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review 2019-12-31 15:00
Review: The Rest of the Story
The Rest of the Story - Sarah Dessen

I received a copy from Netgalley.


Normally I love Sarah Dessen books. I have loads of them and usually devour them in a couple of days. A new Dessen book is an autobuy for me, I’d already pre ordered and wasn’t actually expecting to get approved for the review copy but I did.


Sad to say though I really did not enjoy this book at all. It felt very poor in comparison to the others I’ve read. The story was slow paced, I felt like the characters had no depth to them. The only character who got a backstory or any insight into was the main character, and even she was about as interesting as dry toast. Everything else felt like cardboard.


Generally I love how characters in these type of books come somewhere for the summer where there’s a family connection and hidden secrets and stories the main character never knew emerges and she discovers things about herself and what she wants for her own future and grows as a person. I didn’t get a sense of that from this book at all. There’s also usually a great family dynamic as well. Didn’t feel that either.


So very disappointed with this one.


Thank you to Netgalley and Harper Collins UK, Children’s for approving my request to view the title.  

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review 2019-08-05 13:18
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen
The Truth About Forever - Sarah Dessen

For my rambles, go to The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen (4.75/5)

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review 2019-06-25 15:31
Five Stars, but Still Some Issues Which is Why It's Not a Favorite
The Rest of the Story - Sarah Dessen

Wow. What a great book by Dessen. I do enjoy her Young Adult books though the last couple I have read have been misses with me. This one is expertly written, but some things as the time line shifting back and forth and the mess with Saylor's father prevented me from giving it five stars. I really enjoyed this one and hope that we see more from characters that she introduced to us in this one.

"The Rest of the Story" follows 17 year old Emma Saylor. Emma is excited that her father has remarried to Tracy. Her father and stepmother are off to do a Greek sailing trip for their honeymoon. The plan is Emma will stay with her best friend and her family for the summer. However, Emma's friend has a family emergency that sends them to Ohio and Emma no longer has a place to stay. Emma's grandmother suggest that Emma goes and stays with her mother's family in North Lake. Emma doesn't really remember her mother's family and though has some reservations about it, suggest it to her father so that he doesn't cancel his honeymoon. Going to North Lake has Emma finding out more about her mother and her childhood. She also meets and becomes closer to her cousins and to a teenage boy named Roo who she originally met when they were small.


Emma does find that North Lake is broken into two different worlds. The world of the rich and yacht boys and the townies who live there year round who want glimpses of that other world. She finds out that her father was a yacht boy and her mother was not and wonders if that is what led to things splitting apart the way they did. 

I really loved Emma. She's a thoughtful teen who due to her mother's past (she was a drug and alcoholic addict) doesn't drink or do anything that can cause her father to stress about her. She has some lovely memories of her mother and misses her, but realizes how terrible it had to be that her father was forced to be a single father from when she was a small girl. Though Emma lost her mother 5 years before the story is set, we quickly find out that her family is rich and she hasn't worked before. Meeting her mother's mother and staying at the family hotel has Emma wanting to do more than just and relax. Her learning to clean rooms along with her pregnant cousin cracked me up at times. It also reminded me how much I loathed being a maid back in the day. 

Emma and Roo's friendship was great to witness. They get each other almost immediately and everything in this story-line was sweet. 

The other characters like Bailey, Jack, etc. were very well developed. I also loved how Emma's best friends back at Lakeview were still checking on her and how close the group of three girls were to each other.

The biggest annoyance I had with this book though was with Emma's father. You can say that him being married to a drug and alcoholic addict who died could make him cautious. But the way he acted anytime Emma didn't want to do something and forcing her to do things she hated (like sailing) and being dismissive at times towards his new wife did not feel me with warm fuzzies. I don't think Dessen meant to write him this way, but I had a lot of problems with him talking over her and telling her that she was going to do something just because he wanted to. I think he was set up to show a contrast between how he handled things and how Roo was with Emma. Still though I would have brained the guy. And I hated how Dessen "resolved" things. I wish that Emma had pushed more with him and her grandmother. The guy needed to go see a therapist or something. Got to wonder how things will go down if Emma moves away. 

The writing was good, but I had some issues with how sometimes Dessen would jump back and forth in her writing. I would be reading and thinking it was taking place in Emma's present, and then we would jump back to a few weeks ago and somehow be back in the present or future. It drove me up the wall. A few times I went, wait how many weeks has it been?

The flow was good though even with the timeline stuff. 


The setting of her books being moved to North Lake makes me wonder if she will focus on this location in future books. It was nice to move away from Lakeview and see a different world.

The ending was pitch perfect and I loved how Emma found out more about her mother and came to peace with that. Her finding out more about that side of her family and realizing that she wasn't alone like she originally thought was great too. 

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text 2019-06-24 18:31
Reading progress update: I've read 20%.
The Rest of the Story - Sarah Dessen

Some references to prior people in the Lakeview books as I call them. I really like Emma otherwise known as Saylor. She has a great relationship with her father and is happy that he has re-married. Emma had plans to spend time with her best friend and her family while her father was off on his honeymoon. Her plans change though when her best friend has a family emergency having her in Ohio for the summer. Emma's grandmother suggests her dead mother's family. And now we have Emma back in her mother's hometown and learning more about her. 

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review 2018-05-17 21:39
The Moon and More
The Moon and More - Sarah Dessen

"The Moon and More" was okay, not the greatest YA contemporary romance, but I really loved though how Dessen ended things. I was not expecting it and I was glad that she didn't go out on a cliche with things. I definitely liked how this one was played and how the main character (Emaline) gets the differences between her father (the man who fathered her with her mother) and her dad (the man who has been there for her almost always). 


"The Moon and More" has Emaline dealing with her last summer before she starts college. Emaline has a lot of things to work through, not starting off with the fact that her father who initially promised to pay for college no matter where she got in, suddenly changes things and Emaline has to go to a different college. When her father pops up with her younger half brother in tow, she has to deal with the two of them for the whole summer. 


Emaline also hits a cross-roads with her long term boyfriend Luke. When they break up she immediately rushes into things with what she thinks is a great summer fling, Theo. 


Theo presses Emaline to leave her small town behind her and rush to bigger and better things. 


I liked Emaline, but thought she waffled too much. I wish I had seen more push back with her father, Theo, and even her ex Luke. She didn't really do a great job of articulating what she wanted until the very end.

I did not like Theo at all. I don't know why the last couple of Dessen books I have read, I have ended up disliking the love interest. Probably because I don't think Dessen does a good job of calling all of the problematic things out with some of the male characters. 


I wish that some of the secondary characters could have been developed more (Daisy and Morris). 


The small town of Colby in North Carolina does come alive. I can see why it would be hard for Emmaline to let all that go. Dessen does a great job of making you see why Emaline loves it so much. 

The ending surprised me (in a good way) and I was glad for once that Dessen actually for once didn't just brush over issues with problematic male leads. I think the reason why I loved "Dreamland" so much is that Dessen actually let you see the good and the bad and you didn't have a HEA just because it was a romance novel. She took that route here and I didn't think it was a bad thing to do. 

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