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The Moon and More

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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.

435 pages, Hardcover

First published June 4, 2013

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Sarah Dessen

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 3,533 reviews
Profile Image for Wendy Darling.
1,638 reviews34k followers
September 9, 2016
Ever since I succumbed to peer pressure and read The Truth About Forever, I've been a fan of Sarah Dessen's. I know there are readers who dismiss her books as being too boring or too girly, and it's true that it's hard to pinpoint anything hugely dramatic that happens in her books plot-wise. But that's exactly what I like about her novels--they're about nothing and yet absolutely everything at the same time.

In the summer before college, Emaline is working at her family's vacation rental in the beach town of Colby when she starts to question her "perfect" relationship with her boyfriend Luke, as well as her complicated relationship with her absentee father. When a stranger named Theo comes to town, life starts to unravel...or is she finally starting to see the kind of life she really wants?

Here are the things I love about this book, and about all of Dessen's stories: the absolutely real and mundane details that make up life. Family ties that shape who are you are. The spark of romantic interest. Great friendships. The pleasure of doing ordinary things, like playing silly putt putt games with your brother, or experiencing the satisfaction of doing a great job at something you're good at. The Moon and More also features earnest dates that tank, worries about college, the sadness of changing relationships, and the out-of-body feeling that comes when you realize your parents are actually flawed but good people. I leave every Dessen town feeling as if I've visited a real place full of real people who quietly go about their business and quietly dream about things that might never come true.

Admittedly, the author maintains her tendency to reference the title too many times, which is a pet peeve of mine. I enjoyed reading about Emaline's problems, but I think she could have used some more joy in this book, too. And I have to say, I wasn't a huge fan of Theo's, so there wasn't as much swoon in this book as I'm used to in other novels by this author, although there's a hint at towards the end that something great could develop down the road.

But as always, Sarah Dessen delivers a terrific summer book. I like kickass heroines who can take down their enemies with a single blow who know the exact right one-liner to toss off at the right moment, but I love the more introverted heroines like the ones found in these contemporary novels, too. While a lot of fantasy authors indulge us by writing about the kind of girl we wish we'd been at the age of seventeen, Sarah Dessen writes about the kind of uncertain, quietly determined girl we actually were. And there's plenty of beauty and wisdom and resonance in that, too.

This review also appears in The Midnight Garden. An advance copy was provided by the publisher.
16 reviews2 followers
June 29, 2013
After Reading:
I love Sarah Dessen, but did not love The Moon and More. The last 30 pages were better than the first 400, and I feel kind of guilty writing that. Oh well. Win some, lose some, doesn't really matter! Her books will always hold a special place in my heart.

Before Reading:
I get stupidly excited every time a new Sarah Dessen book is announced. I only hope the cross-over characters are a little more interesting this time! I’m also hoping we see Jason again, I’m so curious about him.
Profile Image for "That's All" Ash.
157 reviews1,934 followers
June 11, 2013
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Sarah Dessen \Sa-rah Des-sen\ ; noun : the reason why I failed Algebra II in high school.

No hard feelings or anything.

She’s just that badass.

What’s so kickass about this Sarah Dessen is that she doesn’t put her heroines on this high pedestal for us to read about and want to be like. Instead, she creates heroines who we can relate to . Her characters are flawed, and they probably can’t take down an entire city of villains, and they don’t always have perfect hair.

And I fucking love it!

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Emaline is at that time in life where decisions are everything.

Where do I go for college?
What do I do with my perfect boyfriend?
Is he really perfect?
Should I answer that phone call from my MIA dad?
Who…am… I…?

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She’s right smack in the middle of a comfortable life. She has a summer job, a slightly dysfunctional family (who she loves), she got accepted to her dream college, and she has the *perfect* boyfriend.

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She’s been with Luke since the ninth grade. And they’re perfect together. He’s easy-going, down-to-earth, has a killer smile. And everyone loves him. What’s wrong with that picture, right?


Enter: Theo, the new guy in town for the summer.

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He’s the game-changer.

And he challenges Emaline’s beliefs in everything.

He’s so unlike Luke, but Emaline can’t help but be drawn to the artistic Theo. Because he makes her question whether being comfortable is the same thing as being happy.

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And that’s the beauty of this story. It emphasizes on how a single person can walk into your life… and completely change everything.

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Profile Image for emma.
1,871 reviews54.8k followers
August 2, 2018

The literal synopsis of this book is "Girl dates intolerable boy for 400 pages before realizing boy is intolerable. Book ends."


Sarah Dessen why would you do this to me.

Also later on in the book, said intolerable boy says "You're not just any other girl" (the ugly stepsister of "not like other girls") and our lovely protagonist is all wow........I really needed 2 hear that. So tru.

Basically even the good thing of this book turned out bad!!!!

Bottom line: (Angela/Pam/Oscar from The Office in unison voice): Unbelievable! Un-be-liev-a-ble.


“And if I was any other girl, I would have gotten over it by now anyway.”

Now, her eyes narrowed. “You know I hate when you say that.”


“That any-other-girl thing.” She flipped her hand, as if literally swatting the words away. “People are not uniform, Emaline. There is no such thing as any other girl.”


every YA contemporary author of today needs to get on that 2013 dessen sh*t stat i'm having the time of my life
Profile Image for Iffath.
184 reviews
June 4, 2013
me on sarah dessen:

me when i heard about this:


title one: The Best Ever After
title two: Someone Else's Summer
title three: The Moon and More

Profile Image for Kaitlin Reads.
115 reviews6 followers
November 6, 2014
I'm an avid Sarah Dessen lover and I've been waiting for her next book to come out for two years. As soon as The Moon and More came out, I rushed to my nearest bookstore and picked up a copy. I didn't exactly have high expectations- I knew I'd love almost anything Sarah's written... but boy was I wrong.

What. Was. That.

