I’ll admit, I’m a little late to hop on the Sarah Dessen train. Once and For All was my first Dessen novel, but it won’t be my last. While it is not a story that will keep you on the edge of your seat waiting to see what happens next, it is still an endearing beach or poolside read for this summer. If you are looking for an easy, stress-free read, this is certainly the book for you.
Louna works for her mother’s wedding planning agency, so she’s seen it all – terrified brides and happy brides; couples that will almost certainly end their marriage after a short time, and couples whose marriage will last for as long as they both shall live. It has inspired Louna’s interest in people’s stories so much so that she doesn’t realize she is living out her own love story. Louna’s love life has been struck by tragedy in the past; it’s understandable that she has fallen victim to the cynicism her mother and her business partner display towards love, romance, and marriage when working. But then there’s Ambrose. Even Louna has to admit, Ambrose’s optimism and almost annoying tendency toward happiness is infectious. There’s just one problem with him – he refuses to settle down with just one girl.
More than just a romance novel, Dessen shows her readers how important it is to appreciate what we have while we have it. While Louna had a great first love, Ethan, she is scared to try again with anyone else because she thinks it will never be the same as what she had with him. She must learn to remember her past and keep it with her while she continues to grow and make other memories. Maybe things will never be as good as they were with Ethan, but she’ll never know if Ambrose can compare unless she continues to try for those moments.
I won’t go into too many details and spoil the fun, but Dessen’s witty characters and hilarious shenanigans will keep you enchanted until the very end. You’ll be begging Louna and Ambrose to just admit their feelings for each other already. Both laughter and tears are in store for whomever decides to pick up this latest novel by Sarah Dessen.
Now excuse me while I catch up on all the Dessen novels I have missed.
Devon Lail-Gantt is an ESL teacher and a fiction writer. She has a Master’s in creative writing from Southern New Hampshire University. When she’s not working, you can almost always find her curled up with a book. Devon lives in North Carolina with her husband and their fur babies.