Review - The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen

The Moon and MoreTitle: The Moon and More
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication: June 4th 2013, Viking Juvenile
Pages: 435 Pages, Paperbacl
Source: Thank you to Penguin Books South Africa for sending me The Moon and More in exchange for a honest review!
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.
*Spoiler sentences are written in white, to read them just select them with your mouse*

I've been wanting to read The Moon and More since I first heard of it a month or so before it's publication date. I love any book today with sweet summer romances, beaches and warm weather, and since it is stormy and windy over here, the scenery for The Moon and More was the perfect holiday destination.

Despite the fact that I was completely ecstatic to be taking a free trip to Colby, a beach town in America, I was hesitant to read it as I've read a Sarah Dessen novel before and I completely detested the main character and the storyline, and wasn't a fan, so it's understandable that I didn't immediately start The Moon and More with much enthusiasm. Now, I did enjoy it, but I also found a lot of faults within the book. After reading The Moon and More, I'm still not a Dessen fan but maybe I'll try another book of hers and it'll be third time lucky.

Emaline lives in Colby, a local beach town, a popular tourist destination, with hundreds flocking there every summer, but for Emaline it's home. She knows everyone there, everyone knows her, she has a steady boyfriend, one she has been dating since 9th grade and during the busy summer months, she works for her family's Realtor company. She goes along with her every day routine, her same rhythmic pace she's known her whole life, nothing changes in Colby. However, a life time's worth of change happens all at once when Theo and Ivy, an award winning film-director and her assistant from New York rock up, wanting to capture Colby's local living and do a documentary on the resident artist that stays there, who was famous but left the hustle of NYC and returned to settle into the beach lifestyle at his hime in Colby. When the unexpected happens and Emaline ends up helping them film the documentary, being with her half-brother that she barely knew existed and having that summer romance she always witnessed from the side-lines, Emaline can barely get a grip on all that's happening.  However, her short summer can't last forever and Emaline knows (from how she came into existence) that those brief summer romances end up in heart-break, soon she'll be leaving Colby and studying anyway, and her new love interest will return to New York. But for once she wants to experience a summer that she sees happen around her all the time. The ones where you get away from the real world and where the regular rules don't always apply, fall in love with a complete stranger, spend warm nights on the beach until after midnight, and for once, she might be able to experience that. Yet Emaline doesn't realise just how much change this summer will bring.

The Moon and More is one of those books that although you don't absolutely adore it, you also can't put it down, if that makes any sense? There were things I really didn't like about it and there were things I really liked, but I still couldn't put it down. It was a page-turning novel, where you find yourself just wanting to be continuously lost in that magical time of summer and this novel was the perfect setting to escape to.

That's definitely what I liked best about The Moon and More, was that lazy day, beach, summer setting. I absolutely loved Colby and I would love to go there on holiday, have that unique summer experience in a place where the regular rules don't apply, where you can have a sweet summer romance and just experience a whole other world, really. I live by the sea in a smallish area so in ways I could relate to Emaline. She lives in a place that is her home, but to others it's just a simple beach town where they can make once-off memories. It's been cold here lately and reading The Moon and More reminds me of those hot summer days and lazying on the beach, and luckily by reading The Moon and More I could live in that environment for a few days.

The writing was fabulous. I must say that I love the way Sarah Dessen writes. She has that way of writing that leaves you completely entranced and left in wonder at how someone can create a piece of writing where the words flow so naturally. And I think that was also one of the reasons why I couldn't stop reading, was how the writing naturally flowed continuously and you wanted to almost follow it and see where this amazing writing would end up.

Those were the things I liked about The Moon And More, what I didn't necessarily like were the main characters, the romance and sometimes, the plot.

Let me give you a bit of history on Emaline. She has a sweet, kind, steady boyfriend that she's been dating since ninth grade, she works at her family's Realtor company and her family tree is not like everyone elses. Her mom had a summer fling with a tourist in her last year of high-school, working as a young, single mother was tough especially since she never really heard from Emaline's father again. Three years later, is was happily married to Emaline's dad (two very different things, as she says) who had two girls of his own. That's the family Emaline has always known. When Emaline was 10, she got in contact with her father and they have been emailing ever since and met up a few times, however, their relationship becomes quite damaged after her father promises big things...but fails to provide and they don't speak to each other for a while after. Out the blue he emails and tells her him and Emaline's half-brother, Benji, shall be coming down to a place near Colby for the summer, Emaline knows she'll have to confront her father sooner or later about the disappointment and heart-break he has caused her.

So that's Emaline's family history, and I felt sorry for her. Her father was a completely selfish, arrogant jerk, who continuously let his daughter down. You could feel the anger and frustration Emaline felt towards him, and truth be told, I don't blame her. The way he treated her wasn't right.

