Remember This, by S.T. Underdahl (Flux, 2008, 275pp), begins with two girls, Lucy and Sukie, best friends for ages, practicing for the upcoming cheerleading tryouts. But despite this, I kept going (sorry everyone who actually likes books about cheerleading. They just aren't my thing). And, happily for me, the book was about much more. Unhappily for Lucy, she takes a hard fall on her tailbone during tryouts, and has to smile bravely as Sukie makes the team. Now her best friend is moving off into another social world, leaving Lucy facing a summer working evenings at a local Mexican restaurant and not much else.
But Lucy's summer becomes more complicated, when her beloved grandmother begins showing signs of dementia. Nana Lucy, who had always signed her letters to her granddaughter the same way--"remember this: I love you"-- has Alzheimer's. Now Lucy's life becomes focused on keeping her grandmother safe, while watching her slip away.
And things are complicated by the new dishwasher (very cute) at the restaurant. A text conversation two years ago made him Sukie's sworn enemy, but to Lucy (cue romantic music) he is becoming much more, throwing her friendship with Sukie into even greater jeopardy.
Very real (with the possible exception of the new dishwasher being a very cute, sensitive, smart teenage guy ready to fall in love; this never happened to me in high school), very absorbing, very moving. Nana Lucy never becomes less than a real person, with worth and dignity, and her namesake Lucy is likewise lovable.
An added bonus feature is an interview with S.T. Underdahl at the end of the book. During the weekdays, she's a neuropsychologist, specializing in dementia. During her lunch breaks, she writes (I have heard good things about her previous ya novel, The Other Sister, and, based on the quality of her writing her, I'm actively inspired to look for it).
For an interesting look at the World of Book Covers, here's an entry from the author's blog talking about the cover of this book.
And here's another review, at Reader's Rants.