Between the summer romance and trials with her father, there was an underlying theme. Things change and life moves fast and you constantly have to battle the good, the bad, the familiar, and the unknown. I loved this part, seeing as I dealt with the exact same thing when I was 18. Coming from a small town to a big city to go to a University...

But everything else? What. Just what.

A lot of it had to do with the characters.

I just did not feel the characters at all. Morris and Daisy were supposed to be her best friends, but they both felt distant to me. I didn't know them for who they were, just what they did. Morris: The irresponsible friend who didn't know how to keep a job. Daisy: the fashion forward friend who did nothing but sew dresses and tell Emaline that she had no taste. Yep, that about sums it up.

Mom: The worrier and kind hearted one.

Her sisters: Honestly, couldn't tell the two apart. One was a realty enthusiast, and the other one dyed her hair. A lot.

Her dad: The carpenter. Fixes everything.

Luke: I enjoyed Luke because he was the only character that I felt I knew. And I think that's because he had more depth and flaws than any of the other characters. I honestly didn't know how I was supposed to feel about him, though. He seemed like a nice guy, but in the beginning Emaline perceives him as a sex machine. All he wants is to get in her pants. And then he cheats on her, and they break up... But yet he still is there for her and cares about her and in the end she talks about still wanting to be with him? You can't have it both ways. He's either the jerk boyfriend who cheated on you or the one that got away.

Her father: I get the whole "wasn't-there-for-her-will-never-be-there-for-her" thing. Life isn't perfect and I think Sarah wanted to show that not everything works out magically. But he had NO redeeming qualities. Just none.

Benji: My favorite character. He was adorable and innocent, and the most likable one in the entire book.

Theo: What the actual heck? Theo is supposed to be a summer fling with an expiration date. I don't know if I was supposed to feel sad because they were trying to make it work and it just couldn't... or what. I honestly hated Theo from the beginning. He was showy, flashy, and pretentious. He reminded me of all the college students I see in my English classes. A know it all, too big for this small town and everyone in it. He acted like he was better than Emaline the entire time; he had more experience and therefore knew what she needed. What was the actual point of this, though? Why throw in a character that we think we're supposed to invest in and not even wrap things up in the end? They didn't even officially break up, it kind of just ended with a fight. I kept waiting in the last chapter for him to be mentioned but he never was! I thought he was the love interest the entire book but he ended up just being a side character that didn't matter. Was I supposed to hate Theo and root for Emaline to leave him? Was I supposed to be sad when they didn't work? The entire time I felt indifferent to the whole thing. What was the point of this? Just to show that some things don't work out like you want? WHY.

I honestly just didn't care for this book. I felt like I got nothing out of it. I wanted a nice summer read, but ended up with a book that made me more annoyed than anything.

I was wanting more from this and it ended up flat.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Giselle.
990 reviews6,355 followers
June 5, 2013
As my first Sarah Dessen novel I was a little worried as it seems people either love her books or don't, so it's a relief that I fall in with her fans. The Moon and More is an especially perfect beach read. It's lighthearted, it's fun, with a great summery atmosphere, and it has enough emotion to keep you fully immersed.

This book is not really about anything at all (and I say this in a positive light), or some may say it's about everything; it's about growing up. It spans one summer in Emaline's life; the last summer before she's off to college which, for a lot of us, is when our life suddenly feels changed. We say goodbye to our high school days, and often to our boyfriend and hometown as well. It's a situation many can relate to, making this book - a single summer in the life of a small town girl - surprisingly engaging. Emaline's dealing with insecurities towards her high school long term relationship, as well as anxiety of knowing she'll be leaving her small niche in a matter of weeks. In addition, she has her biological father to deal with, which lends some emotional family problems into the mix.

Even though the novel is, in a way, romantically inclined, it remains a part that makes up the sum of this story. If I had to pick what was predominant, I would say it's family. With two sisters, a grandmother, a mother, a father and a dad, in an exceptionally small town, Emaline's family is a large part of her every day life, especially that she's working at the family business renting summer houses on the beach (I did envy her job once or twice!). The family dynamics are lively and full of heart. I loved the bond she has with her mother and sisters, and I'm very happy with how the drama with her biological father resolved. It didn't go the direction I expected--which was the cliché perfect ending. It may not have worked out 100% happily, but I feel it was very realistic. Emaline also learned a lot from it which made her able to understand their relationship, and even embrace her situation.

To touch a bit more on the romance: that, too, was much more realistic than the happily ever afters. I actually found it was quite perfect in its own way. We have her high school boyfriend, and an intensely ambitious NYC fella named Theo, though don't worry there is no love triangle. Theo is a little… energetic? He definitely doesn't fit into the small town life Emaline has been so comfortable in, and to be honest he kind of grated on my nerves for most of the book. His power hungry, arrogant attitude makes it kind of hard to like him. His boss, however, which is nothing but a slob and a total bitch surprised me by how much I enjoyed her character. She was just so… loud. Her whole personality was very loud. The same can also be said about Emaline's fashionista best friend and the lazy "boy next door". Oh and her brother, he was just adorable! Honestly this whole cast was very dynamic and spirited. They are easily the best part of the book. It also helps when you're from a small town like them; I could relate to a lot in their lives.

My first Dessen experience was clearly a successful one, and will not my last. Sparkling with warmth and carefree summer days, The Moon and More is the book you bring with you on vacation!

An advance copy was provided by the publisher for review.

