I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Published by Penguin Group, Viking Juvenile on June 4, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
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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.
The Moon and More follows a girl named Emaline during her last summer before college in the beach town where she grew up. She has been dating the same guy since 9th grade and her family has owned Colby Realty, where our dear main character also happens to work, for over fifty years. Basically, Emaline’s story is as boring as it sounds.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Sarah Dessen and there’s a reason why I consider some of her books all-time favorites. She can deliver a good story, one that will stay with you for a long time. The thing is, what makes her other books special doesn’t make an appearance in The Moon and More. The story dragged on forever, I couldn’t connect with the characters, and I honestly couldn’t cared less about the romance.
Emaline is so boring. I don’t understand why anyone would date her. I feel like she’s just along for the ride until something goes wrong. Then, she complains (but she never expresses her opinions verbally) and judges everyone without taking a second to evaluate herself. I can put up with a boring main character but I can’t put up with 5+ unlikable characters. Her father is awful, her boyfriend is–get this–boring, and Theo is so over-the-top that I wanted to throw my book at the wall and call it a day. Multiple times.
The one aspect that I enjoyed about this novel was Emaline’s family dynamic. Sarah Dessen usually writes really realistic and powerful relationships between family members and this book is not the exception. Emaline has two male figures in her life: her father and her dad. I loved that the distinction between those two words was discussed. Emaline’s father might be connected to her through blood but her dad raised her. I’m sure there are other books out there that deal with the same issue but I’ve never read anything like it before.
Even though I couldn’t connect with the main character, I liked the idea that she saw herself as a permanent feature in a temporary place. Tourists come and go but her life always remains the same. She doesn’t have the chance to escape like the people who stay at the rental homes. Her life revolves around pleasing others and keeping up with a very mundane routine. It almost made me forget that I wanted to do anything but read this book.
Characters aside, the story was slow and it never grabbed my attention. I felt like the story could’ve been a lot shorter than 435 pages. Most of the time I felt like I was reading a dull account of someone’s life. Do I want to know what you did every single day, especially if you’re recounting your entire summer? God, no. Lack of plot aside, Sarah Dessen’s novels are usually enjoyable. Sure, they tend to be long and they usually sound the same. However, I like that she writes about relatable characters and realistic situations. The Moon and More just came short in both aspects.
If you enjoyed Sarah Dessen’s previous novels, I would skip this one unless you’re a hardcore fan. If you’ve never read any of her novels, I wouldn’t start with this one. Even though everything about this novel screams “summer,” The Moon and More takes a lot more than a relaxing beach day and a couple of cocktails to even start to enjoy it. I think the only way to determine if you’ll like this novel is to ask yourself if you’re willing to read about someone’s day-to-day life, even the boring bits. If the answer is a huge no, then this novel is not for you.