Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and MoreTitle: The Moon and More

Author: Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Release Date: June 4th, 2013

Interest: Author / Contemp

Source: NetGalley

Summary (From Goodreads):

Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emaline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emaline wonders if perfect is good enough.

Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Theo’s sophisticated, exciting, and, best of all, he thinks Emaline is much too smart for Colby.

Emaline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emaline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emaline is attracted to the bright future that Theo and her father promise. But she also clings to the deep roots of her loving mother, stepfather, and sisters. Can she ignore the pull of the happily familiar world of Colby?

Emaline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?

Sarah Dessen’s devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning, and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.

Sarah Dessen has always been a favorite of mine, and I’m happy to say that The Moon and More didn’t disappoint me.  It’s, of course, an ideal summer read that’s perfect for graduating seniors who are preparing to leave for college.

Even though many of Sarah Dessen’s novels deal with similar issues and often have similar settings, I never tire of reading them.  Her writing easily captures my interest, just as it did while reading The Moon and More.  I love that this is set in Colby and that we get to see a few characters again from Along for the Ride.  Colby felt different for me when I was reading this, and that’s probably because we read it from the perspective of someone who’s always lived there (Emaline) rather than someone who’s visiting (Auden from Along for the Ride).  I felt like I was in Colby and ended up knowing it just as well as Emaline does.  The setting plays a large role in this book because Colby feels so secure there.  Knowing that she’s going away to school at the end of the summer is a big change that drives the plot in a few different directions.

The Moon and More doesn’t contain as much romance as Dessen’s other books.  It’s more about change, family relationships, and figuring out who you are in the midst of all of that.  As a general rule, Emaline doesn’t like change, but she’s forced to deal with it over and over again.  I really enjoyed her character because while she’s struggling, she’s still very focused and true to herself.  She’s trying to balance her mom holding on to her and not wanting her to make the same mistakes she did, with new friendships and her biological father visiting Colby for the summer.  Emaline’s character stood out in different ways depending on who she was dealing with.  She’s patient with her mom and sisters, she’s pretty darn strong with her biological father, she’s tough around Ivy, and she’s trying out a different version of Emaline with Theo.  All of it connects and changes as the story progresses.  It made for an engaging reading experience.

We meet Emaline’s half-brother Benji in The Moon and More.  I love that Sarah Dessen wrote this character into the story.  He’s absolutely adorable and brings out Emaline’s soft side.  I loved every page he was on and am happy how things turned out with him at the end.

I do with The Moon and More was a little shorter, but I still really enjoyed reading it.  It’s a great book for students who are nervous about going away to school, struggling with absent parents (fathers in particular), or just want a book with a female protagonist who is figuring out who she is.

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