The Rest of the Story
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?

The Rest of the Story Details

TitleThe Rest of the Story
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJun 4th, 2019
PublisherBalzer + Bray
ISBN-139780062933621
Rating
GenreYoung Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Fiction, Young Adult Contemporary, Realistic Fiction, Teen, Family, Audiobook, Young Adult Romance

The Rest of the Story Review

  • destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]
    January 1, 1970
    If you'll all excuse me, I'll be over here, being Sarah Dessen trash for my whole entire life
  • Kristen
    January 1, 1970
    The Queen of YA contemporaries has a new book coming out? You bet I'm gonna read it. :)
  • Arlene
    January 1, 1970
    You can make life, or life can make you…The Rest of the Story, by Sarah Dessen, will likely land as one of my favorite reads this year. That’s a bold statement because we haven’t even hit the mid-year mark, and I’ve read over 50 books. However, as my reading buddies can attest to, it hasn’t been a good year. So, thank you Dessen for coming out with a story I can fall right into and feel like I’m walking alongside family and friends. This is such a great book because Dessen does what she’s best a You can make life, or life can make you…The Rest of the Story, by Sarah Dessen, will likely land as one of my favorite reads this year. That’s a bold statement because we haven’t even hit the mid-year mark, and I’ve read over 50 books. However, as my reading buddies can attest to, it hasn’t been a good year. So, thank you Dessen for coming out with a story I can fall right into and feel like I’m walking alongside family and friends. This is such a great book because Dessen does what she’s best at; she creates a novel with relatable characters, dealing with topical situations, exposing their flaws and insecurities, and demonstrating their struggles with family, friends and life in general.Emma Saylor is on her way to spend a few weeks in North Lake with her estranged family. After the death of her mom, Emma hasn’t been around to see her maternal grandmother, aunt or cousins in many years. During her time there, she becomes reacquainted with Jack, Bailey, Roo and Trinity. The relationships are strained at first because of her time away and the fact that her father, who originally comes from Lake North, which is the affluent side of town, have highlighted how different she is and how sheltered her father has kept her from her mother’s past and family. During her time at North Lake, she uncovers her history and confronts her father with her decision to stay connected with her North Lake family and friends. Emma Saylor is definitely one of Dessen’s more mature and relatable characters. She is extremely loyal to her paternal grandmother and father, as well as, her new step-mom. I loved the way she handled stressful and new situations, especially because there was an under-current of some of her struggles with anxiety. Emma had a quiet strength about her that I loved so much. There were so many secondary characters that added a meaningful layer of how loyalty, love and support runs deep and is the key to what makes solid friendships and a strong family. Overall, I have to say that I highly recommend The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen, especially if you’re struggling to find a novel with meaning, depth and soul. This one was a hit in my opinion.
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  • Kath
    January 1, 1970
    Probably more of a 4 star book overall but I had to bump it up to 5 because it made me so damn happy while I was reading it.Listen, Sarah Dessen is the queen of teen for a reason - she writes solid books. I've probably read all of them and while I didn't love all of them, I at least enjoyed them while I was reading.But this one.I don't think I've liked a Sarah Dessen book this much since I read Lock & Key for the first time. And it wasn't just because Emma had major anxiety associated with d Probably more of a 4 star book overall but I had to bump it up to 5 because it made me so damn happy while I was reading it.Listen, Sarah Dessen is the queen of teen for a reason - she writes solid books. I've probably read all of them and while I didn't love all of them, I at least enjoyed them while I was reading.But this one.I don't think I've liked a Sarah Dessen book this much since I read Lock & Key for the first time. And it wasn't just because Emma had major anxiety associated with driving and that is the most #relatable thing I've ever read. Everything was just so well paced and crafted, the characters were so rich and vibrant and I honestly couldn't pick a favourite out of the bunch no matter how hard you pressed me (except that its definitely Gordon). It was a quintessential Sarah Dessen summer romance slash characters discovering themselves while on a lake book and it just checked all my boxes.The verdict is: I will be Sarah Dessen trash until the day I die, thanks for coming to my ted talk
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  • ellie
    January 1, 1970
    the day sarah dessen writes a gay book, my heart will finally be satisfied
  • Olivia & Lori (The Candid Cover)
    January 1, 1970
    I don’t think that I have ever read a Dessen that I didn’t enjoy. Her books are like food for me. Definitely perfect for fans of contemporary YA fiction. I think that The Rest of the Story is going to tug at some heart strings.
