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.

Book Trailer Thursday (113)–The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a publisher-made book trailer for a Sarah Dessen book before, so I’m a little excited to have found this one.  I’m currently reading and enjoying The Moon and More.  The trailer is a quick one, but it fits the book.  And even though we don’t really “see” Theo in the trailer, I’m happy to have a better idea of what he’s supposed to look like because I’m having a tough time imagining him for some reason.  Enjoy the trailer!  The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen released this week, so hopefully you’ll get your hands on a copy soon 🙂

The Moon and MoreSummary (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.

Student Book Review: That Summer by Sarah Dessen

I realize That Summer by Sarah Dessen has been around for a while, but for some reason it isn’t the most popular Sarah Dessen title I have in my class library, so I decided to feature it on my blog today.  And what better way to feature it than with a student review?

My student reviewer today is Trista, who was in my YA Lit class last tri and also has me all year for Honors Sophomore Seminar.  She chose the books to movie project in YA Lit and took my recommendation to read That Summer and Someone Like You to go along with the movie rendition of both books, How to Deal.  She liked both books, so hopefully she’ll read more Dessen titles in the future 🙂

Title: That Summer

Author: Sarah Dessen

Student Reviewer: Trista

Summary (From Goodreads): For fifteen-year-old Haven, life is changing too quickly. She’s nearly six feet tall, her father is getting remarried, and her sister—the always perfect Ashley—is planning a wedding of her own. Haven wishes things could just go back to the way they were. Then an old boyfriend of Ashley’s reenters the picture, and through him, Haven sees the past for what it really was, and comes to grips with the future.

That Summer is about an insecure 15 year old girl named Haven who is having a hard time dealing with her dad’s remarriage and her sisters marriage. She has learn how to let go and move on or she will never be happy. She realizes that life goes on and although thing may never be the same that doesn’t mean they will never get better.

Haven is the one character I can really relate to. She’s insecure about her height and the way she looks. She would rather live in the past when things were perfect than in the present and deal with her problems. Haven is very close to her mom and feels the need to protect her and keep her safe even though that’s the parents’ job. She’s there for her friend when she’s needed even though she has her own problems to deal with. Also I can relate to Haven because she doesn’t like to talk about her issues or anything she’s dealing with, she bottles up her feelings and takes them out on the people she loves.

I liked how realistic the book is about the divorce and remarriage of her parents. The thoughts going through Haven’s mind were very believable. She wasn’t dramatic or obnoxious about it. Her feelings were real and understandable. She felt betrayed by her dad for leaving her mom for that girl at his work. She also felt hurt because she wanted to believe that he would never do something like that.

I didn’t like how towards the end of the book she had a break down out of nowhere. Maybe she did have a good reason but it was not clear to me why she freaked out and ran away for the day. I’ve been through hard times too but I’ve never had a break down like she had at the mall. I did however laugh when she chased after the rude woman and threw the shoe back at her.

In the end I enjoyed reading this book. It’s not a book I would have picked on my own, but I’m glad I read it. That Summer is a good read.

Can I Switch Places With These Characters, Please?

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

 

Top Ten Tuesday is one of my favorite memes, especially when we get a prompt like today’s.  So often when reviewing and discussing books, we mention our love of the setting/world or how we would love to spend time with the characters.  Today’s prompt asks us to list the ten characters we’d like to switch places with for 24 hours.  Here we go!

Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen (Goodreads)–I don’t really want to deal with Auden’s home life, but I love the town she’s staying in over the summer.  I love beach town settings, and this one’s a favorite.  Plus, I like Eli 🙂

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (Goodreads)–I can’t say that I’d be very good at demon hunting or anything like that, but I would love to cuddle up with Jace and hang out with Simon!  Clary can go ahead and sit a day out so I can have fun with these Shadowhunters + Simon!

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan (Goodreads)–This is still one of my favorite books because it’s incredibly funny and I love the cast of characters.  I’d totally be okay with switching places with Norah and running around New York with Nick all night.  I’ve never been to New York City, and I don’t have a character crush on Nick or anything, but he’s a cool guy and he really knows his music.  How fun would it be to hop from crazy New York club to crazy New York club all night with your friends!

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Goodreads)–If you’ve read this book, I don’t think I need to explain myself, do I?  Living in Paris for a school year.  Eating delicious crepes.  Going to famous museums.  Etienne St. Clair.  Enough said. 🙂

Freshman Year & Other Unnatural Disasters by Meredith Zeitlin (Goodreads)–I really have no desire to repeat my high school years, but I would love to spend a day with Kelsey Finkelstein because she is so darn funny.  I love how melodramatic she is and how loyal she is to her friends.  If I could choose a day, I’d choose the last day the school play is performed.  I’m pretty sure that would be the best.  Or the night of the tooth mishap.  Either would be funny.

Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood (Goodreads): I love this book’s time period and the powers the girls have.  And I have a book crush on Finn.  It would be fun to spend a day in the garden with Finn and maybe part of the afternoon at a gossipy tea gathering.  Writing this makes me feel like I’m an old soul or something because I don’t know many people who would want to spend their day like this! 😛

Small Medium at Large by Joanne Levy (Goodreads): This is one of the cutest middle grade books I’ve read, first of all.  Second, I would absolutely love to spend a day in Lilah’s shoes so I could communicate with my Grandma Rosemary.  I love that Lilah gets to spend more time with her Bubbie.  Those of us who have lost grandparents know how special and precious that extra time would be.

In Honor by Jessi Kirby (Goodreads)–Am I allowed to pretend Honor isn’t honoring her brother that just died?  Because if so, I’d switch places with her for a day.  I’d want to spend time getting to know Rusty, and I think it would be cool to revisit the scene when she’s swimming really early in the morning.  For the most part, their trip to California was fun to read (with the exception of a few sad/scary parts).

I know that’s not ten characters I want to switch with, but it’s the best I can do today.  Let me know which character you’d like to switch with!  I’m sure I’ll feel the same way, or even better, find a new book I want to read!  Happy Tuesday! 😀

Love or Hate the Holiday: Valentine’s Day Reads That Might Break Your Heart

This week’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about being anti-Valentine’s Day and reading books that might break your a heart a little.  To be honest, I’ve always been a romantic at heart, so this was a hard list to compile.  I love stories about love, but I also love stories that make me cry (Is that weird?).  Whether you’re not feeling the love today, or maybe you just want to read a book that will tug at your heart strings, I recommend reading one or all of the following.

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish.

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen (Goodreads)–Caitlin is experiencing what she believes is true love until Rogerson starts abusing her.  Her story is one of heartbreak, isolation, and much more.  By the end of this book I was hiccuping with tears.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman (Goodreads)–First of all, if you haven’t read If I Stay, don’t read Where She Went until you do.  Adam’s story tore me apart.  I’ve said this before, and I’ll continue to say this, Gayle Forman is a genius for writing this book from Adam’s point of view.  He’s so lovesick and torn up, that you can’t help but feel every ounce of his pain and love.  Love it, love it, love it.  I cried for more than one reason while reading Where She Went.

The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (Goodreads)–Lennie is grieving over her sister’s death, and in the midst of this she gets involved in a complicated love triangle.  Part of this love triangle involves her dead sister’s boyfriend.  Jandy Nelson’s writing is lyrical and poignant.  Lennie is a poet who writes her poetry on different objects like tree branches and discarded paper cups.  The Sky is Everywhere is heartbreaking and hopeful.

The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (Goodreads)–Don’t judge me.  I know not everyone likes Nicholas Sparks because so many of his books follow the same storyline, but seriously.  I read The Notebook when I was in college and stayed up all night reading it and sobbing simultaneously.  Like I said, I’m a romantic.  I will say that I hated the movie; they completely butchered it.

I Know It’s Over by C.K. Kelly Martin (Goodreads)–Talk about heartbreak!  Nick is completely broken up over his break up with Sasha, and to make matters worse, he finds out weeks later that Sasha’s pregnant.  He can’t get over Sasha, and he doesn’t know how he feels about Sasha’s decision about her pregnancy.  Nick’s voice is incredibly authentic.  I’d be surprised if someone read this and didn’t feel Nick’s heartbreak.

But I Love Him by Amanda Grace (Goodreads)–This book has made it to a couple of my lists, and it’s because it’s so excellent.  This is another book about abusive teen relationships, but it’s written in such a manner that it was hard for me to pinpoint when I would have left Connor.  Ann is an excellent student and an all-around good girl.  She falls hard for Connor, but unfortunately their love isn’t perfect and right like Ann wants it to be.  The story switches between present day, which is a year into their relationship.  Ann is in a dark room and badly hurt.  Then we flash back a few days and get a chance to see what’s been going on with Connor and Ann.  This back and forth gives readers a clearer picture of their roller coaster relationship.

Other Words for Love by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal (Goodreads)–This book.  This book hit so many emotions.  I positively adore it!  It’s the perfect story about first love and all the heartbreak that comes with it.  I read it close to non-stop and recommend it whenever I have the opportunity.

The First Part Last by Angela Johnson (Goodreads)–I love Bobby and Nia’s story.  They’re so in love, but that love is tried when a baby enters the picture.  I can’t say too much because I don’t want to give the story away, but this one is sure to break your heart.  Bobby is a wonderful narrator that I couldn’t help but connect with.

If You Come Softly by Jacqueline Woodson (Goodreads)–Jacqueline Woodson is a beautiful writer, and she’s written a beautiful story about Jeremiah and Ellie.  Ellie and Miah fall in love, but they keep it a secret in fear that their family and friends won’t understand or approve of their relationship.  The ups and downs of their relationship might tug at your emotions, but the ending is guaranteed to.

Running Loose by Chris Crutcher (Goodreads)–I wasn’t expecting the love story that’s tied into Running Loose, but I really enjoyed it.  It’s another example of first love, but it’s heartbreaking.  If you read Running Loose, make sure to read Deadline which is a loose companion where you can see Louie as an adult coach.

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