The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen | ARC Review
Publication: Balzer + Bray
Release date: June 4, 2019
How I got the copy: HarperCollins Canada
I love Sarah Dessen’s books and this one is truly amazing. I immediately fell in love with it. One of the reasons I love Dessen’s stories so much is that in each story there’s real-life issues and personal struggles that everyone can relate to. Her books don’t only focus on romantic relationships. Yes, romantic relationships are there and they’re so swoon-worthy but there’s still a bigger picture. And I think it’s so important, especially in a YA.
The Rest of the Story follows Emma Saylor who’s sheltered by her father after she has a rocky childhood with a mother struggling addiction. And when plans fall through for Emma to stay at one of her best friends house while her father goes on his honeymoon, with his new wife, Emma rediscovers her mother’s side of the family.
Emma’s mother died when she was younger and she doesn’t remember her mother’s side of the family but while being at North Lake, where he grandmother owns a hotel, she sees pictures of herself with her mother’s side of the family that she feels connected to but can’t remember any of it. While Emma’s at North Lake she decides to piece together who everyone is and ends up experiencing what it’s like having a big family and having purpose. Emma finds herself helping her new found family and building meaningful relationships with everyone.
While in North Lake, Emma notices that there are two sides of the lake. One side, North Lake, is the working class and the other, Lake North, is where the wealthier go to spend the summer and where the rich kids have summer jobs at the resort. Emma comes from a well-off family and spending the summer at North Lake she finds herself stuck in the middle. Her cousins are giving her a hard time for being the rich cousin on summer vacation and she doesn’t seem to really fit in with the Lake North kids.
And then Roo. I love Roo as a character so much. He’s kind, sweet, hardworking and generous. He agrees to help Emma piece together her family history since she feels she’s missed so much of it. Roo’s deceased father was best friends with Emma’s mother since childhood and I love how the bond between their parents basically passed down to them. This is obviously where the swoon-worthy romance comes from and it’s so sweet. The friendship they have is effortless and truly friendship goals. I’d totally read another book that focuses on both of them!
I absolutely love the character growth in this story and that it’s set in a lake town during the summer! I’ve been reading Dessen’s books for at least 10 years now and I will continue to pick up the books she writes. No matter your age and no matter how old the characters are, Dessen writes timeless stories for anyone at any age to enjoy.
Sarah Dessen is a master of writing YA stories with depth, emotion and hope!
*A copy of this book was provided by HarperCollins Canada in exchange for an honest review*
*The photo of the book in this post is of a purchased copy, not the ARC reviewed.