Luke is the perfect boyfriend: handsome, kind, fun. He and Emeline have been together all through high school in Colby, the beach town where they both grew up. But now, in the summer before college, Emeline 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 Emeline is much too smart for Colby.
Emeline’s mostly-absentee father, too, thinks Emeline should have a bigger life, and he’s convinced that an Ivy League education is the only route to realizing her potential. Emeline 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?
Emeline wants the moon and more, but how can she balance where she comes from with where she’s going?
Sarah Dessen has done it again. She has written yet another book about a teenage girl going through a time of great change with a little romance thrown in and I loved it.
Typically I’m not drawn to authors that follow similar patterns with their writing because it just feels very repetitive, but somehow Sarah manages to make each of her books feel really different, when in reality they follow a similar pattern. I give her major props for being able to do this, not many people can.
The Moon and More follows Emeline (Australian spelling, American is Emaline) through her summer before college when she is faced with some real life struggles and truths. She has to face the reality of her relationship with her boyfriend Luke, her absent Father, her half-brother and balance this all with friendships, work and family.
Sarah is very well known for her work in contemporary realism, particularly for young women and has written a number of other novels (which I love). What makes this book stand out amongst her other works is that this is a story about empowerment and doing what you want to do, not what others want you to do. Emeline is very influenced by other people, particularly wanting to get her father’s approval. She struggles with her relationship with him, feeling like she is hurting her mother by keeping in contact.
I think this is a story that’s really relevant at the moment, blended families are more common now than before and it’s something a lot of people could relate to. The romance is a big part of the book, but really Sarah takes her readers on the character’s journey. She doesn’t just tell the reader a love story; it’s all about change and character growth, especially with this novel.
Something else that Sarah does is create a world for her readers and then in different books explore different sides and characters in that world. For example in this book, Luke’s cousins are the main male characters in another book, The Truth About Forever. This intertextuality is something Sarah’s fans look out for and love. It’s like a little inside joke between Sarah and her fans.
This is something any young girl should read, even ones that aren’t found of soppy love stories, because it’s not a typical love story. It’s a story about a girl going through a huge period of change and wanting to blend who she is with who she’s going to become. A lesson everyone needs to learn at some point.
4 stars out of 5.