The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

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?

moon

Meh. I know the many Sarah Dessen fans will disagree with me, but I found The Moon and More to be just an okay read.  I much preferred What Happened to Goodbye.

Don’t expect much drama, action or cliffhangers in this book. Rather it consists mostly of mundane details of a teenager about to embark on college. Summer jobs, romantic and family relationships, and common worries about growing up are all very much explored. In that aspect, teens will be able to relate to Emaline. I on the other hand, was a little bored.

The best feature of the book was the setting of Colby. Emaline lives in the beach town of Colby that is flooded by tourists every summer. It is perfectly described and easy to image.  The subplot of the local Colby artist was an interesting element and coming from a small town, I could understand the protectiveness and cautiousness of letting ‘outsiders’ in.

 

Review: Winter town by Stephen Emond

Every winter, straight-laced, Ivy League bound Evan looks forward to a visit from Lucy, a childhood pal who moved away after her parent’s divorce. But when Lucy arrives this year, she’s changed. The former “girl next door” now has chopped dyed black hair, a nose stud, and a scowl. But Evan knows that somewhere beneath the Goth, “Old Lucy” still exists, and he’s determined to find her… even if it means pissing her off.

I think Emonds did a great job at writing a contemporary YA novel that tackles issues that have long plagued teens and young adults. In the book, Lucy is experiencing the effects of a broken home and turning to drugs and alcohol. On the flip side, Evan is dealing with his micromanaging parents and trying to live up to their expectations.

Both Evan’s and Lucy’s story is told in third person. The first half is Evan’s perspective and the second is Lucy’s. I found that it was less confusing than alternating chapters. It is interesting to note that Evan’s chapters were named after Beatles songs, and Lucy’s had Beach Boys (their favourite artists).

Visual elements played a big part in the book starting with the beautiful cover.  Circles created from a hole punch were used as snow!  Since art/comics are significant in both Evan and Lily’s lives there are bits of cartoons throughout the story. At the beginning of every chapter there is also a two-page cartoon spread. I’m not a huge cartoon/graphic novel lover so I have to admit I didn’t quite understand Evan’s drawings of ‘Aelysthia’ (Evan and Lucy’s made up fantasy world).

Overall, many teens will be able to relate to having dysfunctional families, the difficulty of maintaining childhood friendships, and living up to others expectations.  The book will also appeal to those that appreciate graphics to break up the text.

In the end, the book reminded me to not ‘sweat the small stuff’ in my daily life as others around me are often dealing with much bigger issues. On tough days, try to remember:


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