The Moon and More
By Sarah Dessen
I’m an absolutely avid Sarah Dessen fan. I practically grew up on The Truth About Forever. When I pick up her new books, I love finding the connections between her books, marking my favorite quotes, and diving headfirst into the universes she creates. That’s why I was so excited to pick up a copy of The Moon and More in the bookstore last week. While I did enjoy the book, it wasn’t one of my favorites from Sarah Dessen, although I’m sure it would be engaging for many YA readers.
At the beginning of the novel, narrator Emaline is dating an attractive, funny, easygoing pool boy named Luke. In fact, she’s been dating him for the entirety of high school. Add in her friends Daisy (a fashionista) and Morris (her best friend from childhood), and Emaline seems to have it pretty good. However, she’s also trying to balance working at her family’s realty company with getting ready for college and dealing with a not-so-familiar figure from her past. Her father makes a reappearance after hurting Emaline by breaking a promise.
Right when her father shows up again, Emaline meets Theo: a charming, big-talking city boy who seems to think she deserves the whole world. Add Theo’s arrival to relationship issues with Luke, and Emaline doesn’t know which way to turn. Along the way, she’s trying to connect with her adorable half-brother Benji and say goodbye to the town she has called home for 18 years.
I loved Emaline’s character, and I was impressed by the way her character developed over the course of the novel. She really came in to her own, letting go of the past and taking hold of her own future. Her experiences as someone transitioning from high school to college were relatable, and the lessons Emaline learns are ones we all have to learn in one way or another. I thought Emaline was a memorable character in the Sarah Dessen universe, and I hope she shows up again in future books.
The reason this book is getting 3½ stars instead of 4 or 5 is because of the strange pacing of the novel. I’m used to Sarah Dessen’s books being page turners, simply because we want to know if the girl gets the guy or learns she doesn’t need him. In this book, it felt like some sections moved slowly; events seemed to drag on and go into too much detail. In other sections, I felt like we were asked to move too quickly to understand a character’s change in personality (*spoiler* for example, Theo goes from a charming, classy gentleman to a downright rude, judgemental city boy in about two seconds *end spoiler*). The book just didn’t seem to move in the same smooth, flowing way I’m used to from Sarah Dessen books.
I’ve heard fantastic things about Sarah Dessen’s latest novel, Saint Anything, and I’m absolutely willing to give it a chance, considering all of Sarah Dessen’s other books are near the top of my YA favorites list. While The Moon and More didn’t blow me away, it’s another solid read from a great YA author.
On Ups and Downs:
“The thing is, you can’t always have the best of everything. Because for a life to be real, you need it all: good and bad, beach and concrete, the familiar and the unknown, big talkers and small towns.”
“The truth was, there was no way everything could be the Best. Sometimes, when it came to events and people, it had to be okay to just be.”
Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Price: US $9.99
Source: Barnes & Noble