Book Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Realistic Fiction 
Publisher: Penguin
Publication Date: 4th June 2013 
Pages: 448
Rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
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?

My Review:

I love Sarah Dessen novels and The Moon and More is no exception. Emaline never expected The Last Summer before leaving for college to get so complicated. There’s working for the family realty business, her absent father coming back into her life and the breakdown of her longterm romance with Luke. And then there’s Theo, a New York City dweller who is anything like the locals of Colby.

The thing that I love most about Sarah Dessen novels is how real they always feel to me when I’m reading them. Despite it being the depths of winter here at the moment, I felt like I was in the beach town with Emaline, riding along when she’s dealing with difficult clients or walking down the boardwalk with best friend Daisy. The characters are rich with flaws and it’s because of this that makes them relatable and real. The brief mentions of people and places that appear in previous novels really bring the reader into the book by making the universe just that bit more developed. It’s a really special thing that Dessen achieves. Emaline was a character I enjoyed reading about from the first page, melting in the sand box and conversing with new renters. She’s mature but completely believable as the new adult she’s becoming. Theo is so very exuberant and I found myself thrilled that he wasn’t the typical new love interest that often come along in these sorts of books. He’s a bit pretentious and So Very Enthusiastic. About everything! But he’s written in a way that I found that to be both so very charming and endearing and at the same time Frustratingly Annoying. His Big City Thinking and way of life contrasted so very well with the laid back locals. Morris and Daisy are the kinds of friends I want. They’re supportive and yet, they don’t let their friends walk over them because they’re friends. They are authentic and perfect to help Emaline navigate her life changing summer.

I enjoyed that this book had romantic relationships within it but what the novel came down to was Emaline finding herself as a person and not defining herself by anyone else. The bonds between family, biological or not, were explored fanatically. The connection between Emaline and her sisters versus the way she interacted with her brother were interesting to read. I adored the diversity between the family relationships and the way Emaline handled herself when things got tough.

It’s a beautifully crafted novel with plot and characters that I loved getting to know over the course of the story.

Purchase the novel from:

 Book Depository


  1. I’ve been wanting to start reading Sarah Dessen again – maybe this will be a good one to start with. I loved Just Listen, and that was so long ago that I lost track of what she was publishing next!

  2. Glad that you really enjoyed this one too! I love Sarah’s books, you’re right, they always feel real and the characters were relatable and real too. 🙂 I really loved the references to the characters from her previous books! Great review! 🙂

    Alice @ Alice in Readerland

  3. I bought this book a few weeks ago with every intention of reading it that night, but I decided I wanted to read all of Sarah Dessen books over again before reading it. I might have to not do that because I’ve heard great things about this book!

    • I don’t think it’s ever a bad idea to re-read books if you really enjoyed them – and Sarah Dessen is one of those authors that I’d love to read though all over again.

      I hope when you read The Moon and More that you enjoy it as much as I did!

  4. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d love to see as a movie/TV show | whY.A.not?

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