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?
Dessen's devoted fans will welcome this story of romance, yearning,
and, finally, empowerment. It could only happen in the summer.
The Moon and More is another fantastic Sarah Dessen book. I have now read all eleven of her books. This is a great summer read since it takes place in the beach town of Colby, a place that has been visited in many of Dessen's other novels.
POSSIBLE SPOILERS AHEAD
This novel has a rather strong focus on Emaline's family. Her mother got pregnant with her in high school, and the father who got Emaline's mother pregnant does not get involved in her life at all. In fact, Emaline doesn't meet him until she is eleven. When Emaline is about two years old, her mother marries another man who has two daughters. He is technically her stepdad, but Emaline thinks of him as a real dad, and she thinks of her stepsisters as sisters. She calls her stepdad her dad, and she calls her biological dad her father. Emaline's mother obviously cares about her very much, as does her dad. Her older sisters, Amber and Margo, care about her too, though she does have some fights with Margo, and she gets annoyed when Amber and her mom hang out in her room. Her father, on the other hand, can't necessarily be counted on to keep the promises that he makes to his daughter. He ends up disappointing her in many cases. He has a young son, Benji, who is Emaline's half brother. Emaline gets to know him in the book, and he is a sweet kid.
There is a love triangle in this book between Emaline and two guys, Luke and Theo. Luke is the guy who's been her high school boyfriend for the past four years, and Theo is the guy from New York who is in town to film a documentary on a local artist. Both of these boys have their flaws, and they have good things about them too. Luke seems like a sweet guy, but he is also a bit pushy about sex. Theo is into big romantic moments, and he is very good to Emaline. The problem with him is that he doesn't really understand her town and her life. He really wants to get Clyde Conaway to talk to him for the documentary, and he doesn't understand that Clyde probably wants to be a reclusive artist. Theo is very pushy about getting Emaline to talk to Clyde for him.
The friendships in this book are well done. Emaline has two best friends, Daisy and Morris, who are dating each other. Morris is a sweet guy who is often lazy about doing the work he needs to do, and he always moves to places at a slow pace. Daisy is a very fashionable girl who is planning on going away to school many hours away. She knows that will put her far away from Morris, who is planning on attending a local community college, but thinks they can do a long-distance relationship. Their relationship is sweet, and Emaline has a good friendship with both of them.
If you like YA contemporary, read this book.