Rather Be Reading » A Blog by Two Busy Girls Who Always Find Time For a Each Other

Masthead header

Magan: The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen

negative book review of the moon and more by sarah dessenThe Moon and More by Sarah Dessen ( web| tweet )
Publication Date: July 16, 2013
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Pages: 435
Target audience: Young Adult
Keywords: making college plans, family struggles, love triangle
Format read: ARC from Publisher (Thank you!)
Previous books reviewed by author: Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, This Lullaby (E), This Lullaby (M)

Summary: Post-graduation, Emaline finds herself struggling with what to do with her life. Does she attend the Ivy League school her biological father thinks she ought to attend or does she go to the state school where her boyfriend Luke will be?

I’m going to mix things up a little bit for this review because I have so, so many thoughts about The Moon and More. 

Pluses:

+ The family dynamic is really strong from the details of Emaline’s biological father’s lack of responsibility to her stepdad’s strong involvement in her life and the craziness that is the family realty business. Her sisters, Amber and Margo, are polar opposites but are awesome minor characters that really added character depth to the story. Oh, and there’s also Beji, Emaline’s half-brother, who is ten years old and idolizes his older sister; he’s also extremely analytical and quite brilliant at solving problems.

+ Emaline was a very strong main character. She’s a smart, level-headed character that’s very driven (to an extent). Confusion creeps into her life when she begins to question what she wants to do with her life. Her biological father and the new city boy in town, Theo, want Emaline to expect more for herself, but she doesn’t want to grow out of Colby by going to some fancy school that will separate her from her family and lead her to have tons of debt.

+ Revisiting Colby was a delight, even though I felt I should have remembered more details than I did from Along for the Ride than I did. Maybe a re-read of that would have gotten me in the right frame of mind and I would have felt even more connected to the story.

Minuses:

– I really struggled with the timeline and sequence of events. There were areas that felt really bumpy to me and I felt they could have used a bit more finessing. (Disclaimer: I did read an ARC for The Moon and More so some things could have been changed in the final print version.)

– The language. One thing I’ve noticed about Dessen’s writing is that no matter the character, she uses the same dialect and phrasing for every. single. one of her characters. Every one. I almost started circling the repetitious parts so I could visually see if I had a plausible reason to be upset. In the end, I realized (sadly) that if someone had read The Moon and More to me in a monotoned voice with zero inflection or character changes, there would have been moments I would not have noticed who was speaking because the characters were indistinguishable.

– The length. The sequence of events in the beginning occur pretty rapidly. BAM BAM BAM — Emaline breaks up with her boyfriend Luke and begins dating Theo. And then things began to creep along for me. While I love following characters around and having a sense of what their real lives are like, there was just a bit too much of that for me. So much that it made the rest of the story drag and the end resolution felt a bit rushed and anticlimactic.

– While I mentioned how much I loved the inclusion of all the family members, I felt there were maybe too many characters to focus on here. There’s a whole storyline about a local artist, the crazy woman who is trying to film a documentary about him, Emaline’s best friend Morris (who I never really got), and so on. This was definitely a story that focused primarily on Emaline’s life and moving forward, but some things (like the kind of love-triangle) weighed the story down.

My book-loving-heart was so full of hope going in to The Moon and More, but I wish I felt a bit more satisfied after finishing it. In the future, I hope Dessen pushes herself to emphasize the important elements of the story, maintain focus, and to become a more diverse writer by breaking the mold and creating unique characters and language.

rather be reading borrow from the library icon

Goodreads | Amazon

November 7, 2013 - 1:16 am

Allison: The Moon and More | Sarah Dessen | Book Review - […] Rather Be Reading: “My book-loving-heart was so full of hope going in to The Moon and More, but I wish I felt a bit mor…” […]

July 2, 2013 - 10:24 am

Courtney @ The Lit Girl - Oh no! I’ve seen a ton of reviews of people who were excited for The Moon and More and were let down. I used to LOVE Sarah Dessen as a teen (I haven’t read any of her work since then) and I’m nervous to read this one because I haven’t seen a stellar review of it yet!

July 2, 2013 - 10:20 am

Asheley Tart (@BookwormAsheley) - It’s a pretty widely known/growing fact that I’m afraid of Sarah Dessen which is sad since she is an NC author and I like to support my peeps. I’ve only read two of her books and both of them were pretty tough for different reasons. HOWEVER, I got brave just yesterday, in fact, and put Along For the Ride on hold at my library. Now, that aside, I see that you mention that this book takes place in Colby?? (I know nothing about this book.) Fun fact: Colby is actually patterned after Emerald Isle, NC. I was just there a few days ago. My go-to beach, not too from me. That’s kind of fun, right? (:

July 2, 2013 - 3:54 am

Trixie - SUPER DISAPPOINTED. Just skimmed through the last chapters, from chapter 15. The big reveal of the father was, well, so cliché and predictable. I didn’t feel any attachment to any characters, she didn’t build them well enough. Plot was unbelievably slow and crawling! What a waste of time. If the characters in her books were to play musical chairs, I wouldn’t be surprised. Her stories follow the same plot line, characters of the same mold. Along For the Ride Is her best one.

