The Moon and More is second book I will be reviewing as a part of Contemporary Covnersations first week’s theme Coming of Age stories within the young adult contemporary genre. Sarah Dessen’s books are a must-have item when building your contemporary library.
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.
Bittersweet is the aftertaste The Moon and More left me with. I’ve read every single one of Sarah Dessen’s novels (except for Somebody Like You which I recently acquired) so I am very familiar with her style, the theme of her books, and the overall “This world is always messed up, but there is always hope for a better one”. What threw me off-balance is the fact that the ending of The Moon and More was somehow more bleak than I am used to from Ms. Dessen’s novels. This of course like every single one of her books deals with the “coming-of-age” protagonist and we ourselves grow with them, but the ending of this one just hurt.
One of the important things that Emaline realized was that it was too late for her father and her to repair that severed relationship. Her coming to terms with that was painful for me because it shed light on some of my familial situations. It may be too late for some, like Emaline, but for Benjie, her half brother, it’s not. Familial situations are always hard, no matter how close family members are.
At the end of The Moon and More we have that bittersweet taste I am talking about. Emaline doesn’t have her life figured out, she doesn’t know what the future exactly holds, but what she can be sure of is that appreciating the people she loves and letting life take its course things may just turn alright after all. TMaM’s ending is very open-ended and it’s exactly the same open-ended-ness life has. We know never exactly where we are going, but we can only hope we find our way throughout the course of life.