Title: THE MOON AND MORE
Author: Sarah Dessen
Published: June 4th 2013
Genre: YA contemporary
POV: 1st, past tense
Rating: 4 out of 5
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?
Highlights: THE MOON AND MORE is not Dessen's best story, but it does have that standard Sarah Dessen charm lingering in each and every line. Emaline is a fantastic narrator, and her coming-of-age story was interesting to watch unfold. Side characters are Dessen's strong point (sweet little Benji!), especially in regard to Emaline's BFF's Morris1 and Daisy. I loved Morris and his simplistic but meaningful observations. Family and friendship are important in this story, and Dessen expertly shows the ups and downs of both. All in all, THE MOON AND MORE is a great story about friendship, family, small-towns, dreams, and growing up.
Lowlights: Dessen is well known (or should be) for her swoonworthy love interests: Wes, Eli, Dexter, Owen...oh, sorry. I got a little carried away there. So anyway, I was surprised to find myself disliking both love interests in this novel. Theo even inspired a list called characters-I-want-to-slap-or-punch-in-the-face1. I also had a hard time enjoying Luke's character, because of something he does early in the story. I also wish there had been more scenes with Emaline's family.
Allusions: Appearances by Maggie, Heidi, Auden, Esther, Clyde, Wallace, and includes establishments such as (no, no, no to) Tallyho, Clementine's, and The Washroom from ALONG FOR THE RIDE. Last Chance Cafe and possibly Coley (but I'm not certain about her) from KEEPING THE MOON. Quick mention of Wes1 and Bert, along with the game gotcha! from THE TRUTH ABOUT FOREVER. The worst-band-ever, Spinnerbait, gained a brief mention and they are from THIS LULLABY. There might be more that I didn't catch or simply forgot to jot down on paper.
1 How awesome is it that he and Emaline are friends, and only friends? No romance involved!
2 I feel like Theo was that kid who tripped other children during a race back in elementary school, just so he could get ahead of everyone else and win -- his personality is so unattractive and selfish. I don't know how Emaline could stand him and his better-than-all-of-you-small-town-hicks attitude.
3 Oh, Wes. I wish you were in this book. *swoons*