The Moon and More

I’ve decided I need to live in Colby, North Carolina.

Colby is the setting, also a main character, of many of Sarah Dessen’s magical books, including Along for the Ride and What Happened To Goodbye. It just seems like such a nice place to live with the beach and the cute small local restaurants and everyone knowing each other — kind of like Stars Hollow, but better because there’s a beach and it’s always warm.

The Moon and More is about 18-year-old Emaline, who has just graduated from high school and is about to have a life-changing summer. Obviously. She has been dating cute, dependable, popular Luke throughout high school, has worked at her family realty business for as long as she could work, and has basically led the same existence for quite some time. That is, until four new(ish) figures arrive to seriously shake things up: her estranged biological father (Joel) and her sweet 10-year-old half-brother (Benji), who are in town for various reasons, a cute city boy (Theo) and his famous filmmaker boss (Ivy), who are in town to shoot a documentary about a local artist.

Emaline has kept up a decent relationship, albeit mostly through email, with her father, but after helping her study for the SATs and apply for colleges, said father completely drops the ball on his promise to fully fund her next level of education at Columbia University. Emaline is left very confused, frustrated and stuck going to “East U” with the rest of her high school. Needless to say, she’s a little peeved when he arrives, and they have a great deal of unfinished business to discuss. She does enjoy getting to know her little brother, even though she has to make sure he doesn’t find out about his parents’ impending divorce.

Theo and Ivy are renting a big old McMansion from Emaline’s family’s company for the summer, and Emaline’s constant interaction with needy Theo drives Luke into the arms of another woman. They have a tearful breakup at the local diner, and five minutes later she is kissing Theo in a Costco-type store. You would assume the hating of Luke and liking of Theo would then come pretty naturally to the reader, but it turns out Theo is an annoying overachiever and user of people, not at all the guy for Emaline. But neither is Luke, really. The book isn’t even about romance, though; it’s about that post-high school self-discovery and independence we all go through, and how much can change in that one summer between childhood and the rest of your life.

I enjoyed this book as much as most other Sarah Dessens, so I recommend it to fellow fans. I really love how she ties in her other novels and characters when it comes to Colby, and how she rarely gives the reader a physical description of the protagonist. It’s an interesting approach.

Next up: I cannot yet bring myself to crack open The Fault in Our Stars as I have been advised that I will start crying and never stop, so I’m going back to the adult literature world for a little while with Jodi Picoult’s Second Glance.

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