Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Release Date: June 4, 2013
Source: ARC from Publisher
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.
If you've been reading this book for any length of time, you have probably heard me say at some point just how much I love Sarah Dessen. And I was so excited at the prospect of having a new book of hers to read. Almost immediately after receiving my copy of The Moon and More, I started reading and I couldn't have been more happy to be back in the world of Colby.
Emaline thought she had a plan: she was going to go off to college with the boy she has been dating since first starting high school. Everything was all set. But the summer before all that is set to happen, things change and suddenly everything Emaline knows is falling to pieces around her. She wanted to have one of those summers where she can be someone completely different, like the people she sees renting the properties where she works. The only thing Emaline couldn't have predicted was that at the end of it all, what she so desperately wants to get away from is what will make her want to stay with everything she is familiar.
I will apologize in advance if this seems to be turning into an ode to Sarah Dessen and her books, but here it goes anyways. Here's the thing about Sarah Dessen and her books, they make the absolutely perfect summer read. But they aren't all just fluff and fun times in the sun. Often there is something more going on with the story and the characters and that is typically what makes me love these stories so much. With The Moon and More, I felt like I could relate to the story in a way that I can't always relate to other stories. That feeling of leaving home for the first time and being excited about it, but also kind of afraid of what the unknown holds. This story was very much about that. The main character, Emaline, was really excited at the prospect of leaving home, but at the same time she wants to hold on to everything that feels familiar around her. And that aspect of her story, and the greater story, is something I could really relate too and I'm sure I wasn't the only one. What I really enjoyed about The Moon and More as well was that it didn't really follow the same pattern that typical Sarah Dessen stories do. There were those elements to the story that I have come to love, but the way it all played wasn't necessarily what I expected to happen but it was something I enjoyed seeing. I can't help but come back to the fact that Sarah Dessen knows what she is doing. She knows what works in her stories and that's what makes it so I keep loving her books, even after having read so many of them. And The Moon and More was everything I hoped it would be.
Like I've already said, I could relate to Emaline's story and for that reason I could also really relate to certain aspects of her character. When I was getting ready to leave for college, I may not have been dating the same boy since the start of high school, but I could definitely relate to the part where you are eager to move on to the next part of your life while at the same wanting to hold on to everything that is familiar. For me, that made Emaline really likeable and made it so I really liked her. She was one of those characters that I found myself taking a liking to her right from the beginning and so throughout the story I was eager to see what would happen to her, the decisions she would make about the different aspects of her life. And those aspects of her life got pretty complicated after a while. Sure, the whole Luke vs. Theo part of things was mostly her own doing, but there wasn't all that much she could do about the situation with her father. And her father kinda annoyed me. I could see why he was doing what he was doing and could understand where he was coming from, but that didn't make him any more likeable to me. But Benji I loved. In some parts of the story, it felt like he kinda stole the show. But I also loved the side of Emaline that he brought out. I think it was a side of her personality that even surprised Emaline herself at times. The other thing about Sarah Dessen books is that more often than not, I can't help but fall a little (or a lot if that person is Wes) with her love interests. But with The Moon and More, that didn't really happen on the same scale I thought it would. Sure, I liked Luke and his familiarity just like I liked Theo and his newness. But beyond that they didn't necessarily impress me that much. But that's okay because in the end, I almost wanted Emaline to end up alone, because that would mean that she would be able to actually be herself and do what she wants to do. And that's what I wanted for Emaline.
So this is my ramble-y way of saying that I absolutely love Sarah Dessen and The Moon and More. If you have loved Sarah Dessen's books in the past, you won't want to miss out on this one. It may not have been exactly like I thought it would have been, but that didn't stop me from loving it just as much as this author's other books.