For more of my reviews, visit my blog at Xpresso Reads
1 review6 followers
July 29, 2013
Let this one be more original than her last two books, please God I'm begging you. Sarah Dessen's way of recycling past material (and lines!) makes me quite weary of her sometimes. I hope this one is a little more fresh.
Profile Image for Aimee.
10 reviews1 follower
June 22, 2013
This sounds exactly like the same plot that Dessen uses in mostly all of her works -_-
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Generally, the parents are divorced/one of them has remarried and has kids, both/one are academically demanding, one is dominantly absent, etc. The protagonist is an outsider to whatever small town she moves into, she meets a different, cute boy who has a side that only SHE gets to witness.
Really, Dessen? Really?
Kingsley would not approve.
Whatever. We'll see how "The Moon and More" goes.
Profile Image for Jane.
235 reviews67 followers
June 21, 2013

Before all you loyal Sarah Dessen fanatics fans hurl me out of the fan club and toss my "SARAH FOREVER" badge into the garbage bin, hear me out, okay?

"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."

Yeah yeah, so what's the number one way all writers use to get rid of the "perfect boyfriend"? THEY MAKE HIM CHEAT ON THE GIRL OF COURSE. And does this happen in this book? It's not smart at all and just plain cliche. Really, Sarah? I LOVED LUKE, HOW COULD YOU DEMOTE HIM TO CHEATING EX JUST BECAUSE OF THAT?! And after her boyfriend of 139471399 years agrees that they take a BREAK (not a breakup people), Emaline promptly stuffs her tongue down annoying, sissy, idiotic moronhead's Theo's throat within four hours.

Man she moves fast.

"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."

LIES. ALL LIES. Theo's "sophisticated"?! If annoying-scumbag-who-talks-so-much-that-I-want-to-bash-his-head-in-every-single-freaking-time-he-opens-his-mouth means sophisticated, yeah, he sure is. I swear that even if the sky fell and hell froze over, he would still be rambling on and on about his pet cows. GAH.

And now, here's a quote (yes, I'm pretty sure this whole long ass conversation is a quote in Theo speak) I'll leave with you folks:
“This time, thankfully, he shut up. Which left me with the floor before I was ready to know what to do with it. So, equally ungracefully, I said, “Luke’s not my boyfriend anymore. We broke up this morning.”
He stopped dead in his tracks, the cart he was pushing rattling to a sudden stop. Then he looked at me. “You split up today?”
“That’s why you were upset, when you came over!” he said, pointing at me. I nodded. A big grin spread across his face. “Oh, man. That is great!”
“Well,” I said diplomatically, “I wouldn’t say—”
“I mean, it’s not, of course not,” he added quickly, fixing his expression. “It’s terrible. For Luke. And your, you know, long relationship, which was clearly very important and meaningful.”
“True,” I told him.
“But for me,” he said, smiling again, “it’s good news. Because, number one, I am not That Guy Everyone Hates. Or totally him.”

Status: Didn't make it past the halfway mark because Theo's utter stupidity just couldn't be ignored.
Profile Image for Pinky.
514 reviews431 followers
October 9, 2015
“Life is long. Just because you don't get your chance right when you want or expect it doesn't mean it won't come. Fate doesn't punch a time clock or consult a schedule.”

I enjoyed reading this book but it wasn't my favorite, if I had to choose which one I liked best by Sarah Dessen. I don't know why, but I had a hard time warming up to one of the characters. And it bothered me through out the story because of the fact that he was one of the characters that we see often in a book. But although I didn't like that, I still had a good time.

“The truth was, there was no way everything could be the Best. Sometimes, when it came to events and people, it had to be okay to just be.”

This book is about an 18 year old girl Emailine who has almost everything that she wants. She has a boyfriend, who knows her well because of the fact that they have been dating since Grade 9. While her biological father and her have a complicated relationship. Emailine was expecting a nice summer to work and spend time with her friends and boyfriend, but something changed. In the end, Emailine's father decides to "visit" and Emailine has to deal with a lot of problems. Emailine isn't sure about what she wants for her life, but right when she decided, a bunch of people think that her choices aren't right. So now, Emailine is left confused and isn't sure about what she wants anymore. Will she make her the right choices, or go with what everyone else is saying?

“It takes so little to change everything. If you really thought about it, it would scare you to death.”

Although I liked most of the characters from this book, I didn't like all of them. I wasn't a huge fan of Theo, I found him really annoying and he wasn't helping Emailine at all. I mean at times, I could relate to him, but he was just too pushy and never asked for other people's opinions. But Daisy, Morris, Morgen, Amber, Emailine's Mother and Dad were awesome. It was interesting to learn more about Clyde's pasts. I wasn't a huge fan of Emailine's father either. I really liked Luke though, and I wish he didn't make that one mistake to ruin everything. One of my favorite characters is Benji, he was so easy to relate to, although he was a 10 year old. I knew exactly how he felt and I loved his relationship with Emailine.

“There's a difference between the words father and dad. And it's more than three words.”

It was awesome how this story took place in the same setting as Along For The Ride . All the characters were still there and it was cool to see how everyone moved on. The store Clemintines was still there and Abe's Bikes!!!!!! I loved this aspect of the book the most. Heidi, Clyde, Auden, Maggie, I just loved all these characters and I am so happy I got to read a little bit more about them. Although it was like a small snippet.

“But the bottom line is that, as humans, we are by nature selfish creatures. The only way we care about anything, really, is by making it about us.”

The bonding between the characters was another point that I felt was so powerful. This book was very realistic when it came to the different people and how they bonded. Sarah Dessen knows exactly how to make your heart melt and make you smile. Morris and Emailine's relationship was also very sweet and I love their friendship so much. Emailine's mother is hilarious and it was so hart-warming to read about their relationship and their bonding was so nice and smooth.

“It's always very pure, that last moment before an ugly, unsettling truth hits someone. The most stark of before-and-afters.”

I recommend this book, if you read a Sarah Dessen book and are hesitating to read another one. But if you haven't read Along for The Ride, I recommend that you read that first. And to those who haven't read any Sarah Dessen books and are in the mood for a good contemporary novel, I recommend you read Saint Anything, Along for the Ride, Just Listen, or this book. Trust me, you will love it and Sarah Dessen knows how to make so many different stories with the best life lessons! Plus, she has the best inspirational and life quotes in her books!

