Emaline is getting ready for her last summer at home before heading off to college, among her friends and family, and handsome boyfriend Luke, when her absentee father comes back into her life, challenging her and pushing her to do better. Suddenly Emaline starts to question herself and her decisions as she struggles to meet her father’s impossibly high standards.
Things get even more topsy turvy when Enaline starts to hang out with Theo, a college student visiting her town for the summer, and things go sour with Luke. Suddenly, Theo is her new boyfriend, and Emaline tries to match herself to Theo’s high standards and expectations.
The summer passes by too quickly for Emaline’s taste, and before she knows it, she’s faced with the decision of holding on to what she knows and loves…or moving into the complete unknown.
For anyone who reads this blog and knows my taste in books, you know that I LOVE Sarah Dessen. She’s one of my all-time favourite authors in teen, and a lot of her books hold spots on my favourite books list. That’s why I’m a bit sad that as I sit down to write this review, I can’t remember too much of this book and what made me enjoy it. Unfortunately, it wasn’t as memorable as I had hoped.
But as always, let’s start with the good stuff.
Every author has their special touch, and for Dessen, I believe it’s the way she writes about families. As usual, Emaline’s family was one of my favourite part of the novel. Quirky and annoying, her family is annoying and frustrating, but Emaline loves them all the same. Her relationship with her biological father is a rocky one, ever since he told her he couldn’t finance her education to an Ivy League college. Now he’s back in her life with his son Benji, and Emaline has a hard time forgiving her father for letting her down. Her relationships with her mother and sisters was fun to read about, especially since they were filled with nuance.
The romance in The Moon and More was also quite enjoyable, since it wasn’t exactly what you would expect. From the way it’s described on the cover copy, it seems like Theo sweeps Emaline off her feet and makes her break up with her boyfriend of several years, Luke. But that’s not how it happens at all. Normally, Dessen’s books end with a romantic resolution, in addition to the general resolution, but Emaline, Theo, and Luke’s story doesn’t end the way you anticipate, and there’s maturity in that. Not everyone has a happy ending, and that’s okay.
In terms of plot, I found this book to be lacking. More than a week later, I can’t remember the larger plot points of the novel. Unlike other summer themed novels, Emaline doesn’t go through a dramatic change or evolution that’s life-changing. There’s a sense that it’s coming, but I didn’t think that the summer changed her at all. Emaline herself felt a little flat to me throughout the novel, and I didn’t feel like she had changed or grown up that much by the end of it.
Despite finding the plot a bit dry in this novel, I still enjoyed The Moon and More, but perhaps not as much as my other beloved-Dessen classics.
So for that: 3.5/5.
Thanks for reading,