The Moon and More
4 out of 5 stars
June 4, 2013
Age Group: YA
Source: ARC from publisher
Ever since I succumbed to peer pressure and read The Truth About Forever, I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessen’s. I know there are readers who dismiss her books as being too boring or too girly, and it’s true that it’s hard to pinpoint anything hugely dramatic that happens in her books plot-wise. But that’s exactly what I like about her novels–they’re about nothing and yet absolutely everything at the same time.
In the summer before college, Emaline is working at her family’s vacation rental in the beach town of Colby when she starts to question her “perfect” relationship with her boyfriend Luke, as well as her complicated relationship with her absentee father. When a stranger named Theo comes to town, life starts to unravel…or is she finally starting to see the kind of life she really wants?
Here are the things I love about this book, and about all of Dessen’s stories: the absolutely real and mundane details that make up life. Family ties that shape who you are. The spark of romantic interest. Great friendships. The pleasure of doing ordinary things, like playing silly putt putt games with your brother, or experiencing the satisfaction of doing a great job at something you’re good at. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen also features earnest dates that tank, worries about college, the sadness of changing relationships, and the out-of-body feeling that comes when you realize your parents are actually flawed but good people. I leave every Dessen town feeling as if I’ve visited a real place full of real people who quietly go about their business and quietly dream about things that might never come true.
Admittedly, the author maintains her tendency to reference the title too many times, which is a pet peeve of mine. I enjoyed reading about Emaline’s problems, but I think she could have used some more joy in this book, too. And I have to say, I wasn’t a huge fan of Theo’s, so there wasn’t as much swoon in this book as I’m used to in other novels by this author, although there’s a hint at towards the end that something great could develop down the road.
But as always, Sarah Dessen delivers a terrific summer book. I like kickass heroines who can take down their enemies with a single blow who know the exact right one-liner to toss off at the right moment, but I love the more introverted heroines like the ones found in these contemporary novels, too. While a lot of fantasy authors indulge us by writing about the kind of girl we wish we’d been at the age of seventeen, Sarah Dessen writes about the kind of uncertain, quietly determined girl we actually were. And there’s plenty of beauty and wisdom and resonance in that, too.