Thursday, May 23, 2013

The Moon and More (Early Book Review)

Thursday, May 23, 2013 10:12 AM with 29 comments

The Moon and More

The Moon and More

Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Number of Pages: 384
Release Date: June 4, 2013

My Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.


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MY THOUGHTS:

I may or may not have literally jumped up and down when I got approved for this book (I totally did). There's just something about a new Sarah Dessen book that just screams summertime to me. The Moon and More was no exception. This book transported me to back to Colby, the cozy beach town where Along for the Ride was set. I could feel the blazing sun and smell the ocean. I could feel the lightness in my chest that only occurs in the summer. I adore the beach town setting and Dessen really brings Colby to life.

The Moon and More follows Emaline, a teenage girl who has just graduated from high school and is spending the summer before she leaves for college exactly as she spends all of her summers--working for her family's rental business (they manage vacation/beach house rentals) and hanging out with her longtime boyfriend, Luke, and her two best friends, Morris and Daisy-who are dating each other. Emaline feels restless this year though. As she watches the tourists that flood the town she realizes that she never has the carefree feeling of vacation because Colby is her home. 

Things start to change when Theo and his boss, Ivy, come to town. The two are renting Emaline's family's newest rental property for the summer--a luxurious beach house that most people couldn't rent for a week, let alone the whole summer. Ivy is working on a documentary about Clyde, a Colby native who made a huge splash in NY with his sculptures, only to come back to Colby in an attempt to fade into obscurity. Emaline finds herself getting roped into helping Theo get interviews with the locals and taking him off-the-beaten-path to the parts of Colby the tourists never see. 

Her biological father has also swooped into town her half-brother, Benji, in order to clean up and sale his family home. Emaline is the product of a teenage summer romance between her mother and father. She considers her step-dad to be her real dad and her bio dad to be her father. The two were never close when she was growing up, but began connecting by email over academia. During her last couple of years of school, her father began pushing her to apply to Columbia, promising to pay if she got in...only to rescind the offer when she did. Relations between the two are obviously strained when he suddenly appears in her hometown.

I enjoyed The Moon and More, and wanted so badly to love it. I absolutely adored Emaline's family dynamic. So often in YA you get these absentee parents and troubled relationships, but her family was so realistic and fun and caring. It wasn't a "typical" family. Emaline lives with her mother, (step)dad, and two stepsisters, but both her mom and dad deeply care for her and love each other. Her sisters were great secondary characters. Amber, the youngest, is the spacey one who hangs out on Emaline's bed as often as she can, while Margo, the eldest, is a total type A who has just finished a hospitality program and is trying to reorganize the family business. I loved both of her sisters. I loved her dad. I loved her mom. I loved the fact that the title The Moon and More comes from something her mother says to her (I love you to the moon and more). I loved her two friends Morris and Daisy and both their separate friendships with her and their relationship with each other. I loved little Benji and watching the two grow closer. I loved Clyde and was curious about why he left NY just when his career as an artist was taking off. 

What I didn't love was Theo. I found him annoying and thought the scenes with him completely dragged down the narrative. Whenever he showed up, I would plow through in order to get back to the other people in her life. Unfortunately my dislike dragged down my enjoyment of the book considerably, which is a shame because I truly loved everything else that was going on and all of the other characters. Please take this with a grain of salt. I may end up in the minority here. Others may love him. And I sincerely believe this book is very much worth reading.

Overall, I would definitely recommend The Moon and More. It is a great summer novel set in an idyllic beach town populated by wonderful characters. Sarah Dessen really is the queen of YA and I can't wait to read what she puts out next.  

*I received an ARC of this novel from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.*

29 comments:

  1. I haven't read a book by Sara before, but I do agree that the covers and the synopsis' always give me a summery feel as well. It's funny that parents are more 'there' in NA than in YA even though it should be vice versa. Seems like the family was perfect. Too bad that one character ruined a good book for you. I'm still looking forward to reading this one and hopefully I won't have such problems with Theo. Lovely review though, Natalie!

    Siiri @ Little Pieces of Imagination

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    1. Thanks, Siiri! I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up. Overall, it's a lovely book. I don't know if I've ever read anything that could be classified as NA, but it is interesting that parents tend to be more present in NA than YA. I always find the absentee and/or uncaring parent to be lazy writing. I think it's just harder to create authentic parent/child relationships and so authors tend toward these extremes. Her family is easily my favorite part of the book. Thanks for stopping by!

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  2. The only Sarah Dessen book I've read is Along for the Ride, but I really enjoyed that one, so I picked up a couple of others at Half Price Books (one was $1!). Can't wait to find time for those, as well as this one. A book with this kind of family dynamic always appeals to me. :)

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    1. Half Price Books is one of my favorite places in the world. I always beeline straight for the clearance section. I enjoyed Along for the Ride and love the town of Colby where this one also takes place. I always gravitate towards books with this kind of dynamic, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  3. I haven't read one of her books in ages, but maybe I'll have to give this one a go! This was a great review and I'm wondering if I would enjoy Theo's character?!

