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.Review:
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.
To start with, I'm a huge fan of Sarah Dessen. Ever since I read Just Listen, she's been my YA idol, and that's only increased with every book of hers I've read. Therefore, when I was received a copy of The Moon and More for review, I was BEYOND excited! I'm pretty sure I even squealed out loud a little bit. As it turns out, I had every reason to be excited because The Moon and More was classic Sarah Dessen: beautifully written and full of realistic and charming main characters that any girl can relate to in some way.
The Moon and More begins the story of Emaline, a girl who lives in a beach town where nothing ever seems to be permanent. She's content with this though. She has loving parents, best friends who she can count on , and the one of the nicest boyfriends around. Sure, she has some problems involving her real dad and dealing with the change of going from high school to college, but it's nothing too major. However, everything changes when Theo, a new city boy arrives in town. Theo starts to challenge all the notions Colby has about herself and her town. This is only made worse when her father suddenly show up out of the blue. What's about to happen will change Colby's life but will she loose herself in the process? You'll have to read it to find out!
One of my favorite things about books by Sarah Dessen are the characters, and this rang especially true with The Moon and More. From the first page, I adored Emaline. She was smart and funny. Best of all, I found it easy to relate to her. I could understand her frustration of living in a small town (been there and still there) and more importantly, a lot of thoughts she was having about college and the next chapter of her life are thoughts that I'm currently having as a senior in high school. It's a crazy time in life- as anyone knows- and Sarah Dessen really manged to do an amazing job of portraying the excitement, fear, and worry that comes with it. I also enjoyed seeing the variety of other people involved in Emaline's life. I adored her best friends, Mason and Daisy. Daisy managed to bring some spunk and lightness to the book as did Mason. Better yet, they were also characters I came to relate to and root for. I also loved Emaline's crazy family, but I'll get to more about this later on.
Another aspect of this book I enjoyed was the beach setting. Sarah always does such an awesome job of portraying Colby in her books, so I loved being back there for this one. With every page, I could perfectly imagine the beach houses and the ocean as well as the hot temps, and as a Northeastern currently dealing with a brutal PA winter, this was a wonderful change of scenery.
Next up: the plot. The Moon and More has a lot to do with Emaline's feelings about the next chapter in her life-college- and what it means for her and her friends and family and life in general. Throughout the book and Emaline's summer, she goes through a lot of change, and it was always interesting to see where her decisions took her. It really kept the book moving along, and it added a lot to character development. One thing I especially enjoyed about the plot was seeing Emaline interact with her family. From her sisters to her mom to her dad to her father to her half brother, Emaline's relationships with each played a huge part in the book, and given that that kind of stuff isn't often seen in YAs, it was a welcomed change, in my opinion.
The only aspect of this book I wasn't too keen on was the romance part. In The Moon and More, Emaline gets herself involved in a love triangle. It was a love triangle that actually did a lot for the book, so I can't bash it there. Theo was the "city boy," and he was probably one of the most obnoxious characters ever. I couldn't stand how much he bashed Colby and its residents. Plus I always thought he was just a wee bit creepy with Emaline. Luke, Emaline's high school boyfriend, on the other hand, I did like quite a bit. He was kind and the prince charming type guy. However, where either of these boys reach the awesomeness of Owen (from Just Listen) or Dexter (from This Lullaby)? No, they were just kind of there, and to be fair, if I didn't have such a love for Dessen's early boys, I probably would have liked Luke a lot more (Theo not so much). It didn't work that way so I was craving for something better the whole way through, and even when everything was said and done, I was like "really, that's all?!!"
Regardless, The Moon and More is still an emotional and well written coming of age, one that any fan of Sarah's will just love- especially if they too will soon be making their way to college.
The Moon and More (Amazon, BN, Goodreads) will be released June 4, 2013!
Source: Publisher via Netgalley