Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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I received this book for free from Penguin Canada in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah DessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Published by Viking Juvenile on June 4th 2013
Source: Penguin Canada
Buy on Amazon

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?

As my first Sarah Dessen novel I was a little worried as it seems people either love her books or don’t, so it’s a relief that I fall in with her fans. The Moon and More is an especially perfect beach read. It’s lighthearted, it’s fun, with a great summery atmosphere, and it has enough emotion to keep you fully immersed.

This book is not really about anything at all (and I say this in a positive light), or some may say it’s about everything; it’s about growing up. It spans one summer in Emaline’s life; the last summer before she’s off to college which, for a lot of us, is when our life suddenly feels changed. We say goodbye to our high school days, and often to our boyfriend and hometown as well. It’s a situation many can relate to, making this book – a single summer in the life of a small town girl – surprisingly engaging. Emaline’s dealing with insecurities towards her high school long term relationship, as well as anxiety of knowing she’ll be leaving her small niche in a matter of weeks. In addition, she has her biological father to deal with, which lends some emotional family problems into the mix.

Even though the novel is, in a way, romantically inclined, it remains a part that makes up the sum of this story. If I had to pick what was predominant, I would say it’s family. With two sisters, a grandmother, a mother, a father and a dad, in an exceptionally small town, Emaline’s family is a large part of her every day life, especially that she’s working at the family business renting summer houses on the beach (I did envy her job once or twice!). The family dynamics are lively and full of heart. I loved the bond she has with her mother and sisters, and I’m very happy with how the drama with her biological father resolved. It didn’t go the direction I expected–which was the clichรฉ perfect ending. It may not have worked out 100% happily, but I feel it was very realistic. Emaline also learned a lot from it which made her able to understand their relationship, and even embrace her situation.

To touch a bit more on the romance: that, too, was much more realistic than the happily ever afters. I actually found it was quite perfect in its own way. We have her high school boyfriend, and an intensely ambitious NYC fella named Theo, though don’t worry there is no love triangle. Theo is a littleโ€ฆ energetic? He definitely doesn’t fit into the small town life Emaline has been so comfortable in, and to be honest he kind of grated on my nerves for most of the book. His power hungry, arrogant attitude makes it kind of hard to like him. His boss, however, which is nothing but a slob and a total bitch surprised me by how much I enjoyed her character. She was just soโ€ฆ loud. Her whole personality was very loud. The same can also be said about Emaline’s fashionista best friend and the lazy “boy next door”. Oh and her brother, he was just adorable! Honestly this whole cast was very dynamic and spirited. They are easily the best part of the book. It also helps when you’re from a small town like them; I could relate to a lot in their lives.

My first Dessen experience was clearly a successful one, and will not my last. Sparkling with warmth and carefree summer days, The Moon and More is the book you bring with you on vacation!


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Canadian blogger, wife, mother, coffee lover, and sarcastic at heart! She has had a love for all things bookish since before Amazon and eReaders existed *le gasp*. You can also find her organizing tours and other fun things at Xpresso Book Tours.

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34 Responses to “Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen”

  1. Melanie

    I haven’t read many Sarah Dessen books so far- I think I’ve read 2. The Moon and More sounds like the next book I need to seek out if I feel like something Sarah Dessen ^,^ I’m glad the romance worked for you and it wasn’t overly cheesy. (It was something I saw in two reviews so I kinda created out). Hehe

    Great review, Giselle! <33

  2. Mary @ BookSwarm

    The couple of Dessen books I’ve read, I’ve enjoyed — they’re sweet romances, they’re usually perfect for a lazy afternoon and they’re well-written. I like that this one is more family-centric, which means I need to read it!!

  3. Jasprit

    The Moon and More does sound like the perfect Summer read Giselle. I started my Dessen book the other day and I think as the topics it deals with are a lot more serious, I’m finding it a bit difficult to get into. But I think I will definitely have to give The Moon and More ago over the Summer. Lovely review! ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Aman

    I have only read one Sarah Dessen book so far(The Truth About Forever) and I love her work. The Moon and more sounds like a delightful summer read and feel good book, I’m so looking forward to picking it up soon ๐Ÿ™‚ I’m so glad that you enjoyed your first SD book, Giselle!

  5. Ruby :)

    I’m so glad you enjoyed this; I’ve just received a copy for review, and it’s also my first Dessen novel! I’m hoping that, if it is as light and fun as you say, then it will help me brighten another rainy day in the UK! Great review, as per always. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Sassy Spratt

    I’ve only read one Sarah Dessen book in the past, and I really enjoyed it. Loved your review for this one, it might be the one that I pick up next. Glad to hear the characters are developed and realistic. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. Hollie

    I read my first Sarah Dessen book last year and absolutely loved it, and I’ve been excited to read this one ever since I first heard about it. I’m thrilled you enjoyed this one, especially as it was your first experience with her work! Great review. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. Christianna Marks

    I’m glad that you liked this one so much! I have a few of her books and I’ve read a few over the years. I always enjoy them when I get around to them! Glad that your a fan now as well!

  9. YA Book Queen

    I’m looking forward to this one, so I’m glad to read such a good, positive review!

    And wow, your first Dessen novel? You must read THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER – so good!