  • The Nerd Daily
    January 1, 1970
    Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Teralyn MitchellI’ve been a big fan of Sarah Dessen for years now so I was happy that I got the chance to read The Rest of the Story and it was the perfect summer read. It takes place on a lake in the summer, surrounded by family. It’s a coming-of-age story for Emma Saylor who has always been neurotic and cautions about everything and it seemed to escalate after her mother died. She never knew her mother’s side of the family since she hadn’t see Originally published on The Nerd Daily | Review by Teralyn MitchellI’ve been a big fan of Sarah Dessen for years now so I was happy that I got the chance to read The Rest of the Story and it was the perfect summer read. It takes place on a lake in the summer, surrounded by family. It’s a coming-of-age story for Emma Saylor who has always been neurotic and cautions about everything and it seemed to escalate after her mother died. She never knew her mother’s side of the family since she hadn’t seen them since she visited for a week when she was four years old. When Emma’s summer plans fall through, she is whisked back to North Lake. It’s awkward and Emma feels out of place at first since it seems all of them know of her but she knows nothing about them. But slowly as the days turn into weeks, Emma starts to relax. She spends her time at her grandmother’s helping clean the motel rooms, hanging with her cousins, getting to know the guy who was her best friend when she was a kid, Roo, and learning about her mother and the past that’s been closed off to her all these years. Emma came into her own as the story progressed and by the end, she had gotten the rest of the story and had her family back.Emma Saylor was wonderfully awkward and neurotic. I liked how she’d say what she thought most of the time. Her relationship with her dad, Nana, and Tracy, her stepmother, was good. It was nice that she did not have any problems with her father remarrying. She cared for her family and friends. She was such a strong character that I could relate to. I loved Roo as well. He was sweet, considerate, and funny. I thought he and Emma were perfect together and their chemistry was immediate and I loved seeing those two together. Those scenes were some of my favorite along with Emma and Trinity. Trinity could be harsh and complained so much about being pregnant. You could not say anything around her in the complaint without her bringing up the fact that she was a house or had been pregnant for a million years. She cracked me up and her honesty was refreshing. This book had some strong characters—even the side characters, because there was nothing minor about them—and an amazing plot. Bailey was sometimes hard to like because of her obsession with Lake North, the wealthier half of the community, and the people there. She was willing to give a jerk the time of day just because of where he came from but not someone who was clearly into her. Throughout I wanted her to snap out of it because besides that she was a strong character who became good friends with Emma. I adored Gordon, Mimi, Oxford, Jack, Nana, Tracy, Matthew, Ryan, Bridget, April, Taylor, and Vincent. The characters made this story feel so real and I loved the family dynamic.I come from a big, close-knit family so it’s always nice to see this dynamic in stories. Dessen did a good job of showing how chaotic being in a big family could be. I loved the morning scenes when everyone was waking up and getting ready for work and the day. I could relate to those scenes perfectly. This story delved into more than just family but the importance of knowing where you came from. Emma grew up not knowing much about North Lake, her mother’s family, or really her mother’s childhood. Once she made it to North Lake, stories started coming out that helped Emma understand her mother and her mother’s addictions more. By knowing her past and getting to know her family better, Emma was able to feel more comfortable in her own skin and her quirks weren’t as pronounced. She felt better about herself and seeing her journey to get the rest of the story was inspiring and I loved that aspect of this story.The Rest of the Story was an endearing story and the perfect read to kick off summer. It was a powerful story about a girl who needed to learn the rest of her story to find out where she belonged. This was another top read for me this year and really pulls on the heartstrings!
