Book Review: The Rest Of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Sarah Dessen is pretty much the queen of Young Adult Literature. I have been reading her novels for well over a decade, when I first picked up Just Listen. Over the last ten years, I’ve read pretty much every one of her novels, and even had an opportunity to meet her when she came to a book store when the novel Once and For All came out.

So when her latest read, The Rest of the Story came out last month, I knew I needed to get it. In fact, I even ventured over to my favorite bookstore, RJ Julia in Madison to pick up the book the day it came out (and bonus, it was an autographed first edition. . . Score!)

The novel was about Emma Saylor Payne. Emma’s mom died when she was 12 as a result of being a drug addict. As a result, Emma doesn’t know too much about her mom — or the life that she left behind long ago at North Lake.

As a result of tragic circumstance, Emma finds herself at North Lake, with an entire family that she knows little to nothing about. Dubbed as the “spoiled, rich cousin,” Emma spends three weeks of the summer cleaning the family motel and soon learns more about her mother’s past thanks to Roo, someone who is even more linked to Emma’s past than she would have thought.

So, this novel was pretty similar to all of the other Dessen books: took place in the summer, protagonist is in her senior year/approaching her senior year in high school, and is set in North Carolina. Additionally, Emma has a bit of a traumatic past, similar to many of Dessen’s protagonists as well. For instance, in Once and For All, Louna’s boyfriend was shot and killed in a school shooting, and in Dreamland, Cait is abused by her boyfriend. Emma’s past consisted of dealing with her mother’s death when she was twelve, which was caused from drug addiction.

With that being said, I really enjoyed this novel. I mean, I am biased because I am a huge fan of Sarah Dessen, but the novel itself is nothing short of amazing. I’ve read all of Dessen’s novels, and her style keeps me engaged with each and every one of her novels.

Overall, as you’re getting ready to hit the beach for Independence Day, consider putting this novel into your beach bag.

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