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    1. Sarah Dessen is always fun. Honestly, I think I may end up in the minority on Theo's character, we'll have to see as more reviews start rolling in, so maybe you'll love him. Thanks for stopping by!

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  4. Well that sucks. Everything goes well but the one thing the MC has that might change everything for her is annoying. I love the closeness of the family and I'm also curious about why Clyde left life in New York. He really should change his name though if he wants to be taken seriously...
    I've never read a Sarah Dessen book. I don't know why but I decided I was saving myself for Lock and Key. Maybe after that I'll read this one. Hopefully Theo isn't as annoying as he seems.

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    1. It is honestly worth reading. I liked Lock and Key, too. I enjoy her books in general. Everyone in Colby leaves Clyde alone--that's why he went back and doesn't change his name. I hope you enjoy it if you do read it. Thanks for stopping by!

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  5. It's strange that the romance, of all things, was flat in this one. Sarah Dessen is usually known for her lovely romances, but I know I'll be picking this one up this summer anyway. I love the family dynamics Dessen creates and I'm looking forward to being back in this setting too. Great review, Natalie! :)

    ~Keertana @ Ivy Book Bindings

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    1. I know! It was weird that that was my least favorite part. There was definitely no sa-woon for me here though. Again, I may end up in the minority here. I hope you enjoy if! Thanks for stopping by!

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  6. I've only read a few books by Sarah Dessen, but would love love love to read more! This one sounds right up my alley, a perfect summer read to relax with on a lazy day. Loved your completely in depth review :)

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    1. Thanks, Sassy! She is a great author to turn to for a good summer read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  7. I read, I think, three Dessen books back in the day, as in high school. I wasn't a huge fan but maybe I should give her another try. I'm not sure if this book is for me, but I might check out, especially since you really seemed to like it. Well, except for Theo. :P And it seems like Sarah Dessen is, like you said, the queen of YA. Glad you enjoyed this for the most part! Great review, Natalie!

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    1. I haven't read everything by her...yet, and I'm not IN LOVE with everything she puts out, but I do like her and I totally get her super strong following. I hope you enjoy it if you do pick it up. Thanks for stopping by!

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  8. Even if this book got one star reviews across the board, I would read it. Sarah Dessen has always been there for me, and so I will always be there for her. Great review though, I'm glad you explained why you didn't like it. I think I can get past an annoying boy. Hopefully. The rest sounds like a perfect poolside read to me!

    Taylor @ Reading is the Thing

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    1. Honestly, I wouldn't say I didn't like it. In fact, I enjoyed it quite a bit with the exception of the one character. I know a lot of readers adore her and I totally get why. She's a great writer. It is absolutely a great poolside read. Thanks for stopping by!

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  9. I've only read one book by Dessen and I have three more waiting on my shelf. But I really loved that book and this book sounds really good. I would so love to read this! :D Thanks, Nat!

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    1. Thanks, Ana! I hope you can get your hands on a copy soon! I've read a handful of her books, but I still have a couple on my TBR shelf, too. Thanks for stopping by!

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  10. Great review! I can't wait to read this one as I am a huge Sarah Dessen fan and have been really looking forward to it.

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    1. Thanks, Kerrie! I hope you are able to get your hands on it soon! Thanks for stopping by!

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  11. Yay -- I have this one too.
    I think there is no such thing as a bad Sarah Dessen book, but of course there are those that I love more than others.

    Looking forward to seeing what I think!

    You can find me here: Jen @ YA Romantics

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    1. Yeah, I wouldn't go so far as to say she is hit or miss for me, but I definitely enjoy some of her books more than others. I hope you like this one! Thanks for stopping by!

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  12. I haven't read any SD yet even though everyone seems to rave about them. At 3.5 stars, I don't think this is the one I'll start with but I'll keep it in mind for the future.
    BookishTrish @ Between the Lines

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    1. It really wasn't my favorite, but I'm kind of a harsh rater, so 3.5 isn't bad. I would recommend starting with The Truth About Forever. That's my favorite SD so far, but I haven't read all of her books yet. Thanks for stopping by!

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  13. I like the sounds of the family dynamic in this one. And I've been so excited to read it. It's too bad you didn't love it quite as much as you hoped but still, liking it is great news! :)

    ~Sara @ Forever 17 Books

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    1. The family was definitely my favorite part. I did like this book, but I was kind of disappointed that I didn't love it like I wanted. I hope you enjoy it! Thanks for stopping by!

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  14. I love Sarah Dessan books. When I found out about The Moon and More, I was freaking out! Plus it takes place in Colby!

    PS New follower via GFC!

    www.booknerdsjourney.blogspot.com

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    1. Colby is one of my favorite fictional places. I've always wanted to live in a small beach town like that. Thanks for following and stopping by! I'm heading over to your blog now.

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Hello, there! Thanks for taking the time to comment. I read each and every one and will do my best to respond--usually on your blog instead of on mine. I will, however, always answer direct questions. Due to serious time restraints, this blog is now an award free zone, but I appreciate the thought!