Sunday, December 8, 2013

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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. (from GoodReads)

I haven't read a Sarah Dessen novel in such a long time (over 4 years) and I forgot how much I enjoy her books! For some reason I just sucked right into The Moon and More and couldn't put it down.

What I loved most about this book is that I wanted to live in it. The small beach town of Colby is very appealing. I love the beach in general and the tight-knit community just seems like a nice way to live. The way Dessen describes it, it's like a real place. Colby as been featured in a few other of her books (Keeping the Moon and Along for the Ride) and some of the characters in those books make small appearances! But I felt like Colby was actually a character in The Moon and More because there's the theme of small town vs. city life and the differences between them.

I also loved loved loved Emaline's family. She works for her grandmother's realty company so she spends a lot of time with them and I could see the love between them all (even though they could be super annoying). Seeing Emaline develop a relationship with her real father and half-brother was one of the best parts of the book. This novel really drives home the idea that there are all different types of family (Emaline has a "father" and a "dad" for goodness sake).

The romance was probably the weakest part of the novel and I think that was the point. In the beginning Emaline is dating her long-time boyfriend Luke but then moves on to the new Theo, who is from New York City and is supposed to be very sophisticated. Let me just say this: I did not like Theo at all, and I'm pretty sure the readers weren't supposed to. He's definitely not as sophisticated as described and quite frankly he's pretty annoying as a character. Even so, it was nice seeing a non-traditional love story featured in YA.

This book made me super nostalgic for summer and the beach, especially as it's snowing outside right now. I also loved that Emaline was going to East University for college. Pretty sure Dessen is referring to East Carolina University since the book takes place in North Carolina. Two of my uncles went there which is why I'm familiar with it. In addition, Emaline gets some flak for not going to Columbia. She got a full ride to a decent school (East) and a person would be crazy not to take that. Good job Emaline. Anyway, this is definitely one of my favorite Dessen books, which means you should go read it.

Rating: 9 out of 10.
FTC: borrowed from the library.

2013/Viking Juvenile/435 pages.

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