So I finally managed to finish The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen. I promised my best friend I would read this like 8 months ago and I finally got around to finishing it and I wanted to get the review up now before I forget all my thoughts. Not much ramble today, let’s hop right into things.
Title: The Rest of the Story
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genres: Young Adult, Romance, Contemporary
Publisher: Harper Collins
Publication Date: 20th May 2019
Pages: 440 pages
When I Read It: 23th May 2020
Goodreads Rating: 4.08 Stars
Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.
Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.
When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.
Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.
For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?
My Goodreads Review:
April 17, 2020 – page 21 4.77% “So far I like the plot and dialogue. I can see where it’s going. I’m getting vibes like The Lake Series by Annalisa Grant…although I enjoyed that alot more from the outset. My current issue is I’m not a fan of the writing style. It’s a lot of random description, and I understand that it’s part of her character but also I’m fighting the urge to skip lines and I’m 21 pages in…”
May 21, 2020 – page 154 35.0% “The plot is picking up a little but I still don’t really see where it could go to get interting. I’m still super confused with the family. Also just read a chapter that had me thinking if Emma’s dad is Emma’s dad and not Roo’s dad instead. Maybe I’m just looking for plots where there are none.”
May 23, 2020 – page 230 52.27% “Emma is growing on me. I like her fear of driving because I relate. Roo is my favourite he’s so sweet. The family is so hectic and I’m still a little confused when they say names, but I think after a few more chapters I’ll have it down.”
May 23, 2020 – page 314 71.36% “Emma’s dad is so irritating and I don’t get why Emma isn’t fighting him on it. If I was in her position I would have agreed back, I might not have won but I would not go quietly 😂”
May 23, 2020 – Finished Reading
A solid 3.5 stars (rounded up to 4)
My best friend lent me this to read and at first I was skeptical. I’m not the biggest fan of Sarah Dessen’s writing style but I decided to try it anyway.
And it was slow…so so so so slow at the start. I was so bored and no matter how much I tried to pretend to like bits of it, I just didn’t. It was too much of an info dump all at once (probably how Emma was feeling tbh) and I really wasnt enjoying it. But I persevered cause I’m stubborn.
And it got better, the plot built up, the characters started to form and they all started to make more sense and became less of a blob. The ending was a bit meh, I wanted more of a final HEA, but that’s just me. I can see what she was going with and the open-endedness flows with the books themes.
It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t my favourite. There were definitely elements I liked and enjoyed and by the end I got into it, but it was a real slow burner so if your an impatient reader like me then it’s probably not for you.
My Favourite Quotes:
- “Go. Sail. Honey that moon. I’ll see you in three weeks.”
“Honey that moon?”
“Just go, would you?”
- “It’s a lot, all this new information,” I said. “I’m honestly having trouble keeping up.”
- “Are we working or are we flirting?” My face went red hot but Roo just laughed.
“Some Buddy you are,” I said. “What happened to support?”
“I’m supporting,” he said folding up the ladder.” You’re the one flirting.”
Characters: I didn’t mind the characters. There were some really endearing qualities to Emma, I loved the double name thing – really worked well with the themes of the book. I also adored her fear of driving because I definitely went through that phase and I related. I also loved that occasionally she stood up to people and spoke her mind, like with Blake and Bailey – she didn’t just let them walk all over her. However, I didn’t like that after she had these really strong character moments, she just let her dad walk all over her! So irritating and really uncharacteristic.
I loved Trinity as a character. She was my favourite, she had so much to deal with but she was sassy and strong-willed and just amazing. Her sister Bailey however is a different story. I found her so boring to read, she was dull and spent all her time complaining. The highlight of the book for me was when Emma finally put her in her place.
I liked Roo but he wasn’t the heart-melting book boy I was pinning for. He was sweet enough and got progressively better as the book went on but he was lacking that thing that makes me fall in love with a character.
There were so many characters in this book and they really all start blending together. It was also quite a bit of an info-dump when you first meet most of them which really doesn’t help to separate them as individuals.
Characters = 6/10
Humour: This book wasn’t funny, but I don’t think it was written to be, which makes me feel bad for marking it down for that but the fact it was so serious the whole time just made it hard to read for me because I love when there’s some funny moments to brighten the mood.
Humour = 4/10
Atmosphere: This was one element of the book I adored. I loved the Lake. It provided such a cozy summer vibe that just made you feel settled and comfortable in your surroundings. Lake-side towns are some of my favourite settings to read so this was a great pull to the story for me.
Atmosphere = 8/10
Writing Style: This is a big fall for the book for me. I hate being so negative but personally I’m not a fan of Sarah Dessen’s writing style. She spends a lot of time describing things where I’d rather have a bit more content. Also I mentioned the thing about the info dump, that’s not something I liked. And also it was very very slow to start, there wasn’t really anything particularly gripping until at least 100 pages in. It may just be my fault because I am an impatient reader. I’m all for a bit of build up but I think this was a little much.
Writing Style = 3/10
Plot: I liked the idea of the plot and once you got past the slow build up it was really good. The plot in the last 200 pages was great to read. It was a pretty generic Sarah Dessen plot, so if your a fan of her other books I would say this sticks to her classic themeing.
Plot = 7/10
Intrigue: Like I mentioned, there was no intrigue in the first have of the book. I didn’t care what happened and it was very dull. Then all of a sudden around the 200 page mark it just hit full throttle and got really great. The last 50 pages were so gripping and had me on the edge of my seat.
Intrigue = 6/10
Logic: It seemed quite logical. Everyone’s actions seems to have reasoned responses. Other than the sudden character change of Emma when she wouldn’t stand up to her father.
Logic = 8/10
Enjoyment: If you couldn’t already tell, this wasn’t my favourite read but it also wasn’t the worst. It was very meh. It felt very poorly paced but the characters were decent. The writing style wasn’t for me but the setting and atmosphere were great. It got progressively better, but I can’t rate it too highly because it did take so long to get going and I know there are better Sarah Dessen books out there.
Enjoyment = 6/10
Relationships: Roo and Emma’s relationship was kind of odd, like the whole book I felt that it was paced oddly. It was too slow to start, there wasn’t enough drama or intrigue between their romance and then it just ended without ever really getting enough of them as a couple or at least their build up. It was like a new development on Insta-love where they went from acquaintances to suddenly dating but they had known each other. There was just something about it that didn’t sit right for me.
Relationships = 6/10
Overall Score = 54/90 or 6/10
I’m sorry I didn’t like it more. I wish I did because I feel like it had a lot of promise. Hopefully my next read will be more up my street. Have you read this? If so, did you like it? Am I just missing something? Anyway, I hope you enjoyed this, see you tomorrow!