“You can never be sure of anyone until you're close enough to see them clearly.”

Profile Image for Cara.
279 reviews721 followers
August 26, 2016

This was my first reaction when I first heard that the impeccable Dessen was coming out with another book. Through many months and many title changes I awaited this book. I even past my most grueling semester yet and I would think, "Don't worry you'll get to read soon." And guess what book was on top of my to-read list? Yup, this one.

Emaline (I'm soooo tempted to type that name with two m's) lives in the beach town of Colby and we find her during the summer before she is to start college. Her life feels set. She works in the family business, has a perfect boyfriend, a great family, and has a full ride to a college a few hours away from home and guess what? Her boyfriend is going to the same college. But Emaline's summer isn't going to turn out how she thinks. In one of the beach houses her family rents out there is a college guy named Theo. He goes to NYU and is working on a documentary about a local artist, and has a passion for what he does. Theo is different from anybody Emaline has grown up with, but Emaline has this invisible pull to her roots and what she knows. To top off her summer her father comes to visit, and this after months of no contact. It's going to be an interesting summer.

There are so many issues breached and explored but it never feels like space is being filled with no purpose. On the contrary, I feel like I know these people and these are their problems. I can believe it because there are details of what a normal life entails. Having your sister crash into your room, and put her shoes up on your bed. A step-dad who has an obsession with renovations and has heart of gold. A grandma who constantly eats Rolos. A half-brother who sucks at cards tricks but you can't help but love him. You know the normal stuff but there is the heavy stuff too. Emaline's fear of the future but inkling of excitement of what could happen next. It was bittersweet to witness Emaline struggle with seeing the summer days pass by like water through her fingers. There just isn't enough time make the memories she wants to fill herself up before she has to leave. She also has to come to terms with having a father that might never be who she wants him to be. Her family is great though and a supportive bunch. I have to give a nod to Morris, one of Emaline's best friends, because I know there is some of us who know a Morris in their life. I absolutely loved how his journey turned out. As always there are the cameos (which are always fun to look for) and one in particular will play a significant part in this story.

I know I might be a "compromised" reviewer because I am true blue fan of Sarah Dessen's but I truly think she is one of the best in YA. This book has her signature style but you can tell that she has matured as a writer. Emaline's sense of who she is and her ability to stand up for herself came through, and I felt the ending and how the book is wrapped was done perfectly. The only misgiving I had was how one of the characters was dealt with, but I won't say who less I spoil it.

All literature gold aside, did anybody else have a strong urge to eat shrimpburgers? I did! And I haven't even had one before, so I need to remedy that soon.
Profile Image for Keertana.
1,127 reviews2,172 followers
June 14, 2013
Rating: 3.5 Stars

The Moon and More has a lot to love, but it's very different from a typical Dessen novel. I think, by now, we've all come to expect a certain type of book when we hear the name Sarah Dessen. Obviously contemporary with a heavy dose of character development, beautiful settings, and swoon. Not to mention rich secondary characters and always, always, always growth, if not self-discovery. And it's a formula that works, every time. While I am thrilled that Dessen chose to veer off from her usual this time around, I can't say I wholly enjoyed it. Nevertheless, this is perfect for those who are looking for highly realistic young-adult-on-the-cusp-of-new-adult reads.

Emaline is an easy character to love; motivated, kind, and with a readable narration. While she lives by the beach, helping a family business, making out with her boyfriend Luke, and generally enjoying life in a small town, she yearns for more. Emaline was conceived when her mother was only a young teen and, consequently, her family is a little different from most. While she has her mother, she also has her dad - who married her mother when Emaline was only three - and two step-sisters. And then, of course, is her father whose contact with her is still recent but already unreliable for he was unable to pay for Emaline's tuition into Columbia and refused to attend her graduation. Needless to say, the relationship between them is strained at best. In the midst of all this, though, Emaline's relationship with Luke isn't heading in the direction she planned and now her father is driving down for the summer as well. All in all, this isn't shaping up to be the summer Emaline imagined...not at all.

As always, Dessen excels in building family relationships. Emaline's relationship with her mother is deep and touching, the kind of bond that takes years to build but is so effectively conveyed by Dessen's writing. Furthermore, Emaline's blooming friendship with her half-brother, Benji, is simply adorable, especially as she helps him to cope with his parents - her father's - divorce. In particular, though, Emaline's relationship with her father is most intriguing. It ends on a very realistic note, bittersweet because of the sad admission that people don't always change and yet the hopeful thought that something strong still does exist between them. And their journey there, their awkward encounters through the summer and the curveball they constantly seem to throw at Emaline, are all so richly explored. Classic Dessen: she never disappoints.

And yet, her most compelling point, the romance, seriously fell flat. For one, it should be known that Emaline and Luke are together only for a short time before they break up and Emaline winds up dating Theo, a NYC student in Colby to film a documentary on Clyde Conaway, a local resident and past artist of great merit. On one hand, I really did like Theo - he was different, cute in a nerdy way and very insecure about himself, unable to really believe that the gorgeous Emaline would date him. At the same time, though, he's quite irritating, a pushover when it comes to listening to his boss and ambitious in a round-about manner. Personally, I was impressed that Dessen created an unlikable love interest. I mean, let's face it: most romances in life don't work out and even if they do, not all of them make you swoon. And yet, I will admit that this set-up didn't make for an interesting read. For one, the plot was slow - as is always with case with Dessen's novels but where the romance picks up when the plot lags, here the romance only slowed it down further - and secondly, Theo was just not a character I could get behind. As readers, we don't really know much about Theo beyond what we see on the surface and he remains that way, oscillating between extremes (insecurity and ambition) and generally failing to charm the crowd.

