About two weeks ago, I had two things happen to me. I went to my first graduation party for the year and I got the chance to meet Sarah Dessen. I have been a huge Sarah Dessen fan for a while now (for at least 4 years) so getting the chance to meet her was amazing. You can actually go and read about my experience here but I finally got some time to read her latest book. Which leads us here. Another review. A spoiler free book review this time because you all should go and pick up Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel.
Title: Once and For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Released: June 6, 2017
Pages: 400 (Hardback)
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.
Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.
Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
About the Author: Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.
Louna Barrett has known nothing but weddings for her own life. Despite her mom’s outdoor, disgusting, no good wedding of her own, Natalie Barrett is one of the most respected wedding planners there is. Because of all Louna has seen with her mom’s own divorce, all the weddings her mom has planned, and a boy named Ethan, she doesn’t believe in the power of love or marriage. As Louna prepares to head of to college, at one of her last weddings, she meets Ambrose. Ambrose is charming and never sticks to one girl. Louna thinks that she will have to deal with him just for one day but what if it turned into every day?
Like I said before, this wasn’t my first time reading a Sarah Dessen book. Sarah Dessen is one of the reasons I read some of the contemporary books these days. This book reminded me about all that is happy in life. It brought a smile to my face and brought tears to my eyes. I went through about all the emotions while I was reading this book because I was so attached to this book. If you need to read a book to make sure that you still have emotions, this is the book for you. #allthefeels
The story line of the novel is really original and really interesting and I feel like that is one of the reasons I enjoyed reading it so much. Like most contemporary novels, it was nice and light, with a little fluff that I really enjoyed. How many YA novels do you get to read that has wedding planning within it? How many novels are there in general that you get to read about wedding planning? It does have a sappy love story written within it, which I am a sucker for, but doesn’t all contemporaries do? There are these tiny twist and turns through the novel that will really make you second guess everything. You don’t know who you want to trust or who you need to hate.
Louna is my new best friend. Ambrose is my new boyfriend. These characters were so likable that I would not mind having any of them as my friend. The characters were developed so perfectly that there was so much depth to all of them. You saw characters grow. You have moments where you want to kill a character because of something they did but in like five pages, they are your best friend. Plus, Sarah Dessen likes to do this thing where she throws in previous characters from her other books on accident just to see who catches them. I think I counted two characters from other books through the book but I could be wrong.
Sarah Dessen adds the element of flashbacks through the novel and it really teaches you several things. You learn about some of the development of Louna’s characters. You learn that certain events can happen at any point of time when you don’t expect it. You also learn about the power of one night. Within the flashback, you learn about Louna’s relationship with Ethan. I did sort of have an issue with Ethan and Louna’s relationship and when you read the book you might be able to see what I’m talking about.
Overall, I would have to give this book a 4.5 out of 5. This is the perfect summer read to take to the beach, vacation, or just to your couch. It’s easy to follow and it is such a fun book to read. If you are wondering if you should give a Sarah Dessen book a try, you should go and do it. Fans of Morgan Matson will want to go and grab the book.
Have you read this book? Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s work? What are your thoughts on this book? What is your favorite contemporary read? Let me know your thoughts in the comments!