Let's start by saying I haven't read any Nicholas Sparks books before I read this one, so I can be considered a noob. That being said, I will give my one sentence opinion:
It was great!
Now I shall proceed to explain this opinion. First, a little background on my knowledge of Sparks and expectations from this book. One of my favorite movies is A Walk To Remember and I didn't even know it was Sparks's until very recently. I watched Nights In Rodanthe and I knew it was the same creator/director/whatever as A Walk To Remember but didn't even think that it was another work of Sparks.
I wasn't sure what to expect, to be honest. I thought that Sparks books would be too mature and deep for my level, thinking that maybe his books aren't directed at people my age. For once, I cancelled this idea when I read the description and it was about a seventeen year old girl.
I got a bit confuse about the prologue, seeing that it actually takes place after the actual story but quickly found my way back and was able to enjoy the story.
The book is well-paced and I was glad that we could see a third person objective POV differently in every chapter. Yes, the book is about a boy/girl love, but it is also about family love. I even consider this theme to be of equal if not of greater importance than the romantic love.
The end was very surprising, to be honest. It was also heartbreakingly beautiful. I am sure I bawled for the last 100 pages or so. Nevertheless, I was happy that there was humor in the story. The ending simply tied everything together. It was a happy ending to sad story and I think that is why this book is so beautiful. The theme of God is also very present. Being a Catholic, I related to it very much but it also made me see God in a different way and I have to thank this book for giving me hope again.