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Literature / The Moon and More

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The Moon and More is a 2013 young adult novel by Sarah Dessen.

Emaline, a native of the small beach-resort town of Colby, can tell that she is destined for bigger and better things than simply working at her family's rental business for the rest of her life and marrying Luke, her high-school sweetheart. When she meets Theo, an NYU film student helping to make a documentary about a local artist in Colby, she is thrilled to find out that he agrees. Emaline finds herself caught between the comforts of Colby and her family, and the bright and successful future that Theo and her semi-estranged father believe she has, and must decide whether to stay where it's familiar or take the plunge into the unknown.


This novel contains examples of:

  • Asian and Nerdy: Subverted with Daisy. She's super smart but is not very nerdy.
  • Babies Make Everything Better: Averted. Emaline's mother was pressured to give up her daughter, but instead chose to have her despite being ostracized for it.
  • Beta Couple: Daisy and Morris.
  • Betty and Veronica: Emaline between Luke (Betty) and Theo (Veronica). She doesn't end up with either, although the future of her relationship with Luke is left a bit open.
  • Big Brother Instinct: Emaline towards Benji.
  • Bitch in Sheep's Clothing: Theo.
  • Character Overlap: Auden, Heidi, Maggie, and Esther from Along for the Ride show up. Clyde from the same book also shows up with a more developed backstory, and Adam and Wallace are seen at Abe's Bikes.
  • Commonality Connection: Deconstructed with Emmaline and her biological father. Their respective interests in literature are all they really have in common, and once that becomes a loaded subject for them, they pretty much stop talking. Reconstructed near the end, as it's what helps them get back in touch after the events of the story.
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  • Continuity Nod: The Gert bracelets mentioned in What Happened to Goodbye come up again and are given a rather tragic backstory.
  • Cool Big Sis: Emaline to Benji. Her own older sisters are less cool but still loving.
  • Cool Old Lady: Emaline's grandmother.
  • Eccentric Mentor: Ivy starts as this to Theo and eventually becomes this for Emaline instead.
  • The Fashionista: Daisy.
  • The Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry: Subverted. Emaline and her sister Margot have the rivalry not because they are so different, but because they are similar, both being smart, slightly bossy, Type A-personalities. Their other sister, Amber, is the more stereotypical "pretty" sister from the rivalry but generally stays out of their conflict. Emaline assumes it's because she's too lazy to actually get involved.
  • Hidden Depths: Clyde from Along for the Ride reappears and we find out that he is a former artist who quit the art world and became Colby's local business owner/town eccentric. He is apparently popular enough even years later to have Ivy and Theo come to Colby to film a documentary on him.
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  • Insistent Terminology: Emaline has both her biological father and stepfather in her life; she calls her biological father "my father" and the man who raised her "my dad". It gets a bit confusing when the three of them are together.
  • Ivy League for Everyone: Emaline gets accepted to Columbia but can't afford to go. Theo applied but wasn't accepted, and instead attends NYU. Averted with Daisy, who goes to the Savannah School of Art and Design, and Morris, who plans on going to Coastal Tech and ends up forgoing college to travel as Clyde's assistant.
  • Like Brother and Sister: Emaline and Morris. They are extremely close and devoted to one another, despite the fact that they drive each other nuts.
  • One Mario Limit: Emaline was originally going to be named Esme, until Dessen realized that there was a vampire that had that name.
  • Not So Different: At one point, Emaline notes that Theo and her father are pretty similar, and in fact Theo is able to give Emaline some insight into her father's actions that she hadn't previously thought of.
  • Opposites Attract: Morris and Daisy.
  • Reality Ensues: In elementary school, Emaline gets in touch with her biological father for the first time despite her mother warning her not to expect much out of him. The relationship that develops between Emaline and her father from then on is stilted and awkward, with a fondness for literature being the only thing they really have in common; when school becomes a loaded topic, they run out of things to talk about.
  • ¡Three Amigos!: Emaline, Daisy, and Morris.
  • Tomboy and Girly Girl: Emaline and Daisy.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: A big part of the plot comes from Emaline's dad and younger brother coming down to Colby.
  • What Does She See in Him?: Daisy and Morris.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Leah from Along for the Ride does not appear in this novel, although nearly all of the other main characters from that novel do, including her best friends Esther and Maggie.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Luke hooks up with a tourist girl.


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