Friday, June 21, 2019
The Rest of the Story
First sentence: The wedding was over. But the party had just begun.
Premise/plot: While her father and new step-mother are on their honeymoon in Greece, Emma Saylor Payne goes to visit her maternal grandmother (and extended family). She has no memories of her grandmother, Mimi, or her cousins. (Though she knows that she visited there when she was four.) It's a bit of an adjustment. It's a tourist-y town by a lake. Her grandmother owns and runs a motel. Her cousins--including a very pregnant one named Trinity--do a lot of the work. At first, Mimi thinks of SAYLOR as a guest. Saylor is not to do any work whatsoever. But lines between family and guest are blurred as she becomes more at home. She's hanging out with her cousins and their friends, including ROO, and working alongside them too.
Much of this one revolves around the question Who is she really??? Is she "Emma" or is she "Saylor"? Is she more like her father? Is she more like her mother?
My thoughts: Love YA romance? Love Sarah Dessen? There is much to love in her newest book. Dessen does an excellent job of developing heroes and heroines who fall in love. In the case of The Rest of the Story that would be Emma Saylor and Roo. I also enjoyed seeing relationships develop between Emma, Bailey, Trinity, and Gordon. (There's another cousin, Jack, who isn't all that developed. Not really). Not all the characters are fully developed. (Mimi and Nana come to mind. As well as Emma's dad and stepmom.) Quite a few are flat. (I'm thinking of Blake and Colin). The characters we spend the most time with are oh-so-human.
The Rest of the Story while it isn't an issue-driven novel does handle some big issues. Emma has to deal with the good, the bad, the ugly of her mother's past. Her mom was an addict. Her life was a big, big mess. Her mom hurt a lot of people--including herself. By letting herself really get to know her mom's side of the family, she's opening up the past and getting new and different glimpses of who her mom was and what she meant to other people. Does her mom's addiction mean that she's more likely to become an addict herself? Is she fated to make the same mistakes as her mom? Could she hurt others in the same way as her mom?
I enjoyed this one. It was nice to have a heroine who was anxious and had OCD.
© 2019 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews