Wednesday, 28 August 2013
The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen
Synopsis: Emaline has lived in the beach town of Colby her whole life. She knows where to go and not to go, where the tourists in the summer visit and most of all the people. Including Luke, her all American perfect boyfriend who she has grown up with. But as it is the summer before going to college, Emaline wonders whether this life is what she really wants.
Enter Theo, an outsider from New York visiting the town to work as an assistant to a renowned filmmaker. He's confident, exciting and thinks Emaline is holding herself back. Emaline's father also thinks she could do better. Emaline likes the sound of this glittering, bright future they promise but would they suit Emaline, someone whose whole family and life is in a small beach town.
Review: This was the kind of book I needed. Right at that moment, right now on the verge of something sad, exciting and just plain scary.
The thing is that Emaline during the course of this book is in exactly the same situation as I am right this moment. I read this pre-results day when there was that trepdiation of whether I would get into university, whether I would enjoy it. The thing is I'm moving two hours away from the place I've always lived to a new town, a new way of living and new friends without anything I can hold onto as familiar. I sometimes wonder now maybe I should have applied to somewhere in London nearer home but then I wouldn't be going to Bournemouth. Emaline got into an Ivy League school (think Oxford or Cambridge for those in the UK) but turned it down after her father - now separated from her mother - let her down. So she is going to a college that is an hour away from Colby, where most of the people she knows and has grown up with are going. Yet when her father arrives again in the picture as well as her new found friend of Theo telling her something vastly different from her friends and family, it's enough to make her a little confused about what she TRULY wants.
Throughout the novel, she tries to discover that, to see which life suits her and despite the ending she chooses, the novel showed me that I'm not the only one who is going to be freaking scared when they're moving to university but also how ever far or not far you move to go to university, it's still a scary and unreal situation whatever happens. I just needed Sarah Dessen to reassure me.
Now onto the proper review. While this isn't the strongest and the best novel of Dessen's, it certainly was pretty good. As always, her characters are just so rich and realistic. You can clearly see the characters she is is picturing as well as there being some kind of element you are assured to love about every single character. I read in one review that the blogger loved Sarah Dessen for her good character development. It's so true, it makes it that much more realistic, making me feel like I truly get to know her protagonists. Emaline is the perfect main character with a distinct voice and something about her that made her so likeable, so real. The setting and the characters add to this feel of something so familiar about the story and it's hard to get that in a lot of books, especially as I'm a UK reader reading about an American town. It's just so refreshing to see some equally great secondary characters.
No-one can say that Dessen writes the perfect summer reads. Although, I was a little apprehensive to start this as it features a love triangle. So yeah, it's not the most scariest thing in the world but as a disliker of the typical, cliched love triangles (there is a reason I didn't read Twilight) and having my favourite author include one, I was just hoping it worked. And it did! It's not your cliched love triangle in my eyes (THANK YOU) and the ending is rather different to both her other books and other books featuring the dreaded triangle. Luke is someone I kind of instantly didn't like, the kind of guy that oozes self-confidence that I stay well clear of, but throughout the novel, even though he isn't in the book THAT much, he still has an element of character development for me and I loved to see that even from a character that didn't have much page time. Theo, I kind of loved at the beginning. He was sweet and way too confident but somehow that made me like him (I don't know). But again, much like Luke, he develops throughout the book especially in relation to his relationship with Emaline and then at the end, I just wanted him to leave. It's weird how Dessen made me feel these different things about the characters.
While some readers hate the similarity between Dessen's novels, it's what makes me love them. I know what I'm getting from Sarah Dessen, I know also that I'll enjoy the book whatever happens or however it is shaped. There's also this whole world that she's created that after reading all of her books, I feel like I know the world pretty well. It was great to return to the Launderette, Tallyho and Clementines in this book alone seeing Auden, Tracey and Owen from Along For the Ride, Colie from Last Chance/Keeping the Moon - it just makes you enjoy a book more I think when you know that world already, you're not being introduced to something completely new.
In all honesty, I'm bias about any Sarah Dessen book because she is a favourite of mine. She writes literature that I enjoy, I think about and just I relax while reading. I agree, this isn't the best of her books and it isn't a favourite, but it's still pretty darn good and I'm so glad that Dessen still has her writing mojo. For a brilliant summer read with some rather surprising twists, I would recommend THE MOON AND MORE. If you're a newbie to Dessen, I would direct you to my favourites - Just Listen and The Truth About Forever. Nothing can beat those books.
I give it a 4.5 out of 5
Author's Website: http://sarahdessen.com/
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