negative book review of the moon and more by sarah dessen

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. 


+ 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.


– 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

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Magan’s May 12, 2013 Shelve It

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

Surprise, surprise! I’m back with a vlog for this week’s Shelve It! It’s been a while, huh? I know — I’m sorry about that. There seems to rarely be quiet time to do a vlog with our baby girl happily crawling around everywhere. (But seriously — what a joy it is to have her!) I attended TLA a few weeks ago with my great friends Jess, Ginger, Lena, and Sarah. I was very intentional about selecting only books I am 100% interested in and did not want to walk away from the conference feeling greedy. What I’m showing you is what I got (aside from a few books Estelle will share with you that I got signed for her).

Happy watching!

For Review from TLA:

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols — July 16, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young — August 27, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle — June 4, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney — June 4, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Starry Nights by Daisy Whitney — September 3, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller — September 24, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
To Be Perfectly Honest: A Novel Based on an Untrue Story by Sonya Sones — August 27, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Dead Ends by Erin Jade Lange — September 3, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott — August 27, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Fault Line by Christa Desir — November 12, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Forgive Me, Leonard Peacock by Matthew Quick — August 13, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen — June 4, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon

For Review (e-books):

shelve it - rainbow rowell and jennifer brown

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (!!!!) — September 10, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon
Thousand Words by Jennifer Brown — May 21, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon

Recently Purchased:

suzanne young books

The Program by Suzanne Young — April 30, 2013 — Goodreads | Amazon


What Happened on the Blog:


Have an awesome weekend! What books did you guys get?
Thanks for checking out this week’s Shelve It!

Estelle’s Shelve It >> Cinco de Mayo Books

weekly feature to share the books magan and estelle are adding to their bookshelves each week

It’s a little too early for a margarita and some guacamole, but I hope at some point today you are enjoying both!

No v-log today… I stayed with my parents last night and I have total bedhead right now. Not so pretty. But I do have some fun books to share with you! Woot woot!

The best part of this week was definitely going to the Lauren Graham signing at Barnes + Noble. Unfortunately/fortunately, plenty of people got there before Rachel, Alexa, and I and we stood in line without hearing her talk about her new book, Someday, Someday, Maybe BUT after 2 hours, we each got to meet Lauren. She is gorgeous and very sweet in person.

Lauren Graham Someday Someday Maybe Tour and Signing

She was a total rock star because she signed over 500 autographs that night. Definitely the biggest and most popular signing I’ve ever attended! Just to help you (of course), I am going to provide an Amazon link to Lauren’s book because You Really Must Read It.

In other happy news, Heidi from the YA Bibliophile was sweet enough to get me an autographed Sarah Dessen book after I sent her a box of books for a teen summer program!

Signed Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

I am absolutely in love with the Sarah Dessen cover redesigns + I love that I now have the first one I read/my favorite in my collection. Thanks so much Heidi!

For review, I have these beauties:

Shelve It For Review May 5 2013: The Newcomber by Robyn Carr, Some of Tim's Stories by S.E. Hinton, Piece of Me by Lynn Madelenna Menna

The Newcomer by Robyn Carr | Release Date: June 25, 2013 (Goodreads)
Some of Tim’s Stories by S.E. Hinton | Release Date: April 30, 2013 (Goodreads)
Piece of My Heart by Lynn Maddalena Menna | Release Date: June 18, 2013 (Goodreads)

Looking forward to these!

And, last but certainly not least, I bought a copy of Tom Leveen’s Party after a huge recommendation from Lena (Addicted 2 Novels). I absolutely adored manicpixiedreamgirl (his new release) and must read everything he has written.


In case you missed any of our posts this week, here’s a quick rundown:

The GLORIOUS list of May releases
Magan’s glowing review of Winger by Andrew Smith
My EEE I’m so excited review of Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
A review of Life After Theft by Aprilynne Pike, which came out this week.
Magan’s exciting review of The Originals by Cat Patrick


Thanks for hanging out this week! What are YOU reading? Anything amazing?

book related PMS survival kit

On a (Very) Personal Note: A PMS Survival Kit

Male readers, I apologize in advance for today’s topic being so … girly. (Actually, maybe take note and make one of these for your significant other. You could win major bonus points for thoughtfulness.) - PMS is such a drag...feeling like a Jekyll and Hyde type of day. Which face should I wear.......decisions decisions.....

