Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen

Title: Keeping the Moon
Author: Sarah Dessen

Published: May 2004 by Speak

My Rating: 4 stars
Tags: YA | Realistic | Girls
Includes: Sensuality, Brief Profanity

First Lines: My name is Nicole Sparks. Welcome to the first day of the worst summer of my life.

Since her aerobics-obsessed mother is going to Europe for business, Colie is sent to live with her wacky Aunt Mira in Colby, North Carolina.

From Page 47
The girls stopped talking and we all watched as Mira came into view. She was still wearing her yellow overalls, rolled up at the cuff, and a worn pair of purple high-tops. Her hair was flowing out behind her, long and red and wild, like some kind of living cape. All of the reflectors on her battered bike glinted as she came closer.

Even though Colie has recently lost over forty pounds and shed the "geeky and fat" look, her self-esteem is still not fully healed. So, Colie sees this as an opportunity to start over and be a new person, since no one in Colby will know about her past. After meeting best friends Morgan and Isabel, and the artistic Norman, Colie is starting to enjoy the summer and the person she's created to be. That is, until an old classmate from her hometown shows up and starts the gossip all over again. Colie feels defeated and hopeless, until her new friends start teaching her life-long lessons about beauty, guys, and life. Slowly, Colie is able to mend her shattered self-image and embrace the person she was all along.

This is one of the most realistic books I've read in a long time. It was almost strange how this is all fiction, because it seemed like something that could happen to one of my very own friends, or myself. The characters in this novel were all very distinct, and I got to know each one personally. I liked how they were all different - Morgan, the caring perfectionist, and Isabel, the bold and flamboyant one. However, it didn't seem like I really was able to dig deep into their characters until after the first half of the book was over. To me, the novel dragged in some chapters and I was ready for a new twist in the plot or a change of setting. But, halfway through it picked up and also a touch of romance was added, which is always a good thing. ;)

I think I also really enjoyed this book since I could relate to Colie so easily. I could feel her pain when she had flashbacks of being teased in middle school. My own personal stories were revealed through her character and that really fascinated me.

From Page 127
No one ever really teaches you how to dance. I was kind of moving back and forth, looking down like everyone else. Then I heard it. Someone laughing. The noise started off quietly, but as the music was dying down, the song changing, it got louder. I looked up, still dancing, to see a boy across the cafeteria with his cheeks puffed out, moving like a hippopotamus, his legs straight and locked, rocking back and forth. Everyone was standing around watching him, giggling. It took a few seconds to realize that he was imitating me. And by that point everyone was staring.

After finishing the last page of the book, I just took this deep breath and sat there smiling to myself. The ending was perfect, all the loose ends were tied together and I was satisfied. But I didn't want it to be over! The best parts of the book were during the last couple of chapters, when a lot of events finally started to happen.

I feel like this was a deep, and thought-provoking book. If you look close enough, there's a lot of important lessons buried inside of it, and even the title has a little hidden symbolism in it - which is brought up halfway through the novel. I'm glad I took the time to read this book, but it's not one of my favorites of Sarah Dessen's other novels. I just feel like there was a whole lot of potential for this book, but it didn't execute enough plot. I loved how realistic it was, though!

Book Supplied by: Paperbackswap.com


  1. Another book I probably wouldn't have picked up (see what happens when you just go by the cover?), but I'll look for it at the library next time I'm there. Thanks for the review, and for letting me know what's in it. I had just decided to do that when I mention books on my blog, but was wondering how other people would react, so it's great to see others mention it, too.

  2. I really liked this book too! It wasn't my favorite either but it was very good :)
    Awesome Review :D

  3. glad you liked this book. This will be my next Dessen book...I'll probably get to it at the end of this week. I'm on my 2nd book by her right now & I'm totally loving her : )

  4. Mary D

    I've never heard of this one before, but your review is very good and I'm writing this down now to try and get a copy from Rolling Prairie book system.

    I can kinda relate to the story line, too. I imagine a lot of us can in one way or another, the whole idea of 'starting fresh' is so exciting, but having someone blow it for you would really throw you for a loop. I'm curious to see what lessons and understanding the main character Colie comes away with.

    thanks for recommending what sounds like a very good book :)

  5. loved this book...one of my faves of her's....colie is such a great character

  6. This is the only Sarah Dessen book I haven't read! I should get a copy!

  7. I'm a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, and I really agree with you about this novel being realistic. That's the beauty of Dessen's works - there's always something else there, just beneath the surface. I think my favorites would have to be This Lullaby and The Truth About Forever, though. Thank you for the lovely review!

  8. I'm a Dessen fan through and through! I listened to the audio book of this and was captivated the whole time. Dessen really does make you feel like you know the characters personally. I could imagine everything that was happening as well, and I love how she developed not only the romance, but the friendship Colie has with Morgan and Isabel.

    Another great review! Your writing is good and personal and I feel like I know you a little more with each one!

    ~Shalena @ Writer Quirk

  9. Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen is a pretty good book. It's interesting and clever and funny. It teaches a few worthwhile lessons and it has a good, satisfying ending that you leaves you feeling glad that you read it.


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