Dessen, Sarah. The Moon and More. New York: Viking Juvenile, 2013. 978-0670785605. 384 p. $19.99. Gr. 9-12.
Spending time with a book by Sarah Dessen is like spending time with your best friend; you know what to expect, but enjoy it nonetheless. In The Moon and More, Dessen once again takes her readers to the lovely beachside town of Colby described in her novel Along for the Ride. Our protagonist, Emaline, has lived there her entire life. She is content living with her mother, stepfather and two sisters. Her boyfriend Luke has been a constant in her life since 9th grade. She never thought of needing much more until her biological father, with whom she communicates mostly by email, convinces her to apply to Columbia University. He promises to pay for her schooling but then rescinds this offer as soon as she receives her acceptance letter. Emaline agonizes over his lack of contact, but is happy enough attending the local university, and prepares to spend her final summer after senior year working for the family’s beach house rental business. That is, until a documentarian and her cute young assistant Theo rent out the most expensive house in the area. They convince Emaline that she must help them make contact with local artist Clyde Conaway, who gave up art long ago to return to Colby and live in anonymity. Theo believes that Emaline deserves better than her simple life in Colby, and soon Emaline herself is questioning her path in life. When her father shows up with her younger half brother in tow, Emaline’s summer is suddenly not what she expected it to be. Dessen grabs the reader from the beginning with Emaline’s authentic, yet mature, perspective, leading the reader to understand the nervousness of a young adult on the cusp of a new life. I highly recommend this title to any Sarah Dessen fan, or to those looking for a good, comfortable read.
Realistic Lindsey Myers, Peters Township High School
I was a late-bloomer Sarah Dessen fan, and discovered her while I was in college. I devoured her books one by one, and now eagerly await each new novel, and follow her on Twitter (I highly recommend following as many YA authors as you can. They are all hilarious, and Twitter provides a wonderful opportunity to hear from our favorite authors on a daily basis!). Sarah Dessen generally writes about young women just about ready to cross the line from high school to college or beyond. Usually I find that Sarah Dessen fans are in tenth and eleventh grade, but this year I am endeavoring to promote her books to our seniors.
Our English 12 teachers typically have one independent reading project, for which the students select a book and then share their thoughts about the book in a Goodreads discussion group. Most of the students in English 12 are not avid readers, so it does take some time to convince them 1) that reading is valuable, and 2) that they can find something that they will enjoy. Sarah Dessen’s books, with their themes of growing up and experiencing life after high school, are engrossing, easy reads with mature themes that are perfect for young women in grade 12. Her characters are usually authentic, and their thoughts are mirrored in many young women ready to graduate high school. I hope to persuade many young women ready to graduate to give Sarah Dessen a try. Hopefully, they will discover how awesome her books are a few years earlier than I did!