This book was fantastic. It has a wonderful message and I thought that in general the characters were pretty great too. There's a tiny little bit of romance, but it's mainly about finding yourself and making your own decisions. I loved the whole Jelly Bean Theory too. It was fun, but also made a lot of sense when you think about it. Why eat all the best ones first and get left with crap, save some of the best ones for last! Great life lesson. Poppy is super smart and has always known what her future holds. She will go to Columbia like her father, and his father, and so on and continue on the family legacy. She has worked hard for it her whole life. Then some certain events happen leading up to her getting the Denton award which is full scholarship to Columbia. She realizes that maybe that's not what she wants. It's what everyone else wants from her. She has spent her whole life living up to everyone else's expectations without thinking about what she wants out of life. She wants to be happy so she turns down the award in front of the entire school. Her dad is angry, but agrees to let her take a month to do what she wants and try to find what she's looking for. She tries a few different things and in the end makes a decision. Her choice, not what everyone else wants. I really liked her determination. It wasn't all easy, but she went in full out, head first. It is pretty inspiring honestly. The only thing I didn't like was that she was so easily judgemental of people and she is afraid of people being judgemental of her. It wasn't enough to bother me, but it did stand out for me.Her two best friends were just okay to me. I know they are in high school so pretty much everything seems like it's a big deal, but these are smart girls who have their future figured out. Bez is a little over the top for me and totally hypocritical. You will understand if you read the book. She is also not very supportive of Poppy at all and she is a bit selfish by thinking it's not fair for Poppy to just go off for a month and leave them. I really liked Ella. She is more laid back and fun. She doesn't try to interfere with what Poppy is doing. It's not to say that she agrees with it, but she isn't so dramatic about it like Bez is, and she is the one who is into performing arts. In the end I really did like both character though. I liked that they had their flaws. Perfect characters aren't realistic.Now onto how things actually happened. I have to say some of it was a bit unrealistic. Like when she works at the bakery and some of the other places. No one ever asks for paperwork, parent permission, wants her to sign wavers, no one even checks her ID or anything. She just goes to these places and it's like, "Okay cool, get to work." I mean really, companies have certain liabilities and such things so that's not very likely. I know that it would be a bit boring telling us about her doing all this stuff, but it's not even implied. She is just told to go show up so she does and that's that. Aside from that though, it's enjoyable to see how she fits in or doesn't in each different place. She takes a great lesson from each one too. You really get a feel for her excitement or disappointment. The message that this book gives is so great though. Poppy is just a girl who has done what she is supposed to her whole life. She wants to go to college, she wants a successful future, but she also wants to be happy. She needs to find that happiness and she won't let anyone tell her no. It's her life and she is ready to take control. She is a responsible girl and wants to make her family happy too, but knows that it's her life and future. She has always gone by her Jelly Bean Theory that you get the yucky stuff out of the way and save the best for last, but now she realizes that your least favorite jelly bean may be someone else's favorite. You need to have the good and the bad. If you eat all the best now, what do you have left to look forward to later. Poppy is not the only one who really comes to terms with things either. I loved how all of the characters really learned something along the way too. This book is a must read for contemporary lovers and I think that all teenagers should read this book. Wonderful story with a good strong message.