In addition, there was a lack of depth regarding the secondary characters. Dessen can write beautiful sibling relationships, as she proved with this installment, but I felt as if the bonds between step-sisters was forsaken in this novel in favor of the half-brother relationship Emaline sustained with Benji. Sadly, I know Dessen can write multiple sibling relationships well, as in Just Listen, but that aspect was ignored with her latest. Another issue was the fact that Emaline's father got a lot of limelight and thought in this, but not so much her dad. Cashore's Fire explores a similar father/dad situation, but both these figures are fully realized and their relationship with Fire is as well. The Moon and More lacks that clarity.

Nevertheless, despite the flaws this book had, its messages and themes were incredible. Emaline not only comes into her own, realizing what she wants from life, but she also comes to realize that change and disappointment go hand-in-hand with every walk of life. In this summer leading up to her first year as a college student, she grows immensely and in important ways, which was a nice change from the naive heroines whose growth seems so obvious. All in all, despite my qualms with this one, The Moon and More is a solid read and a Dessen novel I wouldn't hesitate to recommend. Only, really, The Truth About Forever and Just Listen are her best and probably will always remain that way.
Profile Image for Chloe.
167 reviews106 followers
August 13, 2018
Boring. The characters were annoying, the way the story was told as well as the writing were confusing and I didn't care at all for the romance, I despised it.

It was my first Sarah Dessen book and I'm quite disappointed. I own two other books from her, let's just hope they are better.
Profile Image for Taylor.
767 reviews422 followers
July 1, 2015
This is only my second Sarah Dessen book so I wasn't sure what to expect. And while I liked this book a lot, I didn't love it like I did Just Listen.

The Moon and More started out really great but I felt it became pretty slow early on. It's fairly large book, around 450 pages, and I felt like quite a bit could have been cut out. There was a lot of backstory and at times, I really didn't care about it.

I liked Emaline a lot but I didn't really care for either of the boys. And because I couldn't fall in love with them, I couldn't fully fall in love with the story.

I did like the ending because it wasn't the typical ending that I was expecting.

Overall, I liked The Moon and More and I'm glad I read it but I didn't love it. It's a good read but I found myself getting bored.
Profile Image for Briar's Reviews.
1,901 reviews517 followers
March 25, 2020
I have never picked up a book by Sarah Dessen before, but she has long been on my TBR list. I have a few of her novels hidden away on my bookshelves, so it only seemed fitting that I finally pick one of them up! The Moon and More copy I have is actually an ARC copy that a local bookstore gave me in exchange for a donation to charity. That being said, the copy I received may be different than the final copy!

This story follows Emaline and her wild summer. Her romances, her family issues, her school decisions and all of the other drama that comes with being a high school senior who just graduated and is going to be whisked off to college.

I found this book to be a very contemporary novel. It's something I would have enjoyed back in high school - no action, mostly romance and drama, a slice of life-esque novel. It was very "boring" compared to the novels I typically read. There will be readers who absolutely love that this book is so simple to read and doesn't have much going on in the adventure department. It's simply a book about life - high school life. I've grown a bit as a reader and don't enjoy that as much now, but I can appreciate how beautifully Sarah has written this book.

I've seen other reviewers say this book is "mundane" and I definitely agree with that word. It describes it perfectly! And that's not an insult coming from me! I adored how sweet and soft this book was.

Theo is one of the highlights of this book. As an adult, I found him unbearable and crazy - big date ideas, gigantic displays of affection and a mock prom - but as a teen I would have wanted a guy like him. He's spontaneous and sweet and absolutely wild! The intended readers of this book will fall for him HARD.

Another point that I liked is that this book was so real. Most of the issues and drama that are in this book are super realistic. I knew a lot of people in high school dealing with broken families, cheating boyfriends, difficult college choices and family members walking back into their life. Almost every instance in this story felt like it was something that could actually happen and it didn't feel forced. This book almost read like a journal entry, if written in a story format. Kudos Sarah Dessen - you're a good writer!

If this book had a theme, I'd say it was finding yourself. Emaline was exploring who she is, where she came from and how to be her. It was a very sweet story, even if it wasn't my cup of tea. I honestly appreciate this book, even though I didn't enjoy it. It gets five stars from high school me, but not from current book blogger me.

Overall, this is a sweet and fluffy YA that will be adored by many.

Two out of five stars.
Profile Image for Arlene.
1,164 reviews639 followers
May 2, 2013
"The thing is, you can’t always have the best of everything. Because for life to be real, you need it all - good and bad, beach and concrete, the familiar and the unknown, big talkers and small towns…"

The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen marks her newest YA contemporary release, which I was absolutely elated to get my hands on. I’ve been reading Dessen’s books for years, and I truly enjoy her writing, characters and beachside settings. To be able to jump into The Moon and More was sheer bliss, and the story proved once again why Dessen is a sure win in my book! :) Love!

What was exciting about this novel is that the story is a bit different than Dessen’s other books as she takes us back to Colby, but this time we get a glimpse of life in this eastern seaboard town through the lens of a resident. Having visited Colby before, Dessen has previously shared the perspective of a visitor coming into this small beachside town. What I liked about the shift in perspective is that these residents share their story of how summer visitors come and shake up their lives for a few months out of the year, and at times leaving a wake of emotional turmoil behind.

"Again it occurred to me how weird it was to be permanent in a place that everyone else was only temporary."

For Emmaline, it’s a summer of life changing events. She’s spending her last summer in Colby working for her family’s reality office where they manage summer beach house rentals. When August comes around, she’ll be headed off to college to begin the next chapter of her life. During these eventful couple of months before she leaves Colby, she meets Theo, who is a film director’s assistant from New York. He’s working on a documentary for a local Colby artist and when he and Emmaline meet, they strike up an immediate camaraderie. When Emmaline and her boyfriend Luke of three years suddenly break-up, she and Theo decide to see where their relationship will take them. During this time, she also attempts to reestablish her relationship with her estranged father and gets the opportunity to bond with her younger step brother Benji.

