Thursday, June 27, 2013

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Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Allie Gallerani
Series: n/a
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: June 4, 2013
Source: received from publisher via Audiobook Jukebox
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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.

Okay, so I'm late to the Sarah Dessen fandom.  And besides this book, I've only read one other by the author:  Along for the Ride.  How awesome, though, that the two books are set in the same town of Colby, with some cameos from characters I already know...even if I barely remember them now.  I always mean to pick up more Dessen books...I actually just purchased a couple from the used bookstore in March, but I still haven't gotten around to those yet.

I'd been contemplating this book for awhile, but when the offer to review the audiobook came along, I couldn't resist.  I'd not listened to anything from this narrator before, but I loved the audio for Along for the Ride, so it was a pretty good indication that Dessen books make for good audiobooks.  And the audio for The Moon and More was no different.  The narrator had great pacing and great timing, and though I think some characters could have come across better so as to stand out in the large cast of characters, I really enjoyed the presentation overall.

I think what I love best about the Dessen books I have read, and what most people site as their favorite aspect, is the family dynamic.  The families in these books aren't perfect, they have flaws and they make mistakes.  But even so, they grow and learn and become better together.  They vascillate between being good role models and being cautionary tales.  But they're realistic, and the fact that they're not perfect makes them a lot easier to relate to.

I also love that these are true coming-of-age stories.  Yes, there's some romance thrown in for good measure, but I didn't see it as the focus of Along for the Ride or The Moon and More.  In this novel, the "romance" -- I won't call it a love story because I never felt that love even entered the equation -- was probably my least favorite facet of the story.  From a whirlwind break-up to a whirlwind summer fling, I just never felt invested.

What I was most captivated by was Emaline herself.  Determined and level-headed Emaline thought she had everything all planned out.  Then her biological father enters the picture, stirring things up by offering to help Emaline out with college.  Then she and her boyfriend of three years break up.  She meets opinionated, artistic Theo.  Suddenly everything has changed and Emaline is just a confused girl, going through the motions while she tries to make sense of everything.  That summer right after high school is a rather pivotal time in a young person's life, and it endeared Emaline's character to me even more that she struggled with where her life was headed and who she was now, rather than having it all figured out like she thought she did.

I loved the hopeful, open ending of this story.  I love that nothing was set in stone, except Emaline's resolve to branch out on her own, to make decisions for herself.  And I probably liked best the fact that none of Emaline's decisions ended up revolving around a boy.  This novel was pretty much what I expected and hoped it would be:  a story of an empowered young woman, looking to make her mark on the world.  This is exactly the kind of book I could have used back then, and it's definitely the kind of book I'll hold onto for my daughter to read when she's ready.

Rating:  photo 4-1.png

About the author:

Sarah Dessen grew up in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and attended UNC-Chapel Hill, graduating with highest honors in Creative Writing. She is the author of several novels, including Someone Like You, Just Listen and Along for the Ride. A motion picture based on her first two books, entitled How to Deal, was released in 2003. Her eleventh novel, The Moon and More, will be published in June 2013. She lives in North Carolina.

Find Sarah:

Website | BlogTwitter | FacebookGoodreads


  1. You can't go wrong with a Sarah Dessen book. Especially for summer reading. They just go hand in hand.

  2. Agreed on all accounts. I loved Emaline herself and her family was awesome and realistic, but I wasn't at all invested in the "romance" and that was by far my least favorite part. I did like the ending and think that this is a great book for actually teens. Great review!

  3. Completely agree and glad you enjoyed this. Some of Dessen's books do have a stronger romantic plot, but all of them feature great family relationships and realistic issues.

  4. I am also somewhat new to Sarah Dessen, I think I have read only one of her books. I think I will give this one a shot although I don't appreciate open-endings that much, I like to be told everything-ha! The romance sounds a bit shallow as well. Thanks for an honest review!

    Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

  5. Along the Ride is the only one of her books I've read so far! I didn't love it though, for some reason. But I really want to read this one and it's kinda cool they take place in the same town. And I sure remember that last summer after high school. It was one of the best times but also held so many questions. :)

  6. I'm embarrassed to admit I've never read anything of Dessens...I should change that!

  7. Yay! I've only read one or two other reviews for this one and the one I did read trashed it so....I'm glad you really liked it and that you liked the character! I absolutely trust your opinion so you restored my want for this one...and will probably pick up the audiobook of it now! :)

  8. I have only read one Sarah Dessen book too... well now you have read two... I have only read Someone Like you. I felt a little disappointed. I think I had really high expectations because of all the raving reviews I have seen for her books. I did like the family aspect in the book also. I will check this one out and not give up on her books. Maybe there are some I will love. great review.


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