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Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Once and for All

by Sarah Dessen

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5022632,877 (3.86)4
Louna's years working at her mother's wedding planning business--as well as the tragic end of her first love--have shaped her cynical views on romance, but the arrival of serial-dater Ambrose may start to change Louna's mind and give her a second chance at love.



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“The dead aren't the only ones who vanish: you, too, can disappear in plain sight if enough is taken from you. I was still missing, in many ways. And I wasn't sure I wanted to be found.”

When I was a teenager, I was obsessed with Dessen books. Just Listen is one of my favorites, and I also really enjoyed The Truth About Forever. It's been awhile since I've read one of her books, but it felt like something was missing from Once and for All. I didn't love or hate Louna, and I thought she was extremely hard to relate to.

Louna has suffered a great loss, and the experience has tainted her outlook on love and relationships. She can't talk to another guy, or go on a date without comparing them to her first epic encounter. What happened to Louna is truly terrible, and I can understand the devastating impact it had, but I also thought she fell too hard too fast. It was definitely an insta-love situation, but then it grew into something more. However, I was a little annoyed when they confessed their love for each other after a few short hours.

I understand that some teenagers fall in love hard and fast, though it felt unlikely that Louna would have committed herself so deeply and so quickly. I wish they had developed their attraction over time, but instead it keeps the same intensity from their first meeting. There were more confessions of love, the boyfriend and girlfriend labels were applied, and they consumed each other's lives. It felt like the author took something sweet and romantic and turned it into something frenzied and all-encompasing.

I immediately liked Ambrose and his unique way of viewing the world. "I just can't light a candle without making a wish and blowing it out. It's some kind of birthday neurosis." His outlook on life was always positive, even when he found himself in awkward or stressful situations. Ambrose is someone that enjoys living in the moment, and wants to help others whenever he can. I fell in love with him a little when he met Ira. He has a huge heart that is bursting with compassion.

I also enjoyed the various weddings, and how different they could be!

Louna had a really amazing best friend, and I wish their friendship had been more of a focus. They occasionally go out together, but there were usually other guys involved (or a lot of siblings). I wish there had been more one-on-one time for the two. This was their last summer together before college, and they chose to spend it with strangers. It didn't feel right.

In the end, Once and for All didn't meet my expectations for a Dessen book. I had trouble relating to Louna, which left me feeling disconnected from the story. Honestly, I kind of hated her at the end. She was being ridiculous and obstinate, which was incredibly frustrating. Additionally, it felt like there was something missing from the overall experience. The story lacked a certain oomph.

I was listening to an audiobook, so I apologize if the quote isn't exactly right.

Originally posted at Do You Dog-ear? on October 19, 2018. ( )
  doyoudogear | Oct 11, 2019 |
This fits to rom-com category and a bit long winded with interesting back drop. ( )
  Baochuan | Aug 7, 2019 |
  RamblingBookNerd | Jun 12, 2019 |
Look, this book is bad. I have no excuse. ( )
  miri12 | May 31, 2019 |
I don’t think any book will ever be able to top The Truth About Forever as my favorite Sarah Dessen book of all time, but Once And For All has come much closer than any other book has in a LONG time. I absolutely loved this book, and I highly, highly recommend picking this up if you’re at all into YA reads. (But to be real, even if you don't normally read YA you should give this & all Sarah Dessen books a try.) ( )
1 vote carlie892 | Oct 10, 2018 |
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