Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Source/Format: Library / Hardcover, 435 pages
Opening Sentence: “Here they come.”
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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.
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.
I want to say—before I say anything else—that I’m a pretty big Sarah Dessen fan. I tried not to be biased while reading The Moon and More, and I’ll try not to be biased while I write this review.
To be completely honest: during the middle of The Moon and More I was extremely unsure of how I felt about it. I was liking it, but I was also kind of not liking it. Some of that was for personal reasons, but most of it was due to issues with the characters.
I liked the main character, Emaline, LOVED her family, and really enjoyed reading about her friends and life. I, however, could not STAND Theo. From the moment he entered the story it was one long “Ugh!”. It was fine when he wasn’t there, but when he appeared again I just wasn’t feeling it. (BUT: I really liked Luke. He made a mistake, but I still would have chosen him. Sigh.)
I feel like Emaline was one of the first characters in a looong time that I was able to identify with. And it wasn’t just a decent level of understanding, but full on empathizing with her. I feel like I can never give Sarah Dessen enough kudos for how SPOT ON Emaline’s relationship with her estranged father was. A few times I had to put down the book and talk to my mom about how realistic it was and how much I wondered, “How did she know that? I thought I was the only one.” It’s very bittersweet, but ultimately made me love the book more. (Edit: Honestly, even after a couple weeks I’m still thinking about how realistic and true the little things were. Snaps for Sarah Dessen. Seriously.)
Along with the estranged father plot line there’s Emiline bonding with her younger brother (you guys will love him. He’s so adorable.), boy troubles and swooning, and other general life changes and things. There’s a lot going on in The Moon and More now that I think about it, but it’s all totally interesting and amazingly (sometimes agonizingly) realistic and makes the book A+.
By the end of The Moon and More my faith was completely restored. I loved the way it ended and will actually sort of miss a lot of the characters. If you like Contemporary I definitely recommend this one. It’s a bit more serious than a lot of other Dessen books (Dreamland excluded), but it’s really fantastic and worth the read.