  10. Kat Balcombe

    I’m now a bit more lonely in the ‘never read Sarah Dessen’ club. But if you like it, then chances are I probably will too – maybe it’s about time I abandoned that club ๐Ÿ˜‰

  11. Megan K.

    I have one of hers waiting to be read, but my towering review pile has made it near impossible to! It’s great that you had an excellent experience with your first Dessen book. I’m sure I would, too, since family is involved. Hoping to get started on that Dessen book I have now. ๐Ÿ™‚ Fab review, Giselle!

  12. Christine P

    I LOVE Sarah Dessen! You touched on everything that I love about her books. They are realistic and hit close to home way too many times. They don’t always end happily ever after, and the majority of the time, they don’t. But that’s something I love about them. They don’t stick to the cliche. The endings they have are realistic and let’s you know that the characters will be okay, they may not have a perfect ending, but they will be okay as they move on with their life. You must go read her other books! I’ve read them all ๐Ÿ™‚ THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER, ALONG FOR THE RIDE, and WHAT HAPPENED TO GOODBYE are my favorites. Definitely read them if you have a chance! I’m so excited for the release of this one. I’m so jealous you got an ARC!

  13. Courtney Ann

    Can’t believe this is your first Dessen novel, that’s adorable, Giselle ๐Ÿ™‚ Glad you really enjoyed the book. I definitely recommend to you The Truth About Forever by her. One of my favorites! And I agree with Ashley above me, Dreamland was fantastic. That was my first Dessen novel.

  14. Jen (A Reading Daydreamer)

    Giselle, congrats on reading your first Dessen book and loving it! I remember reading. Few of her books and enjoying them as well, so I’ve been quite excited for this one. It truly sounds like the perfect summer read to bring with you on vacation! I love the mix of family problems and a romance. It seems like Dessen is really strong in creating vivid characters, doesn’t it? I can’t wait to pick this one up, thanks for te gorgeous review!

  15. Nereyda @Mostly YA Book Obsessed

    I kind of like these kinds of books that are not really about anything but still manage to have a great story. A great example is Wanderlove by Kiersten Hubbard. I heart that book!
    I havenโ€™t read a book by Sarah Dessen yetโ€ฆ

  16. Nazish Reads

    I’ve read a few Sarah Dessen books and enjoyed them (which is odd since I usually don’t like contemporaries). I feel that unlike many other contemporary novels, Sarah’s books focus more on family and friends and summertime than on romance. It’s nice since in real life it’s not always about the romance. These are especially good books to read when you want something light and relaxing, although I did hear that one of her books main character is in an abusive relationship, I think it’s called Dreamland or something, I’m kind of scared to read that one (issue books and me don’t get along, I read to be happy, not to feel upset).

    Anyways, great review as always and glad to hear that your first Sarah Dessen experience has been a good one. I can’t wait until this book releases, plus I love the cover and the colours on it, it makes me feel warm and summery.

    -Nazish @ Nazish Reads

  17. Amanda

    That’s great that you’ve realized that you’re a Dessen fan! I’ve only read one book of hers, but I don’t think I am. They all sound well-written and realistic and all, but the summer theme also seems super prevalent, and for some reason summer books just don’t capture my interest. I do love when authors really focus on family bonds, though, which I think she does. I hope you continue to have good luck with reading her books in the future!

  18. Dea S.

    YAAAY! I’m so happy you enjoyed your first Sarah Dessen experience! Her books introduced me to contemp YA, and I read most of them a few years ago on a summer so they were even more perfect. I’m so excited for The Moon and More. Great review!! ๐Ÿ˜€

  19. Renae M.

    I have, sadly, still not read a Sarah Dessen book. Itโ€™s happening this summer, though. Promise! But I do think that after I try some of Dessenโ€™s older books, Iโ€™ll circle back around to this one. It sounds like the perfect book to take with me to the pool, especially with the focus on family and NO love triangle! ๐Ÿ™‚

  20. Michelle

    I can’t believe this is your first Sarah Dessen!! I’m glad you liked it! I know I can’t wait for this book to come out…. I’m a big Dessen fan, I met her earlier this year and it was awesome! Anyway you should read Lock & Key or Just Listen, they’re good ones ๐Ÿ™‚

  21. Millie

    I can’t believe this is your first Sarah Dessen! I haven’t read all of them, but I’ve read a few, and I will say that I’m very on the fence about her books. I love how there’s always this real quality to her books that make them relatable, but since I’m not one for romances, they always fall in the meh pile of books I read. I’m glad to see that you enjoyed her book! I suggest you read Along for Ride–my favorite of her books! Fantastic review!

    Millie @ Millie D’s Words

  22. Wendy

    I’ve actually never read any Sarah Dessen books. I just wasn’t sure about them but this sounds like a good one to start on! Great review!

  23. Alexa Y.

    I’m so glad that you enjoyed The Moon and More. I’ve been a Dessen fan for years, so it always warms my heart when other people enjoy her books. I’m definitely looking forward to reading this one!

  24. Soma Rostam

    I am currently reading this Giselle!
    I am almost in the middle
    And it’s great so far
    i think it’s my fourth Sarah Dessen book and I have loved all of them
    Yes, Ivy, the boss has such an intriguing character
    and Theo is a bit annoying at times. Embarrassing too
    I liked Luke a lot , though . And Benji is adorable
    Your reader,