The moment I saw that Sarah Dessen had released another book, I knew I had to have it. I absolutely adored the books I’ve read by Sarah Dessen so far – namely Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, Along For the Ride, That Summer, Lock & Key, Someone Like You, Saint Anything and Once and For All – and the way in which she is able to perfectly delve into the minds of teenage girls. Sarah Dessen once again did an outstanding job with The Rest of the Story. The writing is captivating, making me devour the book in just a few sittings, and the main character, Emma Saylor, is not only likeable, but one that most teenage girls can relate to.
When Emma Saylor’s father and stepmother go on their honeymoon, and her friend can no longer host her, she is sent to stay with relatives on her mother’s side in North Lake for a few weeks. Emma Saylor is exited about seeing her maternal grandma and cousins as she hasn’t seen them since she was very small and too young to remember. Emma Saylor is also keen to find out more about her late mother’s past and why her father never took her back to North Lake, and rekindle their relationship with that side of the family.
The Rest of the Story is classic Sarah Dessen, with the summer timeframe, the being in a new place, the female teenage protagonist, and romantic subplot. As with Sarah Dessen’s other protagonists, Emma Saylor comes of age in The Rest of the Story and finds out who she is really is. I was able to connect with Emma Saylor due to her maturity and I liked the fact that she is fully supportive of her father’s new marriage – most characters I’ve read about would hold a grudge towards their parents if they got remarried. Emma Saylor is also very loyal to her father and won’t do anything to make him worried, due to her mother’s battles with addiction.
Roo is definitely the most notable out of all of the secondary characters. He’s a great guy, both charming and funny, and also hardworking – he has about 4 or 5 jobs on the go! Roo is also helpful to Emma Saylor, especially when she gets into a bit of trouble with her father.
The only thing that makes The Rest of the Story a 4 star read instead of a 5 star read is the amount of characters, there are so many that I had trouble keeping up in parts and remembering who everyone was. Nevertheless, it didn’t take long for me to figure out who people were.
Overall, The Rest of the Story confirms Sarah Dessen’s place as one of my favourite authors of YA and in general. It’s a nostalgic and heartfelt novel about family, friendship and self-discovery. Go check it out.
Have you read The Rest of the Story or any books by Sarah Dessen? What was the last book you read?