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Keeping the Moon (1999)

by Sarah Dessen

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2,603574,370 (3.85)32
Fifteen-year-old Colie, a former fat girl, spends the summer working as a waitress in a beachside restaurant, staying with her overweight and eccentric Aunt Mira, and trying to explore her sense of self.

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READ the print edition when originally published - love Sarah Dessen 's books.

Never underestimate the power of friendship.

When Colie goes to spend the summer at the beach, she doesn’t expect much.

But Colie didn’t count on meeting Morgan and Isabel.

Through them, she learns what true friendship is all about, and finally starts to realize her potential.

And that just might open the door to her first chance at love. . . .
“A down-to-earth Cinderella story… ( )
  Gmomaj | Sep 19, 2021 |
Just read if you want to read all the Dessen books. Otherwise, skip it. The book abruptly ends and there's no real closure to Colie's slightly frayed relationship with her mother. One good thing I will say is that I enjoyed Isabel and Morgan's relationship/friendship.

Colie is sent to stay with her Aunt Mia for the summer. Her famous mother is traveling and Colie is shuffled off for the summer. You may initially get the impression that Colie's mother doesn't care, but she does. We just don't get a lot of time getting to know them much cause Dessen drops tidbits here and there and jumps around.

We find out that Colie is having a hard time at school and that rumors about her have caused her to hide herself. Meeting Morgan, Isabel, and Norman slowly has her coming out of her shell. I do say though I'm not a huge fan of suddenly a girl being "gorgeous" by getting her hair done, eyebrows plucked, and makeup being applied. I think ultimately Dessen wants young girls to read this and realize they are beautiful no matter what. She kind of negates all that with the reveal about Isabel though making it seem that when you get older,you automatically are going to be a beauty.

The character of Mia is pretty much ignored, no real depth there. I'm surprised Colie at least doesn't bring up how hard her and her mother's life was while I was sitting on money. Most of this book felt like things were left unsaid.

The book is fairly short. Probably why I felt like a lot of things were left undone. I would have liked some scenes with Colie back home, dating, standing tall against her tormenters. ( )
  ObsidianBlue | Jul 1, 2020 |
With her mom away on business in Europe (she’s a diet/fitness guru), self-esteem challenged Colie is sent to stay with her eccentric and ostracized aunt for the summer, where Colie discovers the warm glow of friendship and the joys of a boy who isn’t her “type,” while she attempts to navigate the difficult path of bullies and how to become more comfortable in her own skin.

I liked that while the book addresses that physical changes like weight loss, make-up, a new hair color, etc., can help you feel superficially better about yourself (which is no small thing), at the same time, the book acknowledges that self-worth, the wounds and the healing of those wounds run deeper than appearance. I also thought it was realistic to show that there isn’t some one size fits all means of dealing with/conquering the hold bullies have on you, for every person like Isabel who needs to verbally fight back to feel empowered, there’s someone like Aunt Mira, who feels more empowered by turning the other cheek and reveling in her otherness rather than waste energy defending it. I liked that neither stance is presented as stronger or weaker, just what feels right for that individual.

Speaking of Aunt Mira, both she and Colie’s mom have had such interesting life journeys that I found myself wanting to get to know them better, wanting a few more scenes of each with Colie, and really wishing I’d seen their sisterhood and its undoubted complexities in action, but I am an adult reader so that’s probably in part why I was drawn to them where understandably the actual teen audience for this book might not have been, plus obviously it makes sense for a YA novel that’s kind of on the shorter side to keep the focus mostly on the YA characters.

There’s a little bit of romance in this one though the book doesn’t spend a ton of time on it which I found smart since Colie had some work to do on herself and if she’d spent the whole book mooning over a boy I’m not sure that work would have been convincingly accomplished. Colie and her guy shared a sweet chemistry by the end and I enjoyed that he’s a bit different from the stereotypical high school quarterback or bad boy who are so often the go-to love interest in contemporary stories (not that I dislike those, it’s just refreshing to switch things up every now and then).

The friendships in this one were also presented slightly differently. Rather than bond with girls her own age, Colie is taken under the wings of her two co-workers at a diner. Isabel and Morgan, waitresses in their early twenties were both fully fleshed out characters, I felt like I had such a solid understanding of who they are and why they do and say the things they do, the rocky moments and the loving moments between them felt authentic, and that, along with the way they welcome Colie into their fold, provided much of the heart in Keeping The Moon. ( )
  SJGirl | Sep 1, 2019 |
Confessions of a Book Freak for my thoughts
( )
  RamblingBookNerd | Jun 5, 2019 |
At first I was a little put off by the book. But since I love Sarah Dessen, I knew that if I stuck with it that it would get better. When me first meet Colie, we are going through a flashback type thing. She is remembering when both her and her mother were fat, and traveling across the country. When the story really gets going you find out that Colie and her mom are both now skinny, and her mom has turned into this fitness/weightloss guru. Colie is being shipped off to her Aunt Mira's in Colby, North Carolina.
Colie is only 15, so she can't really be left at home for the summer while her mother goes on tour for her fitness program. So Colie gets on a train and travels from Charlotte to Colby, where she is picked up by Norman, her Aunt's boarder. Norman and Aunt Mira turn out to be a little wierd, well wierd to most people. Mira's house is strewn with items that only half work, and Mira herself seems a little off the norm. Mira is overweight and in her world it doesn't bother her. Colie knows that while she is there for the summer that she really can't just sit around, so when she ends up at the Last Chance Bar and Grill, she meets Morgan and Isabel; two best friends that have been together since at least high school.
Colie soon lands a job at Last Chance, and becomes somewhat friendly with Morgan and Isabel. Morgan is the sweet one while Isabel is a little rougher and at times can seem just downright mean.
While working at Last Chance, Colie watches the way that Morgan and Isabel interact and while she never had a friend like either of them before, she learns that they would do just about anything for each other.
Isabel kinda takes a liking to Colie about half way through the book, when she happens to overhear some nasty things that a girl from Colie's hometown has to say about her. Isabel then helps Colie recognize her self-esteem through the rest of the book.
Keeping the Moon is a great coming of age/self-esteem book for young girls. And by the end of the book I was almost in tears with the transformation of Colie. ( )
  chaoticbooklover | Dec 26, 2018 |
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For Lee Smith who taught me, and for past and present burritogirls everywhere.
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My name is Nicole Sparks.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Last Chance is an alternate title for Keeping the Moon.
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Fifteen-year-old Colie, a former fat girl, spends the summer working as a waitress in a beachside restaurant, staying with her overweight and eccentric Aunt Mira, and trying to explore her sense of self.

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