Thursday, October 03, 2013

Easy, Breezy Summer Novel A Little Too Easy, Breezy

(Image from Barnes & Noble)

While other people spend their summer vacations playing on the sparkling beach in Colby, North Carolina, Emaline does not.  The 18-year-old would definitely not mind spending endless hours sunbathing or snorkeling or pedaling a bike along the pier, but she's hardly a carefree tourist.  She's got a job, a demanding one, one that ensures the town's summer people enjoy their stays in her hometown.  As the official greeter and make-sure-everyone's-happy person for her family's vacation rental business, Emaline gets to deal with guest requests, guest complaints and, worst of all, her older sister's irritating know-it-all business management style.  She can't wait to leave it all behind when she goes to college in the Fall.

Well, okay, there's a (not so) small part of her that wants to stay in Colby for the rest of her life.  Maybe the small town doesn't have a lot to offer in the way of educational advancement, but it's where she feels most content, most at peace.  Does she really want to leave her warm, crazy family behind?  And what about Luke Templeton, her perfect, loving boyfriend?  Can their relationship survive the distance?  

When Emaline meets Theo Burns, an NYU film student who's in Colby for the summer working on a documentary, she begins to see just how small her life really is.  Through him, she realizes how tired she is of being "just [a] supporting player in someone else's summer" (67).  But, does she have the courage to step onto center stage?  Especially if it means taking big risks that come with serious consequences?  Pulled between the comfort of her safe little life in Colby and the promise of better things awaiting her in the big, wide world, Emaline must decide who she really is and what she really wants.  Before her bright, pivotal summer fades away forever. 

The Moon and More, the newest offering from teen favorite Sarah Dessen, is exactly what it appears to be—an easy, breezy beach novel that's as light and entertaining as the best of summer days.  Although it's a lengthy 435 pages, the book's got a bubbly tone that keeps it from feeling too weighed down.  While that's all well and good, a stronger central conflict would have helped the story feel more focused and substantial.  Emaline's inner struggle seemed flimsy to me, which made her decisions too predictable.  So, all in all, I enjoyed The Moon and More, I just thought it prattled on for way too long considering its underdeveloped plotline.  Since this was my first foray into Sarah Dessen territory, it's possible I was expecting way too much from it.  And, really, the novel didn't disappoint, but it didn't wow me either.   


Grade:  


If this were a movie, it would be rated:  


for language (no F-bombs), mild sexual innuendo/content and references to underage drinking/partying
           
To the FTC, with love:  I received an ARC of The Moon and More from the generous folks at Penguin.  Thank you!

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