There were so many people in Emmaline’s life that I quickly became captivated with. I loved the relationship between her and her mother Emily. Typically in Dessen’s novels, there’s a strained relationship between mother and daughter, but not so much in this book. Emily and Emmaline were extremely close and their bond was both heartfelt and sentimental.

Whatever you need, I will find a way to get to you. I will give you the moon and more. Emily

It was endearing to witness how close she was with her step dad and step sisters Amber and Margo. Emmaline shared some honest and worthy insight into the difference between a dad and a father. In her life, she had both. As much as I was hoping she and her ‘father’ would be able to build a solid relationship, it felt realistic how it all came to pass.

As far as Theo and Luke go, I liked them for their differences and didn’t judge them for their faults. I was pleased with Emmaline’s decision about what role they would play in her life. I felt it was both mature and sensible.

With such a large cast playing a part in this book, including the secondary players such as Morris, Daisy, Clyde, Amber, Margo and even Mr. Gertmann and Rachel��� what Dessen accomplished in The Moon and More with her character driven novel was delivering a wonderful experience through a solid sense of community, family and friends.

Overall, the main character was a worthy narrator for this story. There were so many revealing moments and opportunities for growth that Emmaline truly capitalized on throughout the novel. When I come to care for a narrator as strongly as I did for Emmaline, it only goes to show how much the story resonated with me, so something was definitely done right. Well done and I can’t wait for the next Dessen gem.
Profile Image for Kelsey.
63 reviews36 followers
June 23, 2014
UPDATE: I got the book yesterday and immediately cracked it open and began to read. Sarah Dessen's words enticed me as always to the point where I never looked at the number of pages or cared how far I was into it. It was a bit different than her other books and I'm still not sure if I like that. It wasn't like Dreamland (my favorite by Sarah Dessen, I wish she would write another one like it), but it didn't follow her usual boy meets girl line. I still thought it was good, but it was one of my least favorites. I want to know if Dessen wanted Theo to be a bit 2-dimensional or if that just happened. I still enjoyed it and found Emaline to be one of the closest to the way I act. She cries like a girl who just got out of high school does. Most of the other girls never seemed to cry and when I was eighteen, I think I was always bawling about something. Emaline managed this without seeming whiny or fake. I also appreciated a section of it when Morris is trying to get a knut off a tire and he calls it a bitch. Emaline's reaction is "Of course it's female." I'm going into Women Studies, it sounded exactly like something I would say. Emaline was wonderful, but I didn't have the connection to the boys of the tale or some of her other problems except maybe with her father. He did stand out a bit. Read the book it was a good one. There are spoilers below if you have read the book.

Luke and Theo, two guys who were both decent. Luke did cheat on her, but I didn't find it to be an action to get back at Emaline, but the realization he had been dating her for three years and he couldn't see other girls. Still I understood Luke. He was adorable and was the man in shining armor (though he did go see another girl). He was a guy I could see myself knowing and maybe that was why he had such a simple name. Luke. Not Rogerson, Wes, Macon, or even Theo. It was a name I've heard before and a boy I've met. I wanted to dislike him. He was in the town she had lived in and I wanted to keep telling her to run away and never look back! As I read on, Luke became even more adorable to me. He didn't want her to go too far, but he did support her.

For Theo, I didn't even feel he existed. He was there, he wore girl jeans, and he ate food I wouldn't touch. Emaline didn't tell him she didn't like the over-the-top food and dates. She never told him how she felt about it all and that irritated me. STAND UP FOR YOURSELF! That's the biggest problem I have with Sarah Dessen. All of these girls just keep quiet. I know that they learn by the end and start talking, but until then, it's awful. So she went through with Theo and I didn't even know who he was. He wanted to go into film and he missed all of these opportunities to experience childhood. Still, he was there and he was with her and then he wasn't and he sucked. I hope Dessen was portraying him like this on purpose because if she wasn't, Theo was a major fail in my opinion.

Last part. I enjoyed her and her father's problem and I liked that there was really no hope for them. The whole end of the book was left like this. Emaline was going to a school not too far away (2 hours is the ride from my home to my school, it feels a lot further than it is), she didn't have her dad, Theo was a jerk, and Luke had a giant question mark smack dab on his head. I don't know what happened to Emaline and maybe there will be more information about them in a later book. Even the part about Benji was left up in the air. He did get to see Emaline and he did seem happier. I hoped all of this is right because Benji was sweet and I couldn't help but love him. So to put it all together, not the best, but good. I love anything Sarah Dessen and I can't wait for another book. I hoped others enjoyed it as well!

I'm so very excited for a new book! Though yes, her books do seem repetitive and yes, characters do seem to be overused, I still can't help but be excited. I fall in love with her characters none the less and am excited for each book. I wish she would do something like Dreamland where Rogerson was terrible and yet a reader couldn't help but love him anyway, but I'll get over it. She brings me back to summer romances (not that I had them, but her books fill them in) and a way of realizing how difficult it is to be carefree. Basically, I'm excited, and hate that the release date isn't for another year. :( This is why authors having to promote books sucks. We might get to have a signed copy or meet them face to face, but what us readers are not getting is a new book. Unfortunately. So yay! A year I will wait! :D
Profile Image for Brenna.
334 reviews115 followers
January 30, 2014
How come no one told me there was a new Sarah Dessen book coming out sooner?!

*twiddles thumbs*

*checks calendar*

Update: Just finished! I liked this one - it actually is fairly different from most of Sarah Dessen's other books which is nice :) But it isn't one of my favourites by her either.


Guys, I have been reading Sarah Dessen for FOREVER. I grew up on her books, and because of that I feel like I've been stalking her newest release ever since I heard about it... over a year ago. Believe me, that has been a difficult wait.

