Gosh I miss the days when my husband’s job meant I got signed books from Andy Cohen and Amy Poehler and advance copies of Sarah Dessen books six months before their pub date! I could barely contain my excitement about this little gem, but I had to wait until the official release date to post this here review.
Once and for All is about an emotionally distraught 17-year-old girl named Louna (pronounced “Luna”) who is finishing up an usually traumatic senior year of high school and helping out her mother Natalie’s wedding planning business for the summer. Her senior year was unusually traumatic, and I say that without any sarcasm, because the prior summer she fell in love with a boy on the beach, and he was tragically shot and killed mere months later. (You figure out pretty quickly that something of this nature happened to Louna, but it takes her — or Sarah Dessen — a while to actually come out and say it in the book.)
Enter Ambrose, a heartbreaker of a boy and son of one of the brides Louna and her mom are working with. (Don’t worry, it’s a third wedding/late-in-life bride, Ambrose is of age to be heartbreaking.) In typical Dessen fashion, Ambrose turns Louna’s world upside down and shows her that she can in fact fall in love again. The two little lovebirds banter back and forth throughout the summer, even working long days and nights together after Ambrose decides to help out in the wedding planning business. They even make a bet that Louna can’t be a “serial dater” like Ambrose and that Ambrose can’t be in a monogamous relationship like Louna. Because of this bet they end up dating several other people before realizing that they belong together, but that’s the whole fun of these books, isn’t it?
This is yet another perfect Dessen novel that I highly recommend to every other 29-year-old who still enjoys reading teen books!