Image from Some E Cards

I’m not sure if you ladies are like me, but when I’m all PMS-y and hormonal, there are a few things I find myself needing every. single. month. It’s like a pattern. I get ragey-pants, sad, and have to stay away from sad/depressed people who are woe-is-me all the time because I’m already flipping out because OH MY GOSH I HAVE SO MANY THINGS TO DO and MY TO DO LIST IS OVERWHELMING and THERE’S NOT ENOUGH TIME and ALL I WANT TO DO IS CURL INTO A BALL AND ROCK BACK AND FORTH.

I make one monthly trip to Walgreen’s to grab a few of my PMS staples. A few weeks ago, I was doing just that very thing and realized that, no pun intended, of course, it’s this big cycle. After my trip, I drove home thinking, “Oh, if only I could get Dustyn to make me a survival kit because being a woman sucks.”

I went home and stacked all my purchases into a neat little pile and started gathering a few more things that should be there, and viola!, my completely inappropriate post was born. Here’s what would be in my monthly PMS survival kit:

book related PMS survival kit

So what you see above is:

+ Sprite. Because apparently caffeine will only make us feel worse.

+ Midol Complete. Um, this doesn’t really need an explanation other than HOLY MOTHER I HATE PAIN.

+ Nail polish. Let’s talk about femininity? I feel ugly and disgusting and gross. Painting my nails helps cheer me up and feel a little better. (Yes, yes, I admit — serious polish addict. I know.) This helps me feel a bit more girly and appreciate SOME aspect of womanhood. Pictured here are my Essie Top Coat and Essie Base Coat. And I obsess about this frequently on twitter, but I’m sharing my one of my favorite Julep nail polish colors, Eloise. (In case you’re interested in their Julep Maven program, here’s where you can find out more.)

+ Sour Punch Straws. These are my favorite, favorite treat. Some girls choose ice cream or chocolate, but GIVE ME THE SUGAR. (Yes, I’m aware that I snack like a 10 year old kid.)

+ A Big Ol’ Glass of H2O. Apparently water helps us feel better. As much as it can be (seeing as how 95% of my work is done on my computer) my right hand is glued to my glass of water.

+ Books. I also really want to read a specific type of book during this hellacious week. I want something like Unbreak My Heart by Melissa Walker (Clem is a little bit emo, I’m a little bit emo. It works.) Or something by Sarah Dessen. (She’s always makes me fall in love with her characters. Shown in these photos is Lock and Key, but I haven’t read it yet. Next month. ;)) Or maybe a book that’s going to break me into a million pieces and let me get out ALL OF MY CRYING. You know, like Morgan Matson’s Second Chance Summer.

magan's pms survival kit with books

I looked down while I was taking these photographs and realized I also dress like a frump. My old lady moccasins are glued to my feet, I wear my favorite old t-shirts and the comfiest pajamas a girl can buy from Target. I snuggle up in blankets and don’t really leave the house (*except for my Walgreen’s trips, I swear).

Things I Thought About After Taking Photographs:

+ Music. This is usually when I’ll change the station in my car 100,000 times because nothing fits my mood and everything is just too sad. But! If I find someone I like, I listen to them over and over and over again. Usually this person is uplifting and happy to pull me out of my self-loathing funk.

+ Take Out Dinner. Because a) I don’t feel like cooking and b) I look like a frump and c) I’m doubled over in pain.

+ Flowers. Sometimes I buy myself cheap little $5 bouquets of flowers just to cheer myself up.

+ Movies. Anyone else think this is a good time to watch The Notebook over and over and over again?

*I just realized the people at Walgreen’s must laugh at me when I leave the store. I’m always all “hey, yeah, these sour punch straws aren’t for me….” in my head, but I’m sure my Midol purchase is a dead giveaway.

– – –

So, yup. I just like to be holed away and remind myself that the world isn’t ending (even if it feels like my uterus hates me). What would you add to my Survival Kit? Any book recommendations that seem like they’d fit the bill for me?

