I just finished reading my very first Nicholas Sparks book, The Last Song.
Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wrightsville Beach, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church. The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.
I'll admit, it was a slow start. Even though I hadn't seen the movie, I felt like I knew what was going to happen. It didn't help that I've seen The Notebook 874 times, because I just sort of... anticipated what was to come. Also, I didn't like having Miley Cyrus' image in my head from the trailers. But I kept reading, and by the end, was left in tears, as you're apparently supposed to be with a Nicholas Sparks novel.
Yeah, you know what's going to happen - it's the same old story of boy meets girl, girl doesn't like boy, boy tries to win her over, boy succeeds, boy screws up, etc, etc, etc, but Nicholas throws you a little curve ball at the end that's really moving.
Bottom line: if you've got some time to kill at the beach or lake this Memorial Day, give it a read and bring some tissues.