June 30, 2013 - 4:44 pm

Lucy - I just started listening to the audiobook of this yesterday and like it pretty well so far. It’s classic Dessen but I can see your point that maybe she should shake up the formula a little bit. I’m not too fond of Morris either. Not looking forward to the love triangle!
Still need to catch up on Dessen’s other books like This Lullaby, though I loved Along for the Ride and like the shout-outs in the Moon and More.

June 27, 2013 - 9:37 am

Leah @ The Pretty Good Gatsby - Oh wow.. I’m a total Dessen newbie and have ONLY hear the highest of praise for her books. I was looking forward to starting with this one, but now I’m wondering if one of her older books might be better.

That’s such a disappointment about the language. Distinct voices are a MUST for any novel, but especially when one is filled to the brim with characters. Hopefully the finished copy had been revised a bit.

I’m sorry you were 100% thrilled with this one, Magan! I’m still interested in giving Dessen a shot, but I’ll probably go for Just Listen or Along for the Ride instead.

June 27, 2013 - 7:32 am

Ash @ Paranormal Indulgence - Oh, I sooo hope that I have a better reaction to this one. But Sarah Dessen’s books can be hit and miss with me. My great loves are The Truth About Forever, Along for the Ride, and maybe Lock and Key, which I think is the consensus and there’s probably a reason for that. Probably having to do with the some of the disappointing factors you mentioned about this one…

June 26, 2013 - 11:00 pm

Alise - Love the way that you divided up your review! Overall sounds like Dessen is running out of unique material. I have started to notice some of her plots are pretty similar to each other. I think I will take your advice and borrow it 🙂

Alise @ Readers In Wonderland

June 26, 2013 - 9:14 pm

tabithasbookblog - I feel the same way about this book – well.. pretty much the same way! I really enjoyed Emaline as a character and I loved the dynamic of family/friends, but it felt like there was too much at times. I also didn’t feel the same connection to the beach town of Colby as I did in past books, but I did like seeing characters from Along for the Ride.

Great review!

June 26, 2013 - 5:25 pm

Alexa Y. - I do like Sarah Dessen! But my rule is never to read her books one after another. I’ve been looking forward to The Moon and More for a while, so I’ll definitely still be checking this out. But I’m sorry to hear it didn’t quite meet your expectations 🙁

June 26, 2013 - 4:03 pm

Ginger @ GReads! - I felt a bit let down by this one, too. I struggled through the majority of it & REALLY wanted to love it because man some of her previous novels really blew me away. Since I read Along for the Ride (and proclaim it to be my favorite of her’s now) just last year, revisiting Colby was a huge plus for me. I felt myself enjoying more of the secondary characters, rather than Emaline. Which isn’t totally unusual, because Dessen’s secondary characters is what she’s known for – in my opinion. But in previous novels, as much as I’ve enjoyed them, I still felt tied back to the MC. However in this one, I never felt that pull. Also – was completely turned off by Theo and that whole scenario. It just didn’t fit, anywhere. I found myself rushing through scenes that involved him because I disliked it that much – which in turn caused me to dislike Emaline a bit.

Ok wow. I had a lot to say, ha.

(side note for Magan: Gone Gone Gone is playing as I type this! Ha!)

June 26, 2013 - 2:24 pm

Jamie - Really thoughtful review, Magan! I felt like I could really get a sense for the good and the bad of this one. I have only read a couple of Sarah Dessen’s novels so I’ll probably end up giving this one a chance this summer but I feel like some of the things you mentioned (too many characters and indistinguishable characters..I’ve totally had that happen while reading) will be an issue for me too. BUT the story sounds pretty darn good so we will see!

But at least if I read this one maybe I can go back and read all the ones I missed that people have raved about. Might be a better plan in the end! Which of her is your fave?

June 26, 2013 - 1:10 pm

jen @ Pop! Goes The Reader - I’m sorry that this book turned out to be a bit of a disappointment 🙁 I’ve never read one of the Sarah Dessen’s novels before but would like to remedy that this summer. I think I’ll read one of her earlier novels like Just Listen instead as people seem to have a very strong fondness for her older work. I can certainly see what you mean about the language though – Even ardent fans of Dessen’s seem to like her work precisely because it’s predictable and familiar. While this can certainly be perceived as a positive attribute, I would imagine it might also become a little repetitive and frustrating after awhile.

June 26, 2013 - 9:02 am

Bookworm1858 - This book was a bit of a disappointment for me too-can’t remember thinking about the phrasing of Dessen’s characters as I mostly just appreciate their eloquence but I think I know what you mean.

Your email is never published or shared. Required fields are marked *

*

*

Back to Top|Subscribe via RSS|Subscribe by Email