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I Belong

Early Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

Title: The Moon and More

Author: Sarah Dessen

Genre: YA Contemporary

Series: N/A

Publication Date: June 4, 2013

Format: Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN-10: 0670785601 (Viking/Penguin)

ISBN-13: 978-0670785605 (Viking/Penguin)

Reviewed by: Bridget


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.

Quick & Dirty: This was a cute contemporary read but parts of it really dragged for me.

Opening Sentence: Here they come.

Excerpt: No

The Review:

Emaline has one summer left in her home town of Colby.  She has lived in this small tourist town her whole life.  She has had the same sweet boyfriend since 9th grade, but this fall she is leaving for college and she wants her last summer to be special.  She works for the family business which is a place that rents out homes to tourists.  She has always had a pretty close relationship to her family but sometimes working in a family business can be stressful.  She has never really stepped much outside of her little world but this summer that is about to change.

She was raised by her mother who got pregnant the summer before her senior year of high school.  Emaline was adopted by her stepfather when she was 3 years old.  She never even met her real father until she was 10.  When she was getting ready to start applying for college her real father actually seemed to be interested and they started talking over email quite often.  He offered to pay for college and wanted her to get into a good college if possible.  She ended up getting into Columbia but when she informed her father of this he said that he would no longer be able to help her and has cut off all contact until now.  It turns out he is coming to stay this summer and he is bringing his 10 year old son Benji with him.  Emaline is hoping that she can reconnect with her father and maybe have a real relationship with him.

On top of that she is starting to have problems with her long time boyfriend Luke.  She has been with Luke forever, but sometimes Emaline wonders if they are really meant to be.  Luke is familiar and safe, but sometimes that gets boring.  There is a cute boy that has moved into one of her families rental homes.  Theo is sweet and from New York and he is in Colby working on a documentary.  He is way different than anything Emaline is use to and she finds him interesting and exciting.  Emaline has a lot to learn about herself and what she truly wants in her life.

Emaline is a very interesting character.  There were times when I had a hard time liking her and other times when I adored her.  She seems very ungrateful for what she has in life, but by the end she really finds herself and figures out what is really important.  I feel that at times she was really naïve, but watching her learn and grow from her mistakes is what really made this book.  You really get to see how her relationships in her life affect her and the choices she makes.  Overall, I liked her as a character even with all her flaws.

This was a pretty cute book.  I am going to be honest, I felt that they could have cut out half of this book and it would have been much better.  I mean it was over 400 pages and it felt like it, but with that being said the end of the book really made it worth it.  I loved the message that was conveyed:  you need to stay true to yourself and your roots no matter where you go or what you do.  There was romance in this book but it played a very small part in the story.  This is my first Sarah Dessen book and I really enjoyed her writing, and I would love to read some of her other books.  Overall, I did enjoy this book, I just felt that it was too long and dragged a little too much.  I would recommend this to anyone that has enjoyed other books by Dessen or likes YA contemporary.

Notable Scene:

“It’s relatively recent.  Since we decided to separate.  We figured it would make it easier for Leah and me to stay close to him.”


“Can I get you something to drink?”  the waitress, finally appearing, asked from the end of the table.

“Water for me,” I blurted out, too quickly.  My father, after consulting the beer list, asked for some microbrew I’d never heard of.  As she went to the bar, we were both quiet for a moment.  Then I swallowed and said, “I didn’t realize you and Leah had…”

He looked up from the beer menu, meeting my eyes.  Suddenly the more tired expression, how he seemed older somehow, made sense.  “We only decided a few months ago.  Benji doesn’t know yet.”

I nodded, all the while doing the math in my head.  A few months ago had been just after my acceptance to Columbia.  This, then, was the Unforseen Circumstance, that forced his own We regret to inform you.

FTC Advisory: Viking/Penguin provided me with a copy of The Moon and More. No goody bags, sponsorships, “material connections,” or bribes were exchanged for my review.

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