Thursday, July 11, 2013

Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Goodreads summary:

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.

My review:

I actually didn't start reading Sarah Dessen books until this summer.  The Moon and More is my second novel by her (the first being Along for the Ride) and I completely loved it.  I've already checked out several more of her books from my library.  Her books are the perfect mix of lighthearted and thoughtful.

I've noticed several other people remarking about this, and it's oh-so-true: Dessen has an amazing ability to create heroines we can relate to.  None of Dessen's heroines are brave and tough like, say, Katniss Everdeen or Tris Prior.  Instead, they're quiet, introverted characters who are trying to figure out what they want in life.  I love this, because although I love characters like Katniss, in reality I'm very shy and introverted.  So I really appreciate how Dessen's heroines are so relatable.

Can I just squeal over how well-developed all the characters in this story are?  Because DANG.  These characters all had their own little quirks and were constantly surprising me with their character arcs.  I loved Emaline's mother and the advice she gives Emaline.  I loved how Emaline knows the difference between what makes a father and what makes a dad.  I loved the adorable relationship between Emaline and her little half-brother.  All the relationships in this book are so complex, realistic, and well-done.

Now I know why people gush over Sarah Dessen.  Aside from the amazing cast of characters she creates, there's also the lovely thought-provoking quotes.  There were so many passages and lines I wanted to highlight and reread.  It's like Dessen has captured all the questions spinning in a teenage girl's mind, added a sweet summery setting, mixed in unexpected characters and dialogue, and the end result is the perfect summer book.  What more can I say?  Sarah Dessen's books are a must-read.

If there was anything I had to criticize, it's that at first, there seems to almost be too many characters.  I know I got confused a few times keeping track of them, but it's only in the beginning.  After that, everything flows fine.  And the ending?  I love how things are resolved.  It's unexpected yet so very fitting.  I can't wait to read more of Dessen's work!

My rating:  4 out of 5 stars

~ The Bookworm

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