May 20, 2015

The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen

The Moon and More book cover
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Publication Date: May 5, 2015 (first pub. 1/1/2013)
Source/Format: Publisher (Thanks!) || Paperback
[I received this book from the publisher. This in no way affects the contents expressed in my review.]

Emaline is a Colby native, and so summer at the beach for her means hard work and a new population of beach goers. During this, her last summer before college, Emaline meets Theo while working for her family’s rental business. He’s a city boy who’s come to Colby as the assistant to a high-strung documentary filmmaker who’s in town to profile a reclusive local artist. Emaline knows he’s not her type, but she can’t help feeling drawn to him. And as their relationship develops, Emaline finds herself questioning her own goals, values, and choices.

Finishing The Moon and More marks my completion of the Sarah Dessen reading list, a proud moment for this Dessen fangirl! It’s a fitting novel to end with, since it possesses Dessen’s signature charm combined with something new (in the way that Saint Anything is also something new for Dessen). Curling up with this novel was like returning to an old favorite, as it was all too easy to allow myself to get swept up in Emaline – her story, her life, her relationships. While it’s not my favorite Dessen novel, it definitely inspired some serious nostalgia… but I’ll get to that shortly.

Dessen writes genuinely great characters, and Emaline is no exception. She’s a girl who knows Colby like the back of her hand, having spent her entire life in a small town where everyone knows everyone and their business. Her familiarity with her surroundings and her solid relationships with family and friends definitely anchor her to Colby. But, like most teens, Emaline is also curious, smart and still trying to figure out what it is she really wants out of life. Brand new opportunities begin to crop up, and they challenge Emaline to figure out what it is she really wants and how to stay true to herself while she pursues it. On top of that, Emaline also has to deal with issues in her family and her love life too! Emaline’s life is a testament to how life is complicated and messy in many areas, something that Dessen has always done particularly well. 

Nostalgia, which I mentioned earlier, is a big part of the reason I liked The Moon and More. I definitely didn’t live in a beach town, work for my family business or have the same romantic entanglements. But Emaline’s internal struggles, particularly when it came to the future and the changes it would bring, were so easy to relate to. How do you hold on to the things you love, the things that shaped you, even as you want to leave and chase after your dreams, even as they hurt you? These conflicting emotions were something I recognized in my own past, and because of that, I was rooting for Emaline to find her way. Dessen really captures this particular time in a teen’s life – the summer before college – perfectly. 

Simply put, The Moon and More was special because of how much I personally found ways to relate to Emaline. Plus, this story has the familiarity of Colby, the wonderfully written family dynamics and friendships and a fun cameo or two! Dessen writes yet another story of a teen’s life that’s compelling and true, and her signature style wooed me in again right from the start. I’m so glad to finally have read The Moon and More, and would certainly recommend it for other Dessen fangirls and contemporary YA readers.


  1. I love Dessen, too, but haven't read this one yet! The good thing is, they always make for perfect beach reads, so I'll probably end up getting around to it this summer. Great review!

  2. So... I've never read a sarah dessen book. I know, I know! But I've just never been sure if I'd like it? For some reason they sound... younger, even for YA? I'm not sure why I have that preconception. But this one does sound really good, esp as the summer before college setting! I will definitely have to read a dessen sometime -- maybe this summer!

  3. That's so cool that you related to this book so much. I finally read my 1st Dessen book, lol. That Summer (as part of Penguin's campaign as well) but Idk if that's a good book to start w/bc I liked it, but I didn't love it, lol. This one sounds like a good one though.


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