The Moon and More was a different experience for me as a fan of Sarah, because it's the first book of hers that I've read after I've grown up (a bit.. I'm not sure I'll ever really feel grown up). And it was really cool that Sarah's newest book is actually perfect for someone who feels like that... like they're a little bit in between.

Reasons to Read:

1. A novel for both old and new fans alike:

I would easily recommend The Moon and More to readers who may be unfamiliar with Sarah's other books (after The Truth About Forever and This Lullaby, of course) but I was equally pleased that it turned out to be so enjoyable for longtime fans as well. The Moon and More stands out among her other books, and it has a distinct feel to it. All of Sarah's books deal with change and coming of age in one way or another, but The Moon and More is a bit more traditional in handling this. Featuring a girl who has just graduated high school and is looking ahead to the next chapter in her life- that's something just about everyone can relate to. It's Emaline's authentic voice as she navigates this transition that endears her to readers.

2. An ending that focuses on contentedness:

I love a happy ending, I do. But sometimes? Those happily ever afters just don't fit. The Moon and More isn't a sad ending by any means, but there's something a little bittersweet about it. Change means something fresh and exciting is coming, but it also means letting go. And just because something is new, doesn't make it good for you. But this ending was satisfying. It's more about being content, then being happy. I like that.

3. Emaline has a unique voice, and an honest one:

Emaline isn't so sugary sweet. But she isn't utterly whiney either. She falls somewhere in the middle... and probably sounds about the same as I did at 18, or any of my friends, or even you. (Possibly even my little sister next year... eeek.) She's a bit sassy, but not unbelievably witty. She makes stupid little mistakes but most importantly, she doesn't dwell on them. Her family feels so real, too. They aren't flawless, but they're easy to love and quirky in their own ways. Honestly? Her family was probably my favourite aspect of this book! And the romance was VERY unexpected, so pick this one up if you appreciate a different look at teen romance.

I loved Emaline because I felt like I could really relate to her, with where I am now. I'm a wee bit older than she is during The Moon and More, but I'm still a little bit in that "in between" stage of growing up. It's weird and kind of makes me feel like this (enjoy that little video - you're welcome).

I was disappointed with how much attention some secondary characters received though, in lieu of others. Truthfully, Emaline's close friends are far more intriguing than her love interests. I appreciated the love story... but not until the end of the book. Mostly because it wasn't what I expected, and that had its advantages and disadvantages. (Theo is just dull. Sorry, Theo-fans.) And I wouldn't say this is Sarah Dessen's BEST book, but it's definitely one of my top picks.

The Moon and More is proof that I'll never be too old for a Sarah Dessen book. And I'm so pleased that I can feel like these books are growing up right along with me!

ARC received from Penguin Canada for blog tour and review; no other compensation was received.
Profile Image for Alice-Elizabeth (Prolific Reader Alice).
1,157 reviews160 followers
January 1, 2019
Read for The YA Room's Throwback Bingo Challenge!

Challenge Square: Stand-Alone

After giving some of Sarah's books a try, I'm starting to believe now that her writing style just isn't for me. The novel was slow-pacing, unlikable characters and lots of back story/info dumping. Set in the beach town of Colby, Emaline works a summer job and has a steady boyfriend, until Theo and his boss show up to film a documentary in the town. Soon, their paths collide and there is a lot to deal with: family issues, break-ups and love. I found some of the romance to be quite insta-lovey for my liking. I won't be re-reading!
Profile Image for Thomas.
1,521 reviews9,015 followers
July 28, 2013
Queen Dessen, Empress Dessen, and Rock Star of YA Realistic Fiction Dessen - all titles I whispered while reading this book, usually after the words "bow down to..." After ten previously published novels, Sarah Dessen still has that signature prose style of hers - just enough telling and showing to suck you in while establishing back story, a setting that sits in the back of your mind when you close your eyes, and characters that you can believe in.

The summer after her senior year, Emaline has only a few months left to spend at Colby - the beach town she's lived all her life - until she leaves for East U. She has it all, in a way: an attractive and kind boyfriend, a dysfunctional at times yet altogether endearing family, and great friends who have her back. But her perfect, serene plan takes a nosedive into deep waters when her absentee father shows up after a long silence. Emaline meets Theo, too - a nerdy yet exciting boy from New York whose ambition may spark some of her own. Even with an SAT verbal score that got her into Columbia and a knack for knowing just what to do and when, Emaline struggles to hold on and let go amidst her last summer home.

If Courtney Summers punches me in the gut with her prose, Sarah Dessen takes me on a trip through the clouds. I could get lost in her writing for days upon days, weeks upon weeks. The irony is that her writing style doesn't stick out too much, but that in itself is what makes it so apparent - how she can create a heck of a lot out of nothing. Colby with its eccentric residents and its few clubs felt familiar and cozy. Emaline's family carried just enough issues to work out and her friends had relevance to the story as a whole. Not to mention the two romances within this book, one of which felt even more realistic than those featured in several of Dessen's past stories.

Dessen takes on theme well too. The word "understated" comes to mind when I think of her work. While the idea of growing up and letting go to the past was obvious - not in a bad way, just due to Emaline's tendency to introspect - I loved, loved how Dessen handled Emaline's relationship with her father. Without spoiling anything major, Emaline learns an important lesson by the end of this book because of him, one that resonated with me on a deeply personal level, and one that Dessen incorporates with skill and grace.

While The Truth About Forever and Just Listen still claim the "best books by Sarah Dessen with unparalleled character development and writing" throne, I wouldn't hesitate to recommend The Moon and More to those searching for a light and well-written summer read. No matter what, I will always bow down to Sarah Dessen.

