The Moon and More. Sarah Dessen. Viking: Penguin Group (USA). June 2013. 384 pp. pbk. ISBN #: 9780670785605.
Emaline is very happy with her life. She works at her grandmother’s beach resort and has a steady boyfriend, Luke, who is described as “hot” without a shirt. Her job involves making sure everyone has a comfortable stay and she has made no plans for the future, not because she fears anything but just seems to take life as it rolls by day after day. But that’s about to change quite a bit – life is change at certain stages whether one wants it or not, and the essence of this story is how one embraces, fights, or flies from it.
When Emaline is taking a VIP package of wine and fruit to one of the more luxurious resort areas, she meets a summer intern named Theo, who is working with a snooty director on a documentary film about a famous painter who lives like a regular guy and really doesn’t want the hype. Add to the mixture that Emaline’s absent father all of a sudden shows up exhibiting interest in his daughter’s education and college application process. At first she is cautious, then enthused, and later shocked by his on again, off again presence. She and Luke start to fight, have some misunderstandings, a betrayal and then a break-up. But as upset as she is initially, she begins to realize the future may not have as many predictable scenarios as she had hoped.
Forced to turn down a Columbia University acceptance, she decides to go to a local college but she’s not so sure that Luke will be part of that future picture. Maybe she should change her plans totally. But things get complicated when a relationship with Theo starts to grow and her father moves into the area, bringing her half-brother Benji along, who comes to worship the ground Emaline walks on. Mom and Grandma are not so sure about all these changes!
This is a tough, tender novel full of shifts in points of view about certain people. The characters are presented with all their best assets and toughest, weakest flaws. Unlike other books where characters paint black and white caricatures, Emaline learns to deal with whatever comes moment to moment. Love is a changing phenomena as well and passion is something to follow with all of one’s being! Readers will love this very real, smart and sassy character and the story threading and weaving its way around her town of Colby, a place built on sand that is far more solid than one could dream! Very nicely done, Sarah Dessen! More please!