The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen is a brand new YA book this year. I really like Sarah Dessen as an author. She writes deeper/thought provoking stories that are relateable; it's not just a chick-lit/beach read. Plus, one of my favorite genres is realistic fiction and that just happens to be her genre. I like her a lot as you can tell from three of her other books I've reviewed.
Now, with that being said, I think The Moon and More was one of my least favorite Dessen books. I still enjoyed it but I think I'd give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.
Overall, I liked Emaline, the main character, and I felt she was characterized well for being an 18 year old who just graduated from high school. I felt some of the things she did were very real, and also very funny. She had her awkward moments and I felt for her. She was a good character with a lot of issues/baggage including dealing with the many hurt feelings and issues associated with her "father" (biological but never there). I thought the idea of Emaline was good. However, I didn't think the growth Emaline was making was really written well and/or clearly. It seemed choppy and confusing. At one point, okay throughout the majority of the story, Emaline was dating Theo. I felt a lot of pain for Theo. He was awkward and clumsy at the whole dating thing, but also I didn't think he was good for Emaline. Emaline stated that she liked him and kept saying ways that he was good for her. However, I couldn't like him at all for many reasons, and I didn't see how he was good for her. I just felt that overall the characterization throughout the story was weak and clumsily written even though it had potential. .
For the most part I did enjoy the plot/storyline of The Moon and More, and I did find humor in many situations. For example on page 31 "Once a school supply nerd always a school supply nerd." This I loved b/c I know many people that love buying school supplies and organizing things etc. I also felt there were parts of the story that were deep and inspiring. "It's funny how two people can grow up in the same town, go to the same school, have the same friends, and end up so totally different. Family, or lack thereof, counts for more than you'd think." (page 49). "Life is long. Just b/c you don't get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn't mean it won't come." (page 329). I think the dialogue and the storyline are what make the story good. However, the characterization is what makes it sub-par compared to Dessen's other books.
For the parents out there wondering what is in this Young Adult book b/c you are a good mom or dad and know that YA books can range from clean to incredibly dirty. The Moon and More is an overall clean book. There doesn't seem to be any language, but there are several references to underage drinking as well as one instance where sex was only implied not described. I think b/c Dessen's books are usually deeper, relateable, well written, and clean are the reasons why I like them so much.
Amazon had the following book review from School Library Journal.
"Up-Dessen aims for the Moon with her latest novel and manages the landing quite wonderfully. Readers looking for a story as warm and real as The Truth About Forever (Viking, 2004) need look no further. Emaline works hard, both in school and at her family's realty office with three generations of women handling beach-vacation rentals in the small southern town of Colby. Her efforts get her accepted to Columbia, but when her birth father, back in her life after being absent for 10 years, suddenly and inexplicably withdraws his offer of substantial help, she has to settle for a less-prestigious school just two hours away. One advantage: her boyfriend, Luke, will also be there. Summer starts off normally: her dad, the one who married her teenaged mother and adopted Emaline years ago, is still fixing up their house; her older stepsister is bossing her around at work; and Em is passing out keys and towels and hanging around with her best friends, Daisy and Morris. Characters are crafted with care to be whole and realistic, so readers will be immersed when Emaline meets the New Yorkers who rent a mansion for the summer to make a documentary about local character Clyde, once quite a big deal on the art scene. Theo, the filmmaker's cute assistant, seems smitten with Emaline; and when Luke indulges in clubbing with a pretty tourist, the dream couple breaks up, enabling Emaline to spend some time with someone new. Complications romantic and familial help crystallize the strength in Emaline as her understanding transitions from youth to adulthood."
Are you a Dessen fan? Have you read The Moon and More? What did you think?