“Whatever you need, I will find a way to get it to you. I will give you the moon and more.” ~The Moon and More, Sarah Dessen
The Moon And More captures the story of Emaline’s last summer before going to college. Emaline must learn how to balance her love and fierce devotion for her family and small hometown on the beach, Colby, with new opportunities that have suddenly come into her life. She has a great boyfriend, wonderful family and friends, and full scholarship to a school not so far away. What more could she ever want? In this novel, Sarah Dessen explores this question and once again weaves a compelling story full of fascinating and funny supporting characters whom you’ll already feel as though you’ve known your whole life and offers a look at a character who must juggle all of those what ifs? we struggle with in life, before leaving for college or otherwise.
Below I’m posting more of my thoughts on Emaline’s story. However, read at your own risk, there are SPOILERS:
I really enjoyed The Moon and More and felt that it would be a fantastic summer read. The Should I stay or Should I go? conflict was not unlike that of Maile Meloy’s short story “Ranch Girl” from her Malamud-winning collection Half In Love. This story chronicles a girl who is graduating from high school, has her whole life and a bundle of opportunities ahead of her, only to suddenly be derailed. She experiences the same sort of conflict as Emaline does (though perhaps on a much more intense level, as Emaline is not dealing with grief), and decides to stay behind and stay in the comfort zone of the ranch. The very first time I read this story, I felt that the ending was believable for that specific character. I even wrote a paper that examined my views. However, the second time I read this story in another class, I still felt that it was believable, but I was sad and angry at the main character for not taking those opportunities in front of her, for sitting back and watching the world go by.
As for Emaline, I really appreciated that there was a compromise in the end. Yes, she did not end up going to Columbia and did, in fact, end up at a state school, but she was given an opportunity to work in New York for the summer. And no, she didn’t stay with Theo (and goodness I am so glad she didn’t: what a hipstery jerk!), but she also didn’t try straight away to repair things (beyond friendship) with Luke. Yet while I really appreciated these compromises, I won’t lie, I wanted a little more for Emaline. Maybe it’s because I did exactly what she didn’t: when my dream school (for my graduate program) accepted me, I hopped on board the debt train without thinking twice, even though another (albeit online and out of state) program pretty much offered to foot the bill. Then again, Emaline continues to repeat that Columbia was not really her dream, but her father’s. Still, I wasn’t completely satisfied. However, this is another one of the main points of the novel: who ever really is? A full life is one that boasts both Best Evers and Worst Evers, the good, the bad, the ugly, the eh, and the in somewhere-in-between. Overall, I really liked this one.
It goes fifth in my ranking of Sarah Dessen novels (I’ve read them all) behind the following: The Truth About Forever, This Lullaby, Lock and Key, and What Happened To Goodbye. Not that any and all of her other novels aren’t amazing and worth reading!