The Rest of the Story

Review From User :

I've been a huge YA reader for some time now, and as I have selected books through the years, I've seen Sarah Dessen's name pop up. For some reason I had never read any of her books, although she certainly had been named as an author worth reading. So when her newest book, The Rest of the Story , was released, I figured it was time I remedied my unfamiliarity with Dessen's work.

WTF have I been waiting for All I know is, if her other books are as good as this one, I am seriously going to have to devour her backlist, stat. It's been a while since a nearly 450-page book left me wanting more when I was finished, wishing it was longer so I could spend more time with the characters and know what happened to them after the story ended. But all of this happened with this book.

"There were lots of ways to love someone, I guessed, both by remembering and forgetting."

Emma Saylor's mother was at times both larger than life and withdrawn. She died five years ago, when Emma was 12, but her parents were divorced much earlier than that, and she lived with her father and grandmother.

While there are many things about her mother that Emma has forgotten, she always remembered the stories her mother used to tell her about the lake community where she grew up and met Emma's father. But while it was one big lake, it was like two separate worlds-her mother grew up in working-class North Lake, while her father worked at the yacht club on the prestigious Lake North side.

When Emma goes to stay with her mother's family for a few weeks one summer, it is the first time she has been back to the lake since she was four or five years old. Her large family-maternal grandmother, aunt, cousins-have never forgotten her, but Emma has little memory of any of it. Yet the more time she spends there, the more she feels like she belongs, the more she learns about her mother's life, her parents' relationship, and the stories that she has never heard.

"The past was always present, in its way, and you can't help but remember. Even if you can't remember at all."

While she was born with two names at birth, Emma Saylor, her mother used to call her Saylor, but it's a name she stopped using years ago. But she realizes that Saylor is just as much a part of her, and since that's the name her new-found family calls her, she feels a connection to her past that she hadn't before. And that bridge between the past and the present is embodied in the relationships she builds with her cousins, and the friendship she rekindles with Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when they were little, and whose spell she can't seem to resist now.

It's hard to be caught between two different worlds, especially when there is so much history that transpired which left those you cared about full of hurt and sadness. Yet Emma is determined to have the life her father wants to give her, while at the same time, she doesn't want to lose her connections to her past, or the people who were such a special part of it. But that won't be easy, and others may get hurt in the process.

I literally was hooked on this book from the very first sentence. Even though there were a few instances in which the foreshadowing was a little too obvious and you knew eventually what would transpire in certain situations, Dessen captured me completely with this story and these characters. Having lost my birth mother at a very young age, I identified with some of the characters a great deal, and it made the story even more poignant and emotional.

I love the way Dessen writes. Her characters aren't too witty and sophisticated that they seem like caricatures or transplants from a John Green novel. And while there might not be a lot of surprises, I just felt right at home in the middle of the story. And as far as I'm concerned, you can't ask for more than that.

So, Dessen fans, which one of her books should I read next

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Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family – her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake – and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

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