Allison: The Moon and More | Sarah Dessen | Book Review

I’ve always heard that there is a special feeling you get when you read a Sarah Dessen novel. Some say it’s a feeling like coming home. Other say that it’s a sensation you only get from the perfect beach read. Luckily, I think I recently discovered when this feel is like for me: it’s a feeling of warmth as if you were slipping underneath your favorite fuzzy blanket and settling in for the night. That is the feeling that I got from reading The Moon and More, my first Sarah Dessen novel.

The Moon And More by Sarah Dessen | Good Books And Good Wine

Emaline has always dreamt of having a summer vacation filled with excitement like the tourists she sees coming to her hometown of Colby. However, it doesn’t appear like that is going to happen this summer when she is tuck handling out towels and other random vacation accessories at her family’s beachside properties. She’s positive that this summer will be just like all the others as she spends her days before college working and hanging out with her boyfriend Luke.  And she’s mostly right … that is until she encounters Theo a young film student staying at one of the properties with his boss, a film director trying to create a documentary about an elusive artist living in Colby. Before long Emaline finds herself attracted to Theo, the young film student, and all of his visions of a bigger and more sophisticated life outside of Colby. Add in the fact that her estranged father is in town with her half brother, and suddenly this summer doesn’t seem to be so much like the others before.

As a main character, Emaline shines. She has a good head on her shoulders along with some good friends and for the most part a good family. Her family life is a bit complicated but it keeps the book interesting. She has spent most of her life with her mother, step-father, and two step-sisters with her father sprinting in and out of her life depending on what was going on at the time. She’s never really depended on him especially since the one time that she did he let her down in one of the worst ways imaginable. Emaline is on the verge of leaving her hometown and becoming independent in college but first she must survive the summer. And in order to survive the summer, she must figure out how to make that ever so awkward transition from young girl to young woman. You know the one where you have to figure out how to let the past go and move on into an even brighter future? Yeah, that’s the one and as anyone knows who has ever experienced it; it’s definitely not an easy transition to go through.

I could really relate to Emaline because I had to go through that type of transition myself. I think even at 26 years old I’m still kind of going through that transition. Why? Because there is a part of me that wants desperately to hold onto the small town life that I’ve always known, even after college but, there is a big part of me that wants to move on and move away from this place. I’ve never really known how to do it, and even when I was away at college, I was still coming home at certain points, so I never necessarily got the complete break I may have needed to move on. Not to say I need a total break from my hometown but sometimes I can’t help but wonder what would happen if I didn’t have it so easily close to me to be pulled back in, you know? Still regardless like Emaline I’ve learned that things don’t always necessarily come easily and that you must take the bad along with the good in order to truly find your path in life.

What I really liked about The Moon and More was the way that the coming age story was the focus. Yes, there was a bit of a love triangle but honestly I never really felt my attention was being held on that. I wasn’t “Team Luke” or “Team Theo” but instead I was “Team Emaline”. My feelings were being held by what Emaline was thinking and feeling and how she was developing as a character. I guess in part this was related to the love triangle but to me that was just a process that she had to go through in order to discover who she was really was and where she was really heading. Likewise, the interactions with the family and in particularly her father and step-brother did the same things for me. I liked how the interactions with them and others around her began to show Emaline the type of person that she did not want to become. Also, her step brother was the cutest thing! He made me smile by doing the simplest things in the book.

All in all, I can definitely see what Sarah Dessen’s books are so popular. As I said before, reading The Moon and More gave the sensation of pulling a warm blanket over me and comfortably snuggling right in. It had just the right amount of fluff but still wasn’t afraid to throw in a few difficult situations that made the characters (in particular Emaline) grow and develop. The situations are not far fetched either, they are entirely relatable to someone who may be reading this book from a young adult perspective. Growing up is never an easy thing but to me it was always more enjoyable when there were books or characters out there that I felt I could share my experience with. I could live vicariously through them and for me Emaline was easily a character I could see myself sharing my young girl to young adult transitional story with. I think we could have made a good pair, and I would easily recommend you check out her story too.

Disclosure: Borrowed from local library

Other reviews of The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen:

Tripping Over Books: “THE MOON AND MORE is a really solid contemporary, friends.

Rather Be Reading: “My book-loving-heart was so full of hope going in to The Moon and More, but I wish I felt a bit more satisfied after finishing it.

 Fiction Folio: “The Moon and More did not disappoint with the little nuggets of quote gold at the end of each chapter.

April’s Review: “I fell in love with this book and really appreciate that it was about SO MUCH MORE than cute boys and swooning…

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Allison is 27 years old. She is always looking for new books, good music, quality/epic adventures, and a normal sleep schedule. She currently works with the elderly.


  1. One of my favourite things about Dessen’s novel is the family life she creates for her characters. I loved Emaline’s interactions with her family in this one; they really made the book for me. I totally agree about the books being relatable. I loved reading about Emaline making these tough decisions in a way that was so relatable to so many people. I was hoping for a little bit more romance in The Moon and More because I love the way Dessen writes romance, but it was still a completely enjoyable read. Slipping under a warm blanket sounds about right to me.

  2. That’s a great way to describe reading a Sarah Dessen book … and now I wish I were reading one RIGHT NOW. Seriously. I love it when a new book of Sarah’s comes out because I know I’m going to devour it. LOVE this one, by the way!

  3. YESSSS! Allison now you need to read ALL THE SARAH DESSEN BOOKS EVER.

    Also, I love what you say about being Team Emmaline.

    AND OMG about the fuzzy blanket! THAT IS A TRUTH.

  4. This is the only Sarah Dessen book I have yet to read, but I’m glad to hear that you enjoyed it. I’m excited to dive into it, especially because I’m a sucker for a good coming-of-age story.

  5. Great to read a review of this as someone’s first Dessen-I, and others, compared it (unfavorably) to some of her earlier works because she’s set a high bar but it’s great to see it without those comparisons. Now you need to read more Dessen 🙂