July 03, 2013

Review: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

The Moon and More

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?

A Long Story Short:

I love Sarah Dessen's novels, her writing, but The Moon and More completely failed to amaze me. I didn't like the main character, or any of the other characters. The plot was slow, or non - existent, and towards the ending we got a fast-foward instead of solved problems and meaningful messages. In my opinion, this was a boring beach story and nothing more - sorry!

Review for You:

I'm going to spare you the introduction and get straight to the point: this one was an epic fail. Frankly, I haven't been this disappointed with a book in...months? And by a Sarah Dessen probably never.
I mean, The Moon and More definitely annoyed me in a way that was similar to her debut novel, That Summer.
Too slow, nothing happening, no character development. 
Basically, all the things I love about Sarah Dessen were in there - but everything else, the fundament a good novel needs was nowhere to be found.
Let's start - literally - at the beginning.
It's never a good sign to lose interest in a book after the first chapter, but I could have handled that. It took me awhile to pick the book up every time, but I managed and promised myself that things would get better the more I read. It was Sarah Dessen, after all.
Instead of starting the book with a crucial scene - or just a funny introduction, we were thrust into everyday life at a beach house company that the story took place at. 
I think everyone knows these kinds of people who you have just met but who start telling you their whole entire life story and situation right away. No introductions, no small talk, they go straight to the point.
That's exactly how the narrator, Emaline, was for me. The story mainly focused on her everyday life. Which meant her work at the family business, chores, work, a night out at a diner, work, chores, catfights with sisters, work, chores,...
You get the point. And in between were page - long monologues about her parents' story,about her stepdad, her sister, herself, everyone else in the smalltown she lives in.
Now, all of this still isn't the big problem I had with The Moon and More. 
I could have even handled the rather boring setting. Sarah Dessen is known for letting all of her books be set in Colby, a little fictional beach town. And she is also known for constantly mentioning the beach on her blog. After a while, it was just too much beach and beach atmosphere for me to handle. I felt like she was writing the book more for herself than for the readers. It was more a description of how life at the beach could be like if you weren't there for a vacation but lived there year - round and that irritated me. I personally don't care about the beach or life at the beach and I don't want to read a whole book if beach work/life is the only thing it deals with.
Addititonally, I hated pretty much all of the characters. Emaline freaked me out with her ongoing selfishness. Luke was a nice guy until he seemed to turn into that totally strange creature that can only be explained by a sudden swap of brains - and certainly not character development. Emaline's family was plain weird (seriously, what's with all of their hanging out in her room all the time???) and - even worse - completely one-dimensional. 
Anyway, that's still not what made me dislike the book so much.
What had me so annoyed, eventually, was the result of everything mentioned above. It's not like the sheer amount of little problems added to one big one. It's more that without likeable characters or plot or story development, there's not much the book can offer you. There's nothing I want to remember about The Moon and More.
Emaline - and every. single. other. character - completely failed to show any development at all. Which made it impossible for me to unravel a message behind those 400+ pages of story.
Also, Emaline's life at the end of the book was so similar to what it was like in the beginning that I honestly think it wasn't even worth it to read the story about her summer at all.
Overall, I'm sorry to say that I just don't recommend the book. I didn't like it and I can't see why anyone else would. However, Sarah Dessen still remains one of my favorite authors of all time and that's why I highly recommend her novel The Truth About Forever, Lock and Key, Just Listen and What Happened to Goodbye.

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