Enter Theo, a super-ambitious outsider, a New Yorker assisting on a documentary film about a reclusive local artist. Read more...
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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?
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2013-04-08
- Reviewer: Staff
Emaline has grown up happily in the quiet beach town of Colby, N.C. (a setting that will be familiar to Dessen’s many fans), where she lives with her mother, stepfather, and stepsisters. She’s been dating a handsome local boy, Luke, for four years; they both work for her grandmother’s property rental company and plan to attend East U in the fall. Then Emaline’s quasi-estranged birth father and her 10-year-old half-brother, Benji, show up, as does another out-of-towner—an ambitious and romantic filmmaker’s intern named Theo—upending Emaline’s life and aspirations. Family, self-discovery, and change have always been key themes in Dessen’s (What Happened to Goodbye) work, and they take center stage. Even though Emaline has two boys falling in and out of love with her, what’s most at stake for her is figuring out what she wants for her future and deciding who to prioritize within her highly populated and very busy life. Dessen is as skilled as ever at turning out steady, satisfying stories about teens that are easy to fall for. Ages 12–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Writers House. (June)
Dreams as big as the sea
It’s the summer between high school graduation and the start of college, and Emaline longs for a transformative summer, the kind she imagines many tourists encounter when they visit her small beachfront community of Colby, North Carolina. But it seems hard to have that kind of wild, crazy and carefree summer when her days are filled with handing out towels and checking in renters for the several properties managed by her family’s realty company.
Just when Emaline is convinced that this summer will be just like every other—except for her impending departure to a nearby state university at summer’s end—everything changes. She and her longtime boyfriend, Luke, have hit a rough patch in their relationship. Her birth father—with whom Emaline had a cordial relationship up until a recent betrayal—shows up in Colby with Emaline’s 10-year-old half brother, Benji, in tow. And one of the summer renters, Theo, who is in town from New York to assist with a documentary film project, seems to offer Emaline the kind of different, glamorous, romantic summer she thought she always wanted.
Sarah Dessen is an expert at depicting young women on the verge of big changes, either in their family lives or in their romantic relationships. She also excels at tying story to place, in this case the fictional community of Colby, which has been the setting for several of her novels (readers will appreciate cameo appearances by several of Dessen’s previous characters here). In Emaline’s story, this link between setting and character is particularly strong, as she gradually realizes that she can discover her own identity apart from the place that has always defined her. The Moon and More is the perfect summer read, full of steamy days, romantic nights and life-changing possibilities.