Monday, May 29, 2017

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Title: Once and For All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Penguin

As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
Review by Nara

I must admit I have a soft spot for Sarah Dessen's books. She was one of the first YA authors I ever read- I discovered her in high school (the first book of hers I read being Just Listen) and have read pretty much every book of hers that I could get my hands on since then (to varying degrees of enjoyment). I actually read her most recent novel apart from Once and For All, Saint Anything, and very much enjoyed it. So when the news came out that she had written a new novel, I knew I had to read it.

As I've found in many of Dessen's novels, character development is probably the strongest aspect of Once and For All. The characters are flawed, and not necessarily 100% likeable, but they are realistic and well developed. For example, if you take Ambrose, the love interest, he is pretty annoying for the majority of the novel, but does manage to grow on you somehow (although even towards the end, he retains his ability to make you feel slightly annoyed).

There were flashbacks throughout the novel to Louna's "tragic first love", and while these scenes in general had quite a sorrowful undertone (as you know that what you see is not going to last), they did really give you a better picture of Louna's background and why she has become what you see in current time. I think they were a good choice by Dessen, as just telling us what had happened rather than showing us would not have given the same emotional resonance.

I think Saint Anything is probably still my favourite Sarah Dessen, but Once and For All would make a close second (along with Just Listen and The Truth About Forever).

Really liked it
Overall: 8/10
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5