Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Synopsis: 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?
I miss Sarah Dessen. I went though a phase where I’d buy and devour each one of her books the moment I got them. While I wasn’t huge on her previous novel, Whatever Happened to Goodbye, I still couldn’t wait to get my hands on The Moon and More. Sarah Dessen always writes these perfect summer reads, the kind that sweep you away to beautiful beaches, crystal clear skies, and the smell of salt water. This book made me love her even more for that.
Emaline is a fabulous narrator. She’s quirky, sassy, and wants more than her life can actually handle. While she is given a semi-proper life with her mom and dad, her estranged father keeps trying to make attempts to get back into the picture. Admittedly, while many of Dessen’s novel look at missing parental figures, this book is interesting in that we have an estranged parent trying to get back into the picture, but not for the best reasons.
I actually loved the interaction between her and her estranged father just because it felt very natural, awkward, but I equally loved Emaline’s relationship with his son, Benji. Dessen does an amazing job at writing likeable children. It’s like she has magic powers, but they feel so realistic and innocent, so when confronted with the real world, they have just enough naiveness to be child-like, but they also have the mental capacity to understand the types of changes they may have to face. Benji was my favourite character and I adored his relationship with Emaline — they needed each other to feel whole and it’s very touching.
Funny enough, I didn’t find myself team Theo or Luke in this book. I thought both male leads were very unrealistic (in a good way) about their expectations from life and people. Expectations, particularly realistic ones, are a huge focus in this story, yet Luke and Theo came across to ideal and lost, and I loved that Emaline starts to see right through both of them. While both male leads have their genuine moments, I never found myself intrigued by either of them (None of them are Dexter from This Lullaby, after all), and I just found that I disliked how they try to tell Emaline to live her life and deal with her estranged father. It bugged me a fair bit, more so from Theo though in this case.
I always love Dessen’s descriptions of the world around her heroines, and every time I return back to Colby, I’m always smiling, no matter what. I always love the people that inhabit Dessen’s worlds because they are full of flaws, but still redeeming in a lot of ways. I loved Morris and Daisy, I was so happy to see Auden’s cameo, and seriously, if you’ve never read a Sarah Dessen book, make sure you try one this summer. She really does write the perfect summertime reads.
Back when I was into Twilight and all things that drank blood and went bump in the night I was very much against contemporary ‘chick lit’. My sister on the other hand was a huge fan of authors like Picoult and Dessen. In between paranormal or fantasy books I secretly read one of the Dessen books that was laying around and… I was sunk. I grew to LOVE Dessen after that and even though I was totally anti-contemporary (until very recently) I always put aside the monsters and demons for the perfect summer read.
I received my copy of THE MOON AND MORE directly from the publisher because I won it on facebook. You wouldn’t believe how happy I was!!! I felt a special connection to this book because over the past few years I started to follow Dessen on twitter and I basically watched her work on this book the entire time. I was really excited about her progress and when it finally came I knew I had to have it.
I agree with so much of what Sam said in her review. Emaline’s voice was perfect, and I loved her relationship with her family. I loved the tension between her and her ‘father’. I didn’t go for either boy in her life (but I HATED Theo with a passion by the end of the book).
My favorite thing about this was her relationship with her half brother Benji. Maybe she can’t have a relationship with her father, but at least she was able to make a strong connection with her brother, and in a sense, stay connected with that part of her family.
I love that Dessen’s books are not sequels or prequels of each other, but they all connect somehow. And I was cracking up when I found all of the little name-drops she did of her favorite Good Morning America anchors. These little things really make Dessen’s books seem even more real and I feel like she’s the type of author that, no matter how famous she might be, will always have these little things connecting her to her readers and just the world we all live in.
This is an amazing summer read and I encourage you to pick it up while the temps are still hot and the beaches are still busy.
Did you read THE MOON AND MORE?! If you did what did you think? We’d love to talk about it in the comments! Also link us to your reviews! And don’t forget to check out last week’s Fling with THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE