The dead aren’t the only ones who vanish: you, too, can disappear in plain sight if enough is taken from you. I was still missing, in many ways. And I wasn’t sure I wanted to be found
Hello! I just got done reading Once and For All by Sarah Dessen and I have mixed feelings on this one. I haven’t read a summer contemporary romance novel in ages, lately I’ve been really into fantasy and everything but contemporary romances, but this one caught my attention admittedly by the cover and because Sarah Dessen is a familiar author to me. I’ve read most of her other books and loved them as they all seem to have good takeaways and life lessons interwoven in them. This novel does seem to deal with a lot more heavy topics than what one would expect from a summery contemporary romance novel. Death and tragedy are laced into the plot line, giving the novel a more emotionally-charged appeal which is one aspect about this book that I did like. I started veering away from contemporary awhile back because it all seemed the same to me and it was predictable but adding diversity into YA contemporary is definitely a positive element that Sarah Dessen brings. Though I did enjoy the book it’s not without some minor flaws. The first thing that I didn’t really love about the novel is that it was very predictable to me, I think most people know who Louna is going to end up dating in the end, this is made clear basically from the beginning. This book follows the typical plot line of meeting someone at first and disliking them, getting to know them better, and discovering you have feelings for them. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, but it is one of the major things that is overdone in contemporary YA books. Another thing that I felt could have been done slightly better was character development. There was some development in the characters, but it seemed like there definitely could have been more growth and perhaps over a longer time period, this would have added to making the novel more realistic. Some things did seem rushed to me, like Louna’s first relationship with Ethan.
However, one of the biggest problems I had with this book was just that I couldn’t really bring myself to get overly attached to Ambrose. There was just something about his personality that I found a little bit annoying I’m not 100% sure as to what that is about him that irritates me. Perhaps it’s the fact that he seems to get away with everything and still get his way, including stealing a dog with no consequences, getting a job after making a horrible first impression to his future boss, and getting the girl he wanted after flirting with many, many other girls in the process. I would have liked to see Ambrose’s character development a little bit more defined and openly recognized by the end of the novel which is one area that this book fell short.
Overall though, I did enjoy the book and of course it has valuable take-aways about love and not closing your heart off too soon. It was a good summer read and I loved the wedding planning business and getting a sneak peek inside the world of weddings and the drama and stress that comes with it! Therefore, I give this novel 3.5/5 stars.
Some of my favourite Quotes from the Book:
“It’s about the courage to go for what you want, not just what you think you need. Sometimes we don’t even know what that is.”
“But you never know what you can do until you try, and if you’re lucky, what you love will always be waiting for you”
“You can’t measure love by time put in, but the weight of those moments. Some in life are light, like a touch. Others, you can’t help but stagger beneath.”