A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Between Us and the Moon is a coming-of-age story with strong sexual content. It details a 16-year-old girl's sexual awakening as she tries to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. She lies about her age and finds her deceit compounded as her relationship deepens. She also deceives her family in pursuit of her new persona. The sexual content is frank, but each sexual encounter is portrayed as affectionate, considerate, and sincere. Adults seem oblivious to teens' relationships and social activities, which include a fair amount of partying and drinking.
What's the story?
Logical, stargazing Sarah feels overshadowed by her beautiful, popular older sister, Scarlett. After she's dumped a week before her 16th birthday, Sarah launches her Scarlett Experiment: During her summer at the beach, she'll test whether acting like Scarlett makes her more likable. When she meets handsome Andrew, who's almost 20, she impulsively lies about her age. But there's a real spark between the two: He genuinely appreciates her intelligence and is charmed by her clumsiness, and she falls hard for him. Sarah feels she can be herself -- her new self -- with him, but her lie threatens everything ... especially as their relationship becomes sexual. Coming clean would mean risking everything, but she may not have a choice.
Is it any good?
By pretending to be someone else, 16-year-old Sarah finds herself, but the journey isn't all moonbeams and roses in this honest story of a complicated sexual awakening. Themes of authenticity and the need for connection give weight to the summer romance in BETWEEN US AND THE MOON. Rebecca Maizel offers a classic romantic hero: Andrew is gorgeous, sensitive, and responsible and loves working with troubled kids. Sarah is more interesting: Her desires and drive are relatable, but her poor choices betray a lack of experience with relationships of all kinds. Though the sexual content will raise some eyebrows, it depicts sexual intimacy as loving and attentive.
There are strong messages here about immaturity, selfishness, and trying to do too much too soon, but they're undermined by the abrupt ending. It's clear from the start that this romance is unlikely to last: We follow Sarah's Internal torment and glimpse the damage she causes, but we don't see the hard work of putting the pieces back together.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the frank sexual content of this book. Do you think it's appropriate, realistic, romanticized, or helpful? Parents may want to read our advice on sexual content and media to help guide the conversation.
How does this book compare with romantic stories you've read? Do you think this is primarily a romance story?
How do you feel about Sarah, Andrew, and Scarlett by the story's end? What do you think Sarah's junior year is like?
- Author: Rebecca Maizel
- Genre: Coming of Age
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, High School
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: HarperTeen
- Publication date: June 30, 2015
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 14 - 18
- Number of pages: 384
- Available on: Nook, Audiobook (unabridged), Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.