The Moon and More

Book review by
Darienne Stewart, Common Sense Media
The Moon and More Book Poster Image
Savvy coming-of-age tale is great for mature teens.

Parents say

age 14+
Based on 2 reviews

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 2 reviews

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value
The discussion of Clyde's work and its importance to the art world offers a glimpse into the world of art appreciation and the intersection of artistic passion and commerce.
Positive Messages
Emaline learns to accept her father's limitations and accept him for who he is. Coming to terms with change is at the heart of the book, and Emaline is open-minded enough to change her perspective on her closest friends, the filmmakers visiting town, tourists, and even the reclusive artist Clyde. Her adventures show that forging ahead doesn't mean turning your back on where you came from. 
Positive Role Models & Representations
Emaline is a practical heroine: She works hard for the family business and is very much a part of her small community. She stands up for herself and for her young stepbrother. Emaline doesn't heed curfew and drinks at social gatherings, but she isn't shown drinking to excess. She uses exercise as way to calm down. Her mother, especially, is attentive and caring. Her father's emotional investment is limited but he tries to do right by her. 
Sexual content is treated casually and matter-of-factly. Emaline and her longtime boyfriend are sexually active and were once caught in the act by her mom, who made sure she was using birth control. Her mom became pregnant as a teen. Her friend Daisy plans to remain a virgin until married. There's mild kissing and references to hooking up and a pool boy with a phallic pool brush. 
Language includes "damn," "dammit," "pissed," "hell," "a--hole," "s--t," "bitch," and "hard-ass."
Diet Coke, Mountain Dew, and Nabisco crackers are mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
The underage teens drink alcohol, including at keg parties. An adult character gets drunk at a party, and tourists are described drinking and talking about belly shots. 

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that The Moon and More is a smart depiction of the emotional push-and-pull that often marks the summer before a teen heads off to college. Lead character Emaline is sexually active with her longtime boyfriend, seems to completely disregard her parents' curfew with no consequences, and underage drinking is treated casually and matter-of-factly. But otherwise, this a sweet story about summertime romances, coming to terms with change, and finding your own way.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bylucyliu1167 December 21, 2015


Its a okay book but there are some sex contents.
Adult Written byvictorianmermaid August 6, 2015

A"Girl Power" book

It's a good book if you are looking for a book to give your children the confidence that the don't need a man and what might be the signs that you nee... Continue reading
Kid, 12 years old March 25, 2020

Could of been better

I love sarah dessen books but this is not her best one. I Thought that she should be with someone at the end of the book. It was good at first but from the midd... Continue reading
Teen, 17 years old Written byLaurennicole017 October 3, 2016

What's the story?

Emaline is bracing for the changes in store at summer's end, when she'll leave her close-knit community for college. But life quickly gets more complicated than she could have imagined. Her distant father, who reneged on his offer to pay for Columbia, arrives for the summer with her 10-year-old stepbrother. Her longtime, reliable boyfriend is unpredictable. As that relationship unravels, Theo -- a filmmaker from New York City -- tries to sweep her off her feet. Theo and his prickly boss are making a movie about Clyde, a reclusive artist, and Emaline is drawn into their work. Emaline struggles to reconcile reality with her dreams, and make her own choices about her future before they're decided for her.



Is it any good?

Sarah Dessen succeeds again in THE MOON AND MORE with authentic teen characters finding their way through messy circumstances. Emaline's relationships with her closest friends, her parents, and even her familiar hometown are changing faster than she can keep up. The summer before college is an strange time, a mix of anticipation and wistfulness, and Dessen nicely captures this unique period.
The characters feel a little mature for their age. The sexual aspect of Emaline's relationships gets scant attention, particularly for a sexually active teen who was born to a teenage mom. But she has her head squarely on her shoulders, making this a sweet story about summertime romances, letting go of fading dreams, and finding your own path forward.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the popularity of Sarah Dessen's novels. Why does her material work so well for teens?
  • If you've read Dessen's other books, how does this one compare? What ideas recur in her work?

  • Sex and underage drinking are just part of the scenery in this novel. Do you find this portrayal realistic? Do you think there should have been more discussion of consequences, or do you like Dessen's approach?

Book details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love romance and coming-of-age stories

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