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  • Jen Ryland
    January 1, 1970
    Aw, loved this. Classic Dessen featuring some of her most beloved and familiar themes and a new setting - if you want my complete break-down, check out my review here on Jen Ryland Reviews!Thanks to the publisher for providing an advance copy for review!Read more of my reviews on JenRyland.com! Check out my Bookstagram!
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  • Zemira (Kylo Ren fangirl) Warner
    January 1, 1970
    It's always a good idea to read one of Sarah Dessen's books. They always bring a smile to my face and make me feel like everything will be okay.One of the things Dessen excels in is writing about different family dynamics. I kind of wish we got to find out more about the family members because I was more invested into that storyline. Romance was...you know...predictable.
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  • Shannon (leaninglights)
    January 1, 1970
    This was really good and perfect for summer. In the vain of past Dessen books, this one did not disappoint! I’d give it a 4.5!
  • Laura
    January 1, 1970
    3.5 StarsFor me, Sarah Dessen is synonymous with summer. The woman showcases the season on the pages of her books perfectly. And I’m not just talking about the sun, sand, and water. It’s more than that. A Dessen read captures that bright, epic feeling of freedom summer can bring. The feeling that anything can happen. Plus the changes it brings. Summer can mean changes in scenery, routine, and people that surround us every day. Summer can change everything!Emma Saylor lost her mother as a child, 3.5 StarsFor me, Sarah Dessen is synonymous with summer. The woman showcases the season on the pages of her books perfectly. And I’m not just talking about the sun, sand, and water. It’s more than that. A Dessen read captures that bright, epic feeling of freedom summer can bring. The feeling that anything can happen. Plus the changes it brings. Summer can mean changes in scenery, routine, and people that surround us every day. Summer can change everything!Emma Saylor lost her mother as a child, so there is so much she doesn’t know about her life. Like what was she like growing up? Or what did she dream about? But a twist of fate brings Emma face to face with her past. She’s spending a few weeks with her mom’s side of the family in North Lake, the one place she does remember her mom talking about in stories and memories. A place that might just hold the rest of her mom’s story. Can Emma’s estranged grandmother and cousins help her find the missing pieces of her mother?“Part of grieving is letting go of the past. But how can you let go if you never knew it in the first place?”I have to start with North Lake itself. This place, this town, this motel will live on in my book memories for quite some time. Emma’s grandmother runs a motel right on the lake and boy-o-boy does it all come to life. The summer is their busy time, so things move pretty fast. Cleaning rooms, checking people in and out, daily upkeep, and more. I can see this motel. It jumps off the pages with color and life. Life is in these pages with all its ups and downs actually. From awkwardness to comfort and misunderstanding to connection. You’ll see all of that in the way this family moves through the summer. Haha…The smell of toast will make me think of this book forever. Most days everyone is running from one job to the next, but the love shines through too. Emma finds a place in the chaos and love. And so did I! I loved spending time here.This book isn’t perfect. Very few are actually. There were a lot of characters—maybe too many. Some got lost in the shuffle and others deserved more time and development (like Jack). And the story telling was choppy at times. Dessen would pull back all of a sudden and tell us an event or sequence out of order—like Emma was remembering it. But it was something that just happened. Why break up the narrative like that? The style pulled me right of the flow of the story a few times. And I have one “What the hell?” (view spoiler)[ The baby! We didn’t get to meet Trinity’s baby or man. Really??!! (hide spoiler)]. None of that changes the fact that I rooted and hoped and felt for Emma every step of the way though.And before I go, I have to mention the boy. :) Cute boys are a Dessen staple and skill. A skill I adore! Roo is adorable. You’ll see his goodness and big heart in everything he does—from dress shopping to photo books. I mean he had me at the cute gap in his smile, but his fear of clowns sealed the deal. The boy speaks the truth on clowns! :D Roo and Emma will make you smile for sure. I’m thrilled to pieces that my 2019 summer started with a Sarah Dessen world. It just wouldn’t feel like summer without her.Recommended.
