REVIEW: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Duration: 440 pages
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

“Life is a journey, wouldn’t you rather be the person behind the wheel than the one just being carried along?”

Page 154, The Rest of the Story


Emma Saylor has her summer planned out –
✓Dad getting married
✓ New house being remodeled
✓ Staying at her friends house and crushing on boys while her Dad and Step-Mother go on their honeymoon
The plan gets disrupted when her friend has a family emergency and is unable to let Emma stay over. She has no other options except her grandmother from her mother’s side that she hasn’t seen since she was 3 years old. Since her mother passed when Emma was 10 years old, she hasn’t even thought about this side of the family. When she arrives, North Lake seems like a distant memory to her. During the 3 weeks she gets to spend there, it shows her getting to know this part of her family that becomes near and dear to her heart.


Sarah Dessen has been one of my favorite authors for over 10 years. She has such a unique way of writing relaxing stories that make you immersed in the story and invested in the characters.

Plot – It’s kind of funny that I reread one of Sarah’s old books – Keeping the Moon – just last month. This book was really reminiscent of Keeping the Moon except updated for the current times. Both books deal with the main character going to stay with an aunt during the summer while meeting people they become close with and falling in love. The way that Sarah updated this story to make it more relevant with the circumstances Emma’s mom passed from (opioid abuse) and delving into how Emma deals with her anxiety. Even though the plots had similarities, they had quite different feels based on their settings.

Characters – I enjoyed Emma’s resilience. When she first arrived to North Lake her cousins thought she was the spoiled rich kid who just got to laze around. She proved them wrong by helping them work at her aunts motel and by knowing her struggles with her mother and anxiety, you know she is a strong girl. I loved the feel of the relationships between everyone at North Lake – how you know that they all grew up together and they have that loving friends-like-family type vibe.

Writing – Sarah Dessen has a very simplistic way of writing that feels so laidback and enjoyable. When she described North Lake it made me crave to be by a lake this summer – swimming, barbecuing, lighting sparklers, etc. Even though the writing isn’t incredibly detailed, it is done in such a way that you want to continue reading.

Overall – I was very happy with Sarah Dessen’s new book. I really enjoyed that she made it relevant to current issues while still keeping her simplistic summer relaxation vibe.

“You can make your life, or life can make you. Was it really that simple of a choice?”

Page 181, The Rest of the Story


Have you read this book or any of Sarah Dessen’s other books? What did you think about it?

One thought on “REVIEW: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s