The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen, published by Penguin on 4th June 2013
Emaline is spending her last summer before college in her home beach town of Colby. Everything is familiar - from working for her bossy sister Margo at the family rental company to Emaline's gorgeous (and regularly shirtless) childhood sweetheart, Luke.
But when an out-of-town brash New York filmmaker, and her young assistant Theo, come to stay at one of the beach houses, everything Emaline thought she knew about herself changes.
But can her heart let go of a life she's loved for so long?
My immediate thought while I was reading 'The Moon and More' is that I want to live in a beach town like Colby. There's a huge appeal to a place where everyone knows each other, the sea is right on the doorstep and where the tourists may go home at the end of the summer but the year round residents remain to enjoy peace and tranquillity. I adored the setting for this book, which also features in several of Sarah Dessen's other novels and I loved the laid-back vibe that Colby has. There's a real sense of comradeship among the people who live in the town.
The story revolves around the main character Emaline, who has grown-up in Colby and is now anticipating the next phase of her life after graduation. She is spending her last summer helping out with her family's business, as well as contemplating going to college and leaving everything she knows so well behind. She came across as extremely likable and the kind of person who is a good friend, daughter and sister.
There's a big emphasis in the book on Emaline's broken relationship with her biological father, who she interacts with mainly via email. They don't seem to understand each other very well and they find it hard to communicate. I enjoyed the family aspect and really liked the sweet scenes between Emaline and her younger half-brother Benji who is so cute.
I would have liked to have seen more romance throughout the story and this was a little bit of a let-down. I instantly adored Emaline's boyfriend Luke, who seemed lovely but I wanted to see much more of him and a lot less of Theo who I never really warmed to. Luke isn't perfect but he genuinely cares about Emaline and they share a long history which I would have enjoyed hearing more about.
'The Moon and More' is a great summery beach read about learning who you are and embracing change. Fans of Sarah Dessen will, I'm sure, love this new addition and will want to pick up a copy and head to the beach, to dig their toes into the sand and burrow their head into the pages of this book.