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?When I first started reading The Moon and More, I was disappointed. Disappointed with the fact that for the first time ever, I was not feeling a Sarah Dessen book. To me, Sarah Dessen is known for her strong character development, tangible relationships and solid storytelling. I wanted to convince myself that, despite the fact that I was not enjoying the story, all of those elements were there, but sadly, I must admit that the only element that really shone through was the character development. It sounds dramatic, but it is a sad sad day for me when I have to admit that the relationships and storytelling wasn’t as solid as I was used to. But, being the loyal Sarah Dessen fan that I am, I just kept pushing on. I hoped it would get better, but as I kept reading I started to doubt that it would ever happen.
First off, for the first time ever, almost every single character in this book was unlikable. Yes, realistically, no one is perfect and everyone has their flaws and some growing to do, and while I love to see this all unfold in stories, these people were just plain horrible. It seemed as though the person was either spineless, selfish, petty or The Holy Trinity: all three. What is shocking is that unlike the girls before and after her, Emaline just happened to fall into the Holy Trinity category. That is never a good thing. Usually we can rely on Sarah’s main girl to give us some balance and normalcy and that just was not the case in this story. I never wanted to slap a Dessen girl so much in my life.
Emaline was kind of a mess. Now, I will admit, I love me a good mess but Emaline was just something else. I understand being restless and her want for something new and interesting, but what I don’t understand is her willingness to give up all common sense just to achieve that. She got herself into a relationship that we all knew she knew was wrong, just for the sake of a new experience. Like I said, I can kinda get it. But girl, I do not have time for wasted time and she was just wasting her damn time. The sad thing is, Luke technically cheated on Emaline and I like him better than I could ever like Theo. Theo was untrustworthy, snobby, and a complete brat. He was very jealous and some of the things he said to Emaline were just unacceptable. He insinuated multiple times that he was shocked that someone “like her” would have gotten into an Ivy League school like Colombia when someone like him (rich kid from an affluent family) couldn’t. Through all of his BS Emaline just kept finding excuses to stay with this scallywag.
The relationships between the characters were weird. In the beginning of the story, Emaline roasted Morris. She straight up called him out. I understand her being hard on him, because she was right, he needed to get his shit together. But she made it sound like he was completely annoying and an inconvenience. I mean yeah, friends can be annoying, especially best friends who are like family, but she made it sound like she hated him. From then on, I was totally confused about their relationship. Emaline always made sure to say how much she loved her Dad and made sure everyone understood the difference between Joel (her biological father) and her Dad who raised her. As much as she raved about her dad, the relationship between them was very poorly knit. Sure, I totally believed that she had an amazing relationship with her dad, I just wish Sarah would have showed it more.
I would say one of the main themes of this book was identity. It was something that Emaline, her friend Morris and even Clyde (to a certain extent, that fool was pretty petty too) were searching for. Maybe their confusion translated to the story telling and that is why the story seemed jumbled and confused at times. I felt like there was so much involved in this story that was unnecessary, including the length. It would have been far more interesting and made a bigger impact, if a lot of the mess in this book had been cut out. I mean, yeah, it is great when you get detail and backstory, but there is also such thing as too much detail and backstory, especially when it doesn’t benefit, but, actually takes away from the book. I honestly can’t believe that I read the entire thing because there were so many times that I just wanted to skip entire chapters to be done with it. I would like to say I am glad I didn’t but I really don’t think it would have made a difference.
The saving grace of this book was the ending. SPOILER ALERT: For the first time ever, the girl ends up with… NOBODY! She ends up with herself which is so important.
All in all I didn’t like the book, but I gave it 3 stars because I got to see some familiar faces and hear about some important people from Christmas past. Also, the last few chapters (probably like, 2) made the story a little less disappointing.