It has been a good minute since my last book review, and for today’s post I wanted to share my review of The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen.
Life is big and huge and scary. But you have to go and take your part of it. There’s a reason the saying is ‘Seize the day,’ not ‘Wait for it to come along at some point.
The Rest of the Story is the first book I have read by Sarah Dessen, and I decided to put in on my TBR after I saw other bloggers recommending it a while back. The Rest of the Story follows Emma Saylor who has been living with her dad after her mother’s death when she was 10-years-old. When her dad remarries and leaves for the honeymoon, Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family who she has not seen since she was a little girl. Emma soon realizes her mother’s hometown is split into two with North Lake home of the working class and where her mother grew up and Lake North resort where the wealthy tourists including her dad had previously spent his summers at. Emma feels divided between the two communities and struggles with her identity. Her dad knows her as Emma, but her mother’s family knows her a Saylor. When the summer ends, which side of her will win out?
First of all, I listened to the audiobook of The Rest of the Story through Libby, and I loved Rebecca Soler as a narrator because she changed her to voice to match the characters. As far as the characters, Emma Saylor is a likable and relatable character because while she is staying with her grandmother and cousins, she is figuring out who she is as a person. Emma does have a large family, and it was a bit overwhelming at first when everyone was introduced, but her family members have their own distinct personalities, and listening to the audiobook helped distinguish everybody even more. I also liked seeing how Emma’s relationship with her mother’s family developed over the course of the book. I also like Roo, who was Emma’s best friend when they were children because he is such a sweet character. Even though the characters were likable, the plot bit slow. The focus of the plot is on Emma getting to know her mother’s side of the family and the stories from her family’s past, but the book does pick up in the second half, and the ending is fast-paced. However, because of the slow plot, I did have to put the book down for a bit around the halfway point before I could get back into it. I did think the ending was fine, but apparently the Barnes and Noble edition of The Rest of the Story has an epilogue, which I would have liked to read especially because an individual on Goodreads said it provided closure and gave an update on the characters. Despite not being able to read the epilogue, one of my favorite parts of the book is the contrast of the two settings of North Lake and Lake North and how Emma reconciled her divided identity. For the most part, I did like The Rest of the Story, but I am unsure if I want to read more of Sarah Dessen’s books.
Overall, The Rest of the Story is a nice summer read that focuses on family and identity, but the plot was slow and I do not like that the epilogue is not included in all versions of the book.
$13.29 for paperback at Book Depository
Have you read any of Sarah Dessen’s books?