When I read a Sarah Dessen book, I feel that the experience is akin to a pair of sweatpants. Bear with me here. Sweatpants are the most comfortable article of clothing, ever, at least in my opinion. Sarah Dessen’s books are the most comfy YA books. By this, I mean that when you open up a book by Dessen, you know that you’re going to get a quality contemporary read about a girl who isn’t too out of whack, usually with a pretty level head, although not all the time with a problem. I LOVE her books and each one I read feels like coming home. Y’all, The Moon And More definitely lived up to my expectations, and then some.
It’s summer, obvs, and Emaline is working for the family beach rental realty agency. She has a perfectly comfortable life, living with her mom and stepdad (whom she calls dad) and two sisters. She’s been dating the same guy, Luke, since 9th grade. Yet, as we all know — things won’t stay comfortable and cushy for long. Emaline’s estranged father shows up in Colby for the summer and we find out that there are a lot of unresolved issues between the two – mainly centering around Emaline’s potential for going to Columbia University. To further complicate matters, one of the renters is a famous documentary filmmaker named Ivy and she’s doing a documentary on Clyde, one of the island residents who used to be a well-regarded artist. Also. Ivy is a pain in the ass. BUT she also has a kind of socially awkward, cute assistant named Theo who thinks that Emaline is destined for bigger things than Colby.
Emaline is a total Dessen protagonist and I mean that in the greatest possible way. She has a good head on her shoulders, she has good friends, an interesting family, and is at a crossroads. She’s on the verge of leaving and becoming independent in college, East U. This is her last summer before school, to state the obvious. Emaline does a ton of internal reflection and we see that she’s making that awkward transition from past to future. I think if you’ve gone away to college or experienced a major life change that involved leaving home, you’ll understand what I mean. Anyways, on the one hand Theo and her father say that she’s too good for Colby, she’s too smart to stick around. On the other hand, there’s so much that Emaline LOVES about Colby and so she’s conflicted about her future. And well, I don’t want to go too much more in depth because spoilers are the worst for brand new books.
YOU GUYS! I am so excited to return to Colby. I absolutely loved Along For The Ride, so it was nice to return to a familiar location. We get to revisit the bike shop and the all night laundromat/cafe. It is awesome. PLUS! We get to see characters from Along For The Ride again. Anyways, this book made me want to take some of my vacation time and spend it on the beach riding bikes and eating shrimp burgers. I have to say, Dessen really does the beach setting very well. OH OH and while we’re talking about Easter eggs, our favorite fictional social network makes an appearance and there’s a few more you will spot and be glad to be in on the reference as the super fans you all are.
Of course, there are boys in The Moon And More, not just one but TWO! Luke is Emaline’s long time boyfriend and he’s pretty adorable. He’s apparently good looking without a shirt. Kids love him. And he gets along very, very well with others. However, the spark between Luke and Emaline seems to have faded out. Enter Theo. He’s pretty much a hipster, or that’s my impression of him because he wears girl jeans. Anyways, Theo is totally awkward, but he’s ambitious and has big dreams. He might be a contendor for Emaline’s heart, but yes, you’ll have to read to find out. Although, to be honest, I thought the love interests weren’t nearly as important as Emaline and her coming of age.
When it came to swooning and The Moon And More, I actually swooned WAY HARDER for the supporting couple of Daisy and Morris. They definitely are not the lead characters, however, their relationship is solid. PLUS, they are just so different. Morris is not exactly what you would call ambitious, he’s slow moving, but he’s a super nice guy and genuine. Daisy, on the other hand, is a super achiever and really into art and fashion. You’d think their coupling would be weird and off, but it’s actually quite sweet and one of my favorite things about Dessen’s latest.
This book didn’t feel a page over 200 — despite actually having over 400 pages. What I mean by this is that I inhaled Dessen’s prose, as one does when reading her books. I was so caught up in the drama between Emaline and her estranged father. But then I was also absorbed by all of the side characters, from Benji the awesome little brother to Amber, the dramatic hair stylist character, to Ivy and Clyde and Daisy and Morris. Seriously, one thing Dessen never skimps on is character. ALSO! The parent/child relationship in The Moon And More is wonderful. Emaline’s big crazy blended family all really care for one another and are supportive of each other when you get down to it. Also, you guys totally need to meet Emaline’s grandmother. She’s the bomb. (Well, if people still said THE BOMB)
Basically you can just boil this whole long review to this: you should definitely preorder The Moon And More by Sarah Dessen. Actually I am pretty sure that a few of you were already going to do that. It’s another great addition to your Dessen collection — especially if you loved Along For The Ride and Lock And Key. I fell in love with this book and really appreciate that it was about SO MUCH MORE than cute boys and swooning, but about actual things that matter, like the future and life and the paths we take.
Disclosure: Received for review
FYI: For more about The Moon And More, check out Sarah Dessen’s Blog Tour Stop HERE
Other reviews of The Moon And More by Sarah Dessen:
Chick Loves Lit – “Fans of Dessen won’t be disappointed”
Books by Sarah Dessen:
Along For The Ride