Genre: YA Realistic Fiction
Pub. Date: June 4, 2013
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Goodreads says, "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."Born and bred in the beach town of Colby, Emaline, at first glance, seems to have it all. She works for her family's realty company, she has awesome best friends, she has a full scholarship to college, and a dreamy boyfriend, Luke. But Emaline has a nagging feeling that she wants more for her life and perhaps there is more out there? It's the summer before college and change is brewing in Emaline's life. Things aren't that great with her long-time boyfriend, Luke, and she hasn't heard from her father in months; in fact, he didn't even show up at her graduation. She has a great relationship with her mom, grandmother, sisters, and step-dad, whom she lovingly refers to as "dad" since he is the one that raised her; however, she can't get past how her father left her high and dry. He pushed her to get accepted to an Ivy League school and get the heck out of Colby, but when push came to shove, he dropped the ball. While Emaline is dealing with all this upset, she meets Theo, a New Yorker, who is working in Colby for the summer assisting an accomplished documentary film maker. He is unlike anyone Emaline has met and he pushes her to think about life outside of her sleepy beach town. The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen is classic Sarah Dessen: you've got the beach, a long summer, but more importantly, you've got a character, Emaline, at the crossroads of her life. She'll learn and grow this summer more than any other summer of her life.
Dessen always creates characters that I can relate to and Emaline has a good head on her shoulders. She is smart, tries hard, is fiercely independent and cares about her friends and family. I really liked how she grew up in The Moon and More and her relationships are what really drew me in. First, you have the relationship with her father. He comes back into the picture in The Moon and More along with her step-brother, Benji. Emaline finds herself trying to salvage what relationship she had with her father and forging a new one with her younger brother. There's also her best friends, Daisy and Morris. I loved these two characters! Dessen always knows how to create secondary characters that are just, if not MORE, memorable and likable than the main characters.
Now onto Theo. Theo, Theo, Theo. What a tool. Seriously. I couldn't stand this character, which is unusual in a Dessen novel. For me, I seem to somehow always care about the characters that Dessen creates (except for Rogerson), but I couldn't empathize with or even enjoy Theo at.all. He drove me nuts. He was awkward, annoying, a name dropper and just too much. He was over the top. I know he was supposed to be, but as a love interest, it just didn't work for me. I found myself gravitating towards the local cutie Luke, even though he isn't perfect by any means. BUT The Moon and More isn't about a love triangle. It is so much more. It's about Emaline's relationship with herself and figuring out what she wants out of life before she goes off to college. And I love that.
Needless to say, I am a huge Dessen fan and her writing style is one of my favorites. Fans won't be disappointed with her writing in The Moon and More. Speaking of her writing, I love Dessen's fictional beach town of Colby. I love this little world she created. I seriously want to move there. Dessen does a fantastic job bringing Colby to life and some of its eccentric residents. I also adore how some of her other characters from her other novels make cameos in The Moon and More including other settings, such as Clementines and Last Chance Cafe. I love making that connection and revisiting a favorite character and location.
Now The Moon and More didn't "wow" me in the romance department like some other Dessen novels, but Emaline's life and her choices were just as entertaining, if not more. I, along with Emaline's mother, wanted the moon and more for her and we all know that isn't about dating your high school boyfriend...it's about so much more and Dessen illustrated that beautifully.