I did like Emaline's mom, dad and sisters and her half brother Benji, on her father's side. They were all quirky and cute and each had their own distinct personalities. I wish Emaline had one. I'm not going to be gentle and I try to think of positive things to say about Emaline, in fact, I'll get straight to the point. Emaline was a boring character. She had no personality and she didn't come across as authentic. I honestly felt as if I were reading the book from a cardboard box's perspective. She was always grouchy and I hated the way she would treat people. As for instance:

Her best friends, Morris and Daisy, who I loved reading about! They each had their own, individual personality and each had their own personal struggles. Morris, the slow, but loveable guy friend of Emaline who I absolutely adored. He has had a tough childhood and I think that has shaped him into the person he is, but once in a while he would surprise you with a deep thought and sensitive feeling that you wouldn't think he was capable of showing. I also got frustrated though, as Emaline would often seem to be annoyed with Morris and not have any connection with him and roll her eyes at the things he said, when he was just being himself. If she finds people annoying, why doesn't she just stop being around them? I honestly wanted to knock some sense into her, because she was like that with almost every character. Whiny, obnoxious and self-absorbed. And Emaline, she also had NO personality whatsoever. No little quirks, funny sayings...she was just telling an incredibly uninteresting story about herself.

 Daisy was Emaline's best friend, a smart fashionista who can design killer dresses and who is logical and smart. I admired Daisy and loved her character. Would have loved to read more about her!

Benji. Her adorable, ten year old brother who she barely ever gets to see, really adored Emaline, you could see it in his actions, and when he was sad he would go to Emaline, you would've thought that she would hug him and pat him but instead she just talks to him and "wants to reach out and hug him" but doesn't, it's almost as if she had not an ounce of sympathy in her body. Or maybe it was to do with lack of character, WHO KNOWS? All I know is that her brother clearly wanted to have a good relationship with her but she wasn't interested because all she did was complain about her new boyfriend and her father, when she clearly hates both of their company.

HA. Moving onto THAT part of the story. Emaline's "romantic encounters". First off, the story started with Emaline still dating her boyfriend Luke who I really liked. He was cute, sweet and funny and you could see him and Emaline got a long and actually had chemistry. He almost brought out an interesting side of Emaline, if that is possible. But then, Luke *spoiler* cheats on Emaline because she doesn't reply to one text message *spoiler* and this ends their long relationship they've had, just like that. Really? REALLY?! Emaline then, on that same day that Luke suggests that they take a break, not officially breaking up with her, starts dating Theo. She sure moves fast doesn't she? Luke then tries reconciling with her, but, oh wait, she's already dating someone else. And can I just say, can I JUST SAY, Luke doing that bad thing he did which was so completely out of character, was such an obvious way of the author to let Emaline be off the hook to date Theo and keep the story going and the readers interested, but for me it didn't work. I just ended up disliking the characters more and Theo? Don't even get me started on Theo.

Theo and Emaline was probably one of the worst, and pointless relationships I've ever had the displeasure of reading about. Firstly, Theo was an incredibly annoying, know it all, who fluctuated between being a pretentious, "sophisticated" *cough cough* film-director to acting like mischievous, energetic, naïve five year old child on a daily basis. The author gave him multiple personalities and I just couldn't connect with him.

Him and Emaline were the worst couple I have ever read about. Anything Theo said or did, Emaline would roll her eyes and the way her voice resonated through the story it felt like she held a strong dislike for him (not that I blame her) and I was just thinking what was the point of leaving Luke, who was clearly sorry for what he did, and was much better suited to her than Theo. There was literally no chemistry between the two, and at the end of the novel I was literally shaking head because it felt like their entire relationship was completely pointless. She didn't even mention him or even like, remember him at the end of the novel. I honestly didn't see the point of Theo, he was a waste of space and him and Emaline's relationship was so fake it's laughable.

The plot wasn't so great either. Things happened, but it felt like the story wasn't going anywhere and the whole thing with Ivy and Theo coming to Colby and filming also seemed pointless judging by the end of the story...the plot could definitely have been constructed better.

I have read exactly two Sarah Dessen books and I have been highly disappointed by both, I don't know if I will read her other work again, maybe one day.

I enjoyed reading this book, I loved being transported to the sunny beach town of Colby and having a short, sweet summer. The Moon and More was very well written and despite it's flaws I couldn't put it down. I was, however, immensely disappointed by the main character, who I found extremely uninteresting. I preferred the secondary characters and we didn't see enough of them. The romance also felt completely pointless. However, many people have loved this book so try it, you might just love it! I, myself, was hoping too love it, but it fell short of my praise.

I give it: 3 CUPCAKES!