom’s drinking. Her dad’s out of town for work, and one night Maggie calls Ducky late and asks him to come pick her up. So, Ducky does and when he gets there he hears Mrs. Blume screaming and smashing things inside, and so he takes Maggie and her little brother back to his place. The next day Maggie calls her dad and insists he come deal with things. He actually does, and arranges an intervention for Mrs. Blume, which ends with her going to rehab. Now her mother’s issues are one thing I don’t blame Maggie for complaining about, so I guess it’s nice that progress was made. But I’m sure Maggie will find something new to complain about that’s annoying.
The book ends with Ducky having an end of summer party at his place with the girls and Brandan and they all seem really happy. So, I guess that’s a nice way to end the series.
- Ducky says how it’s weird that he’s a 16-year-old boy who likes shopping. He mentions how he didn’t intend to go shopping, just hang out at the mall, but Sunny dragged him into stores. But isn’t hanging out at the mall basically shopping anyway?
- Ducky thinks there’s no right way to answer the question, “Do I look fat?” I’m pretty sure there’s always a right way to answer that. “No.” Always say, “No, you don’t look fat.” I’m sure women ask plenty of questions with no good answer, but asking about fatness isn’t one of them.
- Brandan and Ducky seem to be developing a friendship, which is nice because Ducky was previously upset about losing his childhood male friends, one who turned into a douche and one who tried to kill himself (and who’s still off in whatever hospital he went to in Ducky’s last book).
- When having lunch with Brandan, Ducky thinks they should be talking about sports (because that’s what guys do), so he asks about the WNBA. It makes me wonder if he knew he was asking about a womens’ league because it seems like a weird thing to talk about when trying to be manly. But luckily Brandan’s not into sports either.
- Sunny apparently dreams of finding a retro bowling shirt with her name on it. That’s a sad dream. I guess it must be annoying to have a rare name and never be able to find stuff like that, but as someone with a very common name, it’s also annoying to always need to include your last name as an identifier.
- Sunny does find a retro gym shirt, but the name on it says “Elaine.” She wears it anyway. I’m not sure what a “gym shirt” is but I’m guessing it’s ugly.
- Ducky wonders if his brother Ted went to school to be an obnoxious big brother. I’m pretty sure that obnoxiousness is just an ingrained trait of being an older brother. Ted’s a lot nicer than my brother ever was.
- Maggie and her brother Zeke don’t understand why their father’s always away and think they should matter more than his movies. But I have to say, I never got the sense that Mr. Blume was an absentee father, more that he always wanted his kids to do exactly what he wanted.
- But speaking of actual absentee parents, Ducky’s parents are still off somewhere for work and haven’t been around for months. They still call a lot, and once mention that they’re thinking of a cooking class vacation. Now, I don’t mean to judge, but if I had a job that kept me away from my family for 11 months of the year, I might use my vacation to see my kids. I mean, I don’t have kids so I can’t be sure, but I like to think I’d be a decent person like that.
- Ducky and Brandan’s friendship means we get a bit of an update on the Amalia/Brandan relationship. Amalia has been distant since Brandan got back from camp, and he’s worried about it. It turns out to be because she thinks he’s too good for her, and Ducky helps her see that isn’t the case, and things seem to get better for them.
- I really wish this wasn’t the last book, because I’d really like to hear Sunny’s side of the story about her kiss with Ducky.
- There’s surprisingly little Dawn in this book, considering it’s the last one and she was the person who started the spinoff. At the beginning she’s back in Stoneybrook, but she returns pretty early in the story. There’s only one really decent scene with her and that’s when she’s talking to Ducky about Sunny. But I’d like to have heard more of her perspective on things too.