I’ve been reading The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen for the past few days, and just finished it this morning. This is Sarah’s eleventh novel, and chronicles the summer of Emaline, a local to Colby (the beach town regular readers will recognize from Keeping the Moon, Along for the Ride, and others). Emaline is working for her family’s realty business, and since this is a classic Sarah Dessen summer novel, her entire life path and outlook is morphed by events within the novel. Unlike Sarah Dessen’s other novels, however, the book begins with Emaline already in a relationship, and follows how that relationship is affected by Theo’s entrance, an aspiring filmmaker from New York who is assisting a woman making a film about one of Colby’s own (hint: we’ve seen this character in many of the Colby-based novels).
The Moon and More was a fantastic read, and readers of Sarah Dessen will not be disappointed. For those of you who are used to Sarah’s usual “skeleton” setup, be ready for a bit of a change. Personally, I was excited to see that Sarah’s normal pattern of how events play out in the novels was a little different in this book. A very refreshing read. However, one thing that bothered me was that one of the beach rentals that Emaline manages is named Sand Dollars, but there are a few moments in the book when she refers to this mansion as Sand Castles. I’m pretty sure this is due to a name change that occurred somewhere in the writing or editing process, but was for some reason unnoticed in final edits. Other than that name, though, all of the other relationships and names had consistency. The most intriguing relationships, in my opinion, are between Emaline and her father, Emaline and her mother, and Emaline and her sister Margo.
Not to give anything away, but the mother-daughter relationship in this novel is slightly unusual compared to other Dessen novels, but again, this was a welcomed change. Emaline also had a bit of a different personality from other protagonists, as she is a local to Colby, which this detail in itself is unusual, and she has an outlook that is different from Auden in Along for the Ride, who is an outsider looking into the Colby lifestyle. We get a sense of the feelings of those who have grown up in Colby have about outsiders, summer, the beach, and Colby. I liked Emaline as a protagonist, and she seemed slightly surer of herself than other Dessen leads. In true Sarah Dessen fashion, The Moon and More focuses on how certain choices and events lead to a crossroads, and how in the summertime anything is possible. She also shows that people can just go along, thinking nothing is changing in their lives, until that moment when everything changes all at once.
As far as style, Sarah Dessen is witty, sarcastic, humorous, reflective, and thought provoking. She always has little gems thrown into her stories, making a grander statement about society, family, or just about loving yourself. The thing with Sarah Dessen is this: I started reading her in the seventh grade when I felt alone, insecure, and distraught about fitting in. I may be much more confident today as an 18, almost 19-year-old girl, but she will always have a place in my heart, and I will continue to read whatever book she releases. She always has knockout quotes, and here are a few from The Moon and More that stuck with me:
“…Trying to break it down this way, to minor and major offenses, maybes and what-ifs, was like arguing over the origin of cracks in a broken egg. It was done. How it happened didn’t matter anymore.”
“That was the problem, though. When you’ve never gotten love from someone, you don’t know what it might look like if it ever does appear. You look for it in everything: any bright light overhead could be a star.”
“The thing is, you can’t always have the best of everything.”
My takeaway from this novel: Be thankful for what you have, admire where you come from, accept that not everyone will see things your way, and accept that change can be for the better.
That’s it, folks. A small summary/review of The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen. Go pick up a copy if you haven’t already, and have a great weekend (although in summer, every day feels like the weekend).