Books, Hats, and Cheer: 2012 Holidays!

I may or may not be humming the theme from “Home Alone” as I write this.

Okay, fine. I am.

Hope all of you are keeping the holiday spirit alive this weekend! It’s a bit colder in New York, and there was a good amount of snow this afternoon. (Not much of it stuck to the ground though… it just blew into my eyes instead.)

It’s been a really great few weeks of celebrating the holidays, and as I’m sure you can assume, I’m going to be sad to let it go. (So we’ll see how long I can get away with keeping my Christmas tree up. I’ll keep you posted.)

I wanted to share a few of my own holiday highlights with you!

Highlights from 2012 Christmas - Estelle

From left to right:

♥ My sister bought me this adorable Red Velvet hat! I love cupcakes, and I’ve been proudly wearing it through the streets since the day after Christmas. This is actually the picture I sent Magan on Christmas Day. Not the prettiest + I also forgot to turn the label. Much too much eggnog. (Also, I read Sarah Oakler’s Bittersweet while wearing this hat and it couldn’t have been more perfect.)

♥ I hiked down to the post office this week to retrieve a thoughtful and lovely gift from Magan! Here are two of my favorite treasures: a Nook “sweater” (as I like to call it) from Etsy + a gorgeous necklace from Kendra Scott.

♥ James and I on Christmas Day! My parents surprised me with a FujiFilm Instax camera + I absolutely love it! I can’t wait to snap more pics + maybe do a photo collage in my apartment.

♥ Tara (Fiction Folio) knows me so well. Perfect bookmark for me!

♥ A bookmark in a Christmas card? Alexa is such a genius and this really is one of my favorite quotes!

♥ Big, huge thanks to my friend Nisha for gifting me this lovely stack of books for the holidays! I was so surprised! I already devoured Bittersweet, and can’t wait to get to the rest! [Along for the Ride, Never Enough, and Leverage.]

And there you have it, my holiday in a nut shell!

What were some of your favorite moments? Bookish or not? 🙂

Estelle: Shelve It (12/9/2012)

weekly feature focusing on the books we bought, borrowed, and received from publishers

Hi friends! Welcome to this week’s Shelve It! Are you having a good weekend?

I think this is the first weekend in awhile where I set out to do things + actually accomplished them. Hopefully as you read this, I will be decorating my Christmas tree in my new apartment. (Or about to after a night’s sleep since I’m going to publish this post a bit early in the morning.) Yay!

Happy Hanukkah to all of you who began celebrating this week!

This is where I tell you I bought books this week. Many of them (but I swear, lots for OTHER people too):

Kiss & Blog by Alyson Noel – I have yet to read a book by Alyson so here it is!

Just Listen by Sarah Dessen – it’s been awhile since I’ve read a Dessen novel and this one is new to me!

Lovely Dark and Deep by Amy McNamara – been interested in this title for awhile, bought it, and then (coincidentally) heard Amy do a reading in NYC this week.

note: Found a used bookstore near my job (dangerous) and bought the above for about 5 dollars each. Seriously, a steal.

What Happens Next by Colleen Clayton = been dying to read this since Magan’s review + saw Colleen speak at Books of Wonder in NYC this week and could not resist. (Although I did wait a day to buy it.)

in the mail:

Austensibly Ordinary by Alyssa Goodnight (how great is her name?) — hey, it’s a book set in Austin, Texas! A mysterious journal and an Austen lover. This book will be released January 29, 2013. Look for my review in the coming weeks!

on the blog this week:

December 2012 YA Book Releases
The Big Kids’ Table: Holiday Edition
Welcome Caller This is Chloe Themed Gift Pack
Review: Kissing Snowflakes by Abby Sher
weVerb4: New Experiences for Magan in 2012
The Baby-Sitters Club is Back
Review: Where You Are by J.H. Trumble (one of my favorite reads from the year)

Thanks for stopping by + all the lovely comments this week! Have a great rest of the weekend!

P.S. I am in need of some holiday fiction recommendations. So please, don’t be shy! If you have any, let me hear them! 🙂