It feels wrong to give this an average rating, because it is anything but an average book. However, the rating indicates mostly how well I liked it, and to be honest, at times I didn't like it much (although at other times I loved it, so there you go...) I read the book in a single day - not because I particularly wanted to, but because I HAD to. I'd gotten so attached to the characters that it was the only way to get it out of my system and remember they were fictional - not real.Explaining exactly why I had such an emotional reaction to this book would bring on spoilers, so I shall have to stick to generalities. It was at times desperately sad and I sobbed my way through much of it (to my husband's bemusement), but though occasionally depressing, it had just enough hope to keep me turning pages. Even more importantly, it satisfactorily answered my most pressing questions - anything less, and it would have ended up being thrown across the room in disgust. Thankfully Ann Brashares didn't go there, and now I have left to figure out what I actually think of it, once the immediate emotional response has worn off.