Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Hardcover: 435 pages 
Publisher: Penguin Group
Release Date: June 4, 2013
ISBN: 9780670785601
Source of my copy: publisher
Series: none
Synopsis (from Goodreads)

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've only read two books by Sarah Dessen before reading The Moon and More and I liked both. I especially LOVED The Truth About Forever, which is one of my all-time favorites. With that said, plus with Dessen being one of the reigning queens of contemporary YA today, I had high hopes for The Moon and More. Unfortunately, I read this novel during a time I was experiencing a reading slump (as well as stressed because I was working on my AP Lit paper at the time) and I initially scrabbled to keep up with the story, but eventually Emaline's character and what was happening in her life come together in my mind's eye. 

But I am glad I stuck with it and I'm happy to say I very much enjoyed The Moon and More.

Despite my reading slump and my preoccupation with school stuff, I was able to keep reading and I think it has a lot to do with Dessen's excellent voice and writing. I found my reading experience with The Moon and More wonderful and refreshing. 

It did start a bit slow, though. I was not able to immerse myself into the story until the drama of the novel picked up about 150 pages in or so. One of the expectations I had for The Moon and More was that it will be a quick and easy. It's not. In retrospect I shouldn't have expected that because while Sarah Dessen's books may have fluffy/cute looking covers, they are not in fact fluffy or cute. Her books tend have heavier elements and ideas to them that makes you reflect during and after reading. 

It was not different with The Moon and More. Here, ideas about love, the unknown versus the familiar and relationships were discussed and explored. So, although not an easy summer read, it was a great and diverting read nonetheless. How the themes of the novel were explored were so vivid and honest. Even now, days after I finished it, I still find myself thinking about Emaline and the lessons she learned and locking them away in my mind to remember for later because a year from now I am going to graduate from high school and I may find myself in Emaline's shoes.

I really like that Emaline and her friends and family live in a beach town. I can totally relate to that since I live on Maui. However, I couldn't connect with her as much as I wanted to. We have different values--for example, a big part of the novel is Emaline being very content living in the town where she's born, not wanting to live anywhere else while I am dying to get out of Maui and explore the world.

I thought that the characters were well-developed. They were real people with real lives. I liked watching each of the characters go through a gradual change throughout the book, either for the better or worse--where they ended up at the end of the novel was what they deserved or was in line with their character.

While I had issues with The Moon and More, most of them were personal issues and nothing for anyone to get discouraged by. The Moon and More is a good summer read, especially if you like a more introspected, thoughtful read. If you enjoyed Sarah Dessen's novels in the past then this one is worth picking up. 

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  1. Glad you enjoyed THE MOON AND MORE. It is a bit different from her other books -- which she even talks a bit about in her interview with us -- but we like that, even after so many successful novels, she's still pushing herself to try new things, new angles, with the same great writing and storytelling. :)

  2. I liked this book and appreciated how Dessen altered her typical plot but for me, it can't live up to This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever, which are two of my favorite novels of all time.


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