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  • Kelly
    January 1, 1970
    Definitely among my favorite of Dessen's books. It is a little different in the sense it feels especially personal and explores life outside of one's previously-understood sense of self and place in the world. Emma Saylor's mother died of an opioid overdose and she's lived with her father since she was young. When her dad remarries and plans for Emma to stay with her best friend during his honeymoon falls through, she stays with the grandmother from her mother's side she only has ever met once. Definitely among my favorite of Dessen's books. It is a little different in the sense it feels especially personal and explores life outside of one's previously-understood sense of self and place in the world. Emma Saylor's mother died of an opioid overdose and she's lived with her father since she was young. When her dad remarries and plans for Emma to stay with her best friend during his honeymoon falls through, she stays with the grandmother from her mother's side she only has ever met once. . . and the host of cousins and other relatives she doesn't remember from their one meeting when she was very young. The story looks at the life her mother lead that lead to Emma being who she is and where she is. One of the things that really resonated with me was Dessen's depiction of anxiety in Emma. She's not an overly-anxious person, but her anxiety shows up in ways where she has to give up control of a desired outcome. Namely, she is terrified of traveling and driving -- the second being the thing that really worked well with the story and, I think, is something we don't see enough of in fiction but which is a reality in the teen world. This book isn't set in Colby or Lakeview, but it is set in a new community (pair of communities, really) and explores class issues. Emma is firmly middle class while her mother's side of the family is working class, and the ways she learns how to fit in, as well as the ways she'll never really fit in, is done thoughtfully and realistically. There are some fun Dessen-world treats throughout, including Spinnerbait and more. Dessen knows how to worldbuild in contemporary YA, and this is no exception. It was like curling up under the well-worn and always comfortable blanket.
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  • Christina (Confessions of a Book Addict)
    January 1, 1970
    Emma Saylor hasn't lived an easy life by any means despite the fact that she lives in a nice house in a good neighborhood and has many friends. She lost her mother to addiction and her father has been busy with his career as a dentist. Also, her Nana has helped raise her, but Emma still suffers from anxiety. Her father has remarried and is planning on taking a honeymoon this summer. Emma is ok with this as she will be staying at her best friend's house. But things happen and plans change and now Emma Saylor hasn't lived an easy life by any means despite the fact that she lives in a nice house in a good neighborhood and has many friends. She lost her mother to addiction and her father has been busy with his career as a dentist. Also, her Nana has helped raise her, but Emma still suffers from anxiety. Her father has remarried and is planning on taking a honeymoon this summer. Emma is ok with this as she will be staying at her best friend's house. But things happen and plans change and now Emma finds herself with no place to go during her dad's honeymoon. Her Nana suggests she stay with her mother's family who lives in a resort town by North Lake. Emma hasn't been back there since she was four years old, so this would give her an opportunity to reconnect with family, but it's, well, awkward. Her mother's family run a motel by the lake and she has a ton of cousins, but she hasn't connected with them in years. So, Emma agrees to go, because she doesn't want to be the reason her father can't go on a honeymoon. While she is there, Emma learns more about her past, her mother, and finds herself loving a family she never knew she had. Sarah Dessen's The Rest of the Story tackles that one important summer in a teenager's life. It's going down as one of my favorite Dessen novels.Read the rest of my review here: http://www.confessionsofabookaddict.c...
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  • Christy Rogers
    January 1, 1970
    Dear Sarah Dessen,For the last twelve years you have held my heart in your hands. You've broken it, and mended it again with the stories you weave together. Thank you for introducing me to Saylor and Roo, the pair whose lives were always intertwined and destined to be. If you're looking for the perfect summer love pick this book up, get a glass of sweet tea ready, and settle yourself in your favorite porch chair.
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  • Alexa
    January 1, 1970
    😍