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Once and for All Hardcover – June 6, 2017
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Praise for Once and For All:
"Dessen’s expertise at creating a character faced with change is once again on display in this book that reminds readers that love is measured ‘not in minutes but in moments.’” —VOYA
"Romance, humor, kindhearted characters, and a touch of painful reality make this another sure bet for Dessen fans." —Kirkus Review
"There is no question that this title will be popular with Dessen fans and romance lovers." —School Library Journal
Praise for Sarah Dessen's writing:
"Is there anyone who can write about what matters most to teens as well as Dessen can? I sincerely doubt it." —Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling novelist of Leaving Time and My Sister’s Keeper
"Sarah Dessen is something of a rock star in young adult fiction. Her bestselling coming-of-age novels are warmly written explorations of teens in transition that are, by turns, questioning, humorous and hopeful." —Los Angeles Times
★ "Dessen is as skilled as ever at turning out steady, satisfying stories about teens that are easy to fall for." —Publishers Weekly, starred review for The Moon and More
"Readers can count of Dessen; she's a pro at creating characters caught at a nexus of change, who have broken relationships and who need to make decisions . . . Readers will enjoy every minute they spend with her." —Kirkus Reviews on What Happened to Goodbye
"Realistic teen dialogue, authentic girl friendships, and a complex underlying question: Can people really change?" —Kirkus Reviews on Along for the Ride
"Good story, real characters, happy ending . . . another must-read." —VOYA on Lock and Key
"The romance which forms the core of the story is everything a romance should be." —Horn Book on Just Listen
About the Author
Sarah Dessen is the author of twelve previous novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers Saint Anything, The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal.
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association, recognizing her significant contribution to young adult literature.
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com.
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Top customer reviews
Louna is, to me, a haunted character. She's got some issues that she hasn't really dealt with and that she doesn't actually talk about with others. She focuses on her work with her mom in the wedding planning business, but she isn't someone who actually believes in love. You get glimpses of her past relationship and hints about what happened to her boyfriend, but you don't get the full story until the end of the book. It's sad and Louna's behavior makes sense, but it also doesn't...if that makes sense.
I liked Ambrose a lot as a character. He's goofy and weird, and seriously flirtatious. He tries so hard to be nice to Louna but she's just kind of mean, so it was strange when she realized her feelings for him. It was also a little confusing when he admits his feelings because there just wasn't a lot of instances that the two of them...felt things? I'm not sure, but I just didn't get a lot of swoony moments from these two so I wasn't sure how it all happened.
I liked the story well enough and the ending was sweet. I'll always buy/read Dessen's words because she does them so well. The supporting characters are always well-rounded and fit perfectly into the story. This time it was the main character who didn't do it for me.
Maybe next time.
My favorite thing about Sarah Dessen is the way her secondary and even tertiary characters are fleshed out. She brings life and background to everyone in her books, except this one. We learn virtually nothing about Ambrose and are given no indication why he would be good for Louna. He flirts with tons of girls, is hard to work with, but never goes beyond that to find a balance with his good side. We're never shown or given a good side. He feels like a bad version of Morris from Saint Anything. His sister, Bee, would have been an excellent candidate for exploring as well, but we don't get any sense of who she is either. I understand the focus on Ethan, but it comes at the expense of understanding Louna further.
I love Sarah Dessen (Saint Anything was lovely and I highly recommend it above Once And For All), but this book is a disappointing outlier.
The one aspect I found unbelievable is that a one-time meeting between Louna and Ethan could be termed as a relationship. When she loses him, I understand her grief, yet, found her devastation to be a little unbelievable. As an adult, I also noted that her "relationship" with Ethan was really a one-night stand. As a skeptic, I can't help but see Ethan as a player. Again, I am an adult and not easily buying into the romance of this one.
Still, I love Sarah Dessen, even if Once And For All isn't her best work.