I love going back to school. I really do. It's my favorite time of year. But there's something about every summer that starts with such promise, especially when one is in high school. How is it that the sense of disappointment goes away every winter? Must be the sunshine. This was a perfect read for this time of year.
Dessen, Sarah. The Moon and More.
4 June 2013, Viking Juvenile
Emaline has a comfortable life in her small beach community. She's spent her entire high school career dating Luke, a super hot boy who also cleans pools for her family's rental business, frequently while shirtless. Even though her mother was in high school when Emaline was born, her mother has always been supportive, and there's her grandmother, dad, and stepsisters who are also close. Then there's her father. She didn't meet him until she was ten, but the two connected over education, and he even promised to pay for her college. When she gets into Columbia, however, he is oddly silent, saying only that he can no longer afford it. Emaline makes plans to go to a lesser known college with Luke, and prepares to spend her last summer at home. When her father and step brother show up, things get rocky. She and Luke break up, and she starts dating Theo, the assistant to a high strung woman renting one of the family's properties while filming a documentary on a local artist. Emaline is attracted to Theo because he is different from everyone that she knows. He sets up elaborate dates, and makes her feel that there is life outside of her small town. As the summer comes to an end and college looms, Emaline knows she must make peace with all facets of her life before she will be able to move on.
Strengths: Dessen always does such nice but complicated romances. Her depiction of families that have problems but are strong despite them is always solid. She gets summer, and is able to encapsulate that feeling. It is no surprise that my 8th grade girls are so fond of her work.
Weaknesses: I wish there were not so much casual drinking in this, and there is one page early on that almost made me send the (gulp) two copies of this I ordered before reading it up to the high school. Emaline and Luke have obviously been intimate, and there's some discussion of this, but nothing... instructional or graphic, so I think it will be okay. Still, the book would have been fine without this.