It is the summer before Emaline leaves for college and it seems like everything is set. She has the perfect, gorgeous boyfriend, Luke, who she has been dating since freshman year and who will be attending the same college two hours from home (East U); a full time job at her family’s realty office; and great friends. But is it really what Emaline wants?
There is a line from her favorite childhood book that Emaline and her mom loved. Mom has always wanted Emaline to have “the moon and more” and not make the same mistakes that she did. Emaline was born when her mom was a senior in high school and she didn’t even know her biological father until she was 10; only then because she was doing a class project on her family tree and was interested. Her father came from wealth and was a tourist when mom had a summer fling. He wasn’t interested in being a father and altering his chances of success. Once he and Emaline met, they only talked about school and college. He wanted Emaline to go to a great school (Columbia!) and get out of the small beach town of Colby, NC. But when she actually gets accepted, without explanation he tells her he isn’t able to hold up his end of the bargain to pay for it (and he doesn’t even attend her graduation!)
Suddenly her father and his 10-year-old son, Benji, show up in Colby for the summer. Emaline also meets a new cool guy, Theo. Emaline has spent so much time being good that she no longer knows if the “right” thing is actually right for her.
Why I picked up the book: I love this author and since we are reading her last book What Happened to Goodbye for our June high school book club I wanted to read this one too. Plus, even though I have about five other books that I’m reading, I decided to take my own advice and read something for fun.
Why I finished it: The characters and their situations are always relate-able. Emaline is a lot like me (type A, taking care of others before yourself, blended family). I remember the first time I had to make those type of decisions that forced me to look at what I wanted rather than what others expected or thought was best for me. Even as an adult I still face that.
I’d give it to: Fans of Sarah Dessen’s other novels, especially since they almost all take place in Colby and old characters and places make cameo appearances.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars (Really liked it)
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Review by Jenn, YA Librarian (View all my Goodreads reviews)