My rating: 4 of 5 stars
GENRE: YA Contemporary
THEME: Family, Romance
AUTHORS BLOG: Sarah Dessens' Site
REVIEW:This was my first novel by Sarah Dessen and I was glad to finally experience her writing and realistic family life that she created. The topics that are touched are what many young teens will experience, the upcoming college life, leaving loved ones behind and moving towards what is best for them not what benefits others.
The Moon and More follows Emaline a recent graduate that is on her way to college after summer. She works for her family’s vacation rental company in a small beach town known as Colby. She deals with the pressure of her family, her strained relationship with her father, and that she and her boyfriend Luke may not have the relationship she thought. But when Emaline meets Theo a young filmmaker hopeful who is following his mentor, she begins to question a lot about her life in Colby and what the future holds for her in college.
Emaline reminded me of so many of my friends. Plus she was easy to connect with and coming from a small town myself I understood what it was like to want to explore more in life but also really feel that strong connection to home. Emaline goes through a lot for one summer; she begins to realize this is the point in her life that everything is going to change. In a way I felt that there was too much sadness for the lead protagonist, almost like every turn there was another wall blocking her from some happiness. I liked how the readers see her grow and become a more determined and confident woman in just a summer.
Family is one key focus that kept this story strong, Emaline’s family isn’t perfect and the readers get to see the struggle of sisterly love and the love of a mother who raised her daughter alone until she met Emaline’s step father. Her mother I felt was a bit childish at times, but you can see how much she loves her girls. It was interesting seeing how different Emaline is compared to her stepsisters; you can feel the separation with the oldest sister next to Emaline and the younger sister. Then there is her real father; he isn’t a character I felt the readers were suppose to like, he’s a selfish man and someone who just doesn’t understand what it is to be a parent.
The romance was very minimal, there is a bit of a love triangle but in the end I really didn’t like either Luke or Theo. Her relationship with her boyfriend Luke is tested; both are unsure what their future holds and what else may be out there for them. Theo is an unusual guy, who really doesn’t grasp what he has and what he should be focusing on.
Overall I enjoyed this low key and great summer read, it was a nice change of tone from my paranormal novels. I love how real Dessen’s characters are, they have growing pains, they are trying their best and a learning from their mistakes. The town of Colby is it’s own character as well, the people, beach, the small business, it creates a wonderful mood and setting. In the end I enjoyed reading about the girl next door who is getting ready for a new beginning.
RECOMMENDATION:This is a young adult novel and a great summer read that will let you escape to a small beach town for a few hours. Fans of Miranda Kenneally’s Catching Jordan and Hooked by Liz Fichera will enjoy The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen.
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