Sunday 18 August 2013

Book Review - The Moon and More

Title: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Penguin
Release Date: 4 Jun 2013
ISBN-13: 978-0141348292

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 am a massive Sarah Dessen fan, I have read every single one of her books and was so excited when this one was announced, I waited for it to come in at the library and was so excited when it finally arrived this week. 
Her books are perfect chill out, holiday/day off reads, easy to read, gripping and fun. I love how her books always cross over slightly, a character or place from one of her other books is mentioned, I find that really cool.
This book follows Emaline, she lives with her mum and 'dad' (actually step-dad and 2 step-sisters) but seeing as her mum married him when Emaline was 3 she pretty much counts him as her dad. They live in Colby on a Beach resort and Emaline works hard over the summer with her family, checking in families, making sure the beach condos are prepared, delivering towels and whatever else the guests need and generally runs around after everyone else. Between all that she tries to find time to spend with her boyfriend Luke. They've been dating since 9th grade and seem to be the perfect couple.
I have to say straight off that I really like Emaline as a character, she's sassy and funny and a hard-worker, she may not like or enjoy what she's doing a lot of the time but she's good at it and she doesn't moan about things. Luke also seems really cool and sweet. Her whole family unit are there behind her and she has great support from them. But part of her does want more than all of this. 
Things get more confusing for her when her 'father' turns up. She hasn't had much contact with him and when she did he ended up letting her down so she has some unresolved issues with him. Throughout the book I wanted to shake this man and tell him to open his eyes, shut his mouth and grow up. He is truly frustrating and I wanted so much better for Emaline from him. The only good thing about him is that he brings Benji with him - his 10 year old son and Emaline's half-brother. That kid is seriously cute!
Then a Hollywood couple arrive on the scene, one of the residents in the town apparently used to be a famous artist and they want to do a documentary on him. Ivy is a famous director but a total Diva and Theo is her assistant and general dogs body, I didn't like either of them to start with and they didn't particularly warm me to them either. And when Emaline starts to feel attracted to Theo I couldn't understand it. The guy was a serious creep.
However I was glad that Dessen avoided the whole love-triangle thing, this is much better done, Luke and Emaline are over before Theo is brought into that role. 
This book had moments of intense frustration for me, I couldn't understand why characters were behaving how they did - why they made those choices, but I suppose that's real life - we never know for sure why people do what they do.
I loved the ending, it was refreshing and gave a real hopeful and uplifting feel, and although nothing was definite, you had a good feeling about the characters. 

I loved the setting and characters and once again Dessen made me care about them all and want to keep reading. I actually sat down tonight with the idea I would read for an hour and then put it down, but 3 hours later I had finished the entire book. I just couldn't make myself put it down.

My Rating

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