Wednesday, June 5, 2013
The Moon and More
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen
Source: Received an ARC from publisher in exchange for an honest review.
I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan; I've read all of our books and thus was thrilled to receive an early copy of her latest release. With the gorgeous cover, I was expecting my usual Dessen comfort read. Could it live up to the impossibly high standards set by This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever? Probably not but it would still be good. I was right to predict that this would not be my favorite Dessen but for different reasons than I expected.
For me, I think my love of Dessen relates mostly to her amazing writing that builds fantastic characters, rich and complex yet realistic contemporary worlds, and sawoony romances (see Remy + Dex and Macy + Wes). Well those first two are present here but the last one is mostly missing. Although I had felt Dessen's novels were becoming a bit formulaic (especially noticeable to me in What Happened to Goodbye and the reason I thought I might not like this one), this change still didn't entirely please me. I don't want to spoil anything but you can email me to discuss :)
The book opens with Emaline in a relationship with Luke, possibly the hottest young guy in town. But as the summer before college progresses, Emaline finds herself drawn to something new, maybe something more with summer visitor Theo. Sounds very romantic, right? Well, that relationship never really flourishes like the two I previously mentioned as Emaline grapples with family tensions and with trying to figure out her own desires in comparison to how Theo plunges ahead. Her mother has always wanted "the moon and more" for her but what does that mean to Emaline?
As I said, the romance wasn't as dreamy as previous relationships in Dessen novels with Theo trying way too hard and Emaline tolerating his try. There were some awkward parts to me although I believe that was intentional on Dessen's part. On the family side, I wish we had gotten to know Emaline's older sisters a bit better (I'm thinking of the family dynamic in Just Listen especially) but at least we have her friends Morris and Daisy whose colorfulness certainly brightened my day.
Overall: For me, this book was mostly a victim of my expectations: I appreciate every Dessen book I get even though I don't always love them. I still think this is a great summer read and I definitely recommend it to fans of Dessen's previous novels as well as those looking for a great summer contemporary read.
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