*review cross-posted on my blog, the quiet voice.
Profile Image for Georgia.
272 reviews
June 26, 2013

Update 26/6/13:

This was so good! Loved it, loved it, loved it <3

Update 9/11/12:

Ooooh pretty cover! Sarah Dessen has such pretty covers <3
And, you know you're a prestigious author when your name's bigger than the title of the book. ;)

Profile Image for Annie.
53 reviews12 followers
Want to read
June 18, 2012
i love her books! i really do but...
i just want more masterpieces like Dreamland :O
22 reviews
June 9, 2013
So here's the thing, I actually am a fan of Sarah Dessen. The Truth About Forever is one of my favorite summer books. But this book really missed the mark for me. In this book, Dessen seemed to attempt a little more subtely than her typical sad girl meets dreamy boy who changes her life. Instead, the protagonist, Emaline, deals with two relationships, one her high school sweetheart, the other the tourist from the city. The book tries to tackle the question, how do you move forward without abandoning everything you know and love? It's just not that successful.
Part of the problem is certainly the side characters. None of them really fleshed out. The majority of them were just side characters who seemed to adhere to absolutly no internal logic or character consistency. There was also too many of them. Not to mention that none of them were all that interesting, unlike the usual colorful band of sidekicks in Dessen's other novels.
Perhaps the biggest problem was the fact that I didn't really like Emaline. I could never get a handle on her. Was she an avid reader or just enjoyed the books she read for class? Why was she so obsessed with her SAT Verbal as the almost sole measure of intelligence? Did she ever really like Theo? Because it certainly never seemed like it. Also, she seemed to be good at everything. She wasn't a very flawed character, which to me, doesn't make her feel like a real person. Not to mention her annoying mantra, "if I was any other girl...". What does that even mean Emaline?
There were more problems with this book, (it's pacing, Luke's characteriziation, the breakup, etc.) that I don't even want to go into. But despite my vitriol, it wasn't absolutely horrible. There were a few redeeming moments. They were just few and far between.
Profile Image for Natalia.
254 reviews59 followers
August 16, 2017
Most of the story was okay, but it was nothing special. However the ending really made up for that. That wasn't the typical contemporary YA romance ending. The main character doesn't end up with neither of her love interests. But it is still a happy ending. I love that here the main character doesn't need a boy to be happy. I love the sweet and cute books, in which the characters end up together, but it is really refreshing to see a heroine, which realizes that a boy isn't everything and has her own ambitions and goals. Also I liked the whole father and dad thing.
Profile Image for Laura BP.
164 reviews30 followers
July 7, 2015
Lo cierto es que me he llevado una sorpresa con este libro. Ha sido una mezcla de sensaciones importante. Justo cuando pensaba que me iba a dejar indiferente, en el momento en el que más necesitaba que la historia fuera distinta, que se alejara de los tópicos, ¡bum! Todo ha pegado un giro que no he visto venir. Ha conseguido que cierre el libro con una sonrisa y me ha hecho pensar. Creo que Sarah Dessen siempre deja alguna cosita especial dentro de sus libros, una perlita.
Profile Image for Annabel ♥.
246 reviews6 followers
August 9, 2013
UPDATED 6/27/13

So I reread this, because I really hate to post a review with any kind of negativity in it when its Sarah Dessen, and let me just say, it was AMAZINGGGG! I can't believe i didn't enjoy it more the first time. I'd give this book 5 stars my second time reading it, so I'm averaging the two, hence the 4 stars :) I'll post a full review if I have time.

Now onto my slightly more negative first review (I don't agree with half of these things anymore, just saying )

You can find this review and others on my blog: http://inlovewithbookishthings.blogsp...

After reading The Moon and More I can say with the utmost confidence that Sarah Dessen is my favorite author of all time. Her writing is completely mesmerizing and it just gets better with every book. However, I feel that The Moon and More falls slightly short of all of Sarah Dessen's other works. This book is no This Lullaby. And while it is expected that Dessen's books can't all be as good as This Lullaby, I was a bit disappointed.

I think the thing that bothered me the most with this book was the romance. Neither of the romances were developed enough, and I didn't feel any attachment to either guy. Sarah Dessen attempted a love triangle but I didn't really like the way she went about writing it. Luke was a douchebag, of course I didn't like him, and although Theo was slightly better, their relationship was never explained very much, and it came to a dead end. At the end of the book, Emaline never said what happened with her and Theo, even though they broke up. I thought there should be some sort of closure at the end, but there wasn't. There just didn't seem to be a central plot direction. Maybe there was, and I'm just completely missing it, but I don't think so. So therefore, the romance kind of sucked.

Emaline as a protagonist was ok. Sarah Dessen's heroines usually have some sort of gusto that is different from other heroines seen in YA fiction, but Emaline is definitely at the end of the list for me. She seemed cold, rude, and I just wasn't able to make connections with her that well. I understand that she had gone through a lot, but her character was... not really relatable and obnoxious.

But, of course, reading this book was a definitely a treat. Sarah Dessen's writing is perfect, when I say perfect, I mean MORE than perfect. Each sentence was perfectly formed and fit together like a puzzle. I can't get enough of the words she writes, and despite my complaints, I was sad when this book was over. No more Sarah Dessen until...I don't know when, but not for at least a couple years. There are still some Dessen books I haven't read, so I'm definitely on those soon.

If you're hesitating to read The Moon and More, I would say that there are some legit things to be hesitant about, but if you are a Sarah Dessen fan, then go for it! Most of the reviews I see are 5-star perfect, but this just wasn't my favorite Dessen. So this might be me just being picky and you might LOVE this book.
Profile Image for Mariah Roze.
1,029 reviews934 followers
March 21, 2020
I'm trying to cut-down on my To-Read shelf, so every month I am trying to read one book that has been on there for a very long time. This was the book I chose to read this month from the list. Sarah Dessen was my favorite author when I was in high school, so I had high expectations for this book. However, they didn't live up to them. The book was okay, but definitely not fantastic.

"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?"
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