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Stories we tell

Cover of The Rest of the Story
A review of The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

There was a time when I discovered Sarah Dessen and did a deep dive into her young adult novels. And once I'd caught up on her backlist I'd read each new one when it came out. But then I stopped doing an auto-read of her books. Can't really tell you why, though I'm guessing there were just too many other things on my TBR radar (a constant challenge in my life), but there it is. What's funny is I can't tell you why I decided to try her newest and why, when I decided to do so, I was kind of nervous. Would it be as enjoyable as the earlier ones were? Had I grown out of my love for her books? Answers, yes and no respectively. I zipped through this and enjoyed every minute of it.

Emma Saylor Payne is experiencing some pretty major changes in her life. Both long term, her dad has just remarried, and short term, she's spending the summer with her mom's side of the family while her dad and his new wife go on their honeymoon. Emma's mom died when she was ten of a drug overdose and for years it was just Emma and her dad. She had no contact with her mom's family and in fact hasn't seen any of them since she was four. Now there's no other option. She's off to North Lake to stay with the Calvander side of the family. Though Emma is uneasy about staying with what are effectively strangers, she welcomes the possibility of getting to know them and perhaps learning something of the history of her mom before she became an addict.

Dessen's writing is so natural and as easy-going as a summer on the lake. From the first page I was drawn to Emma/Saylor and the people in her life and I found myself reading late into the night to finish. So I go now to find the Dessen books I missed during my hiatus and will load up on more books to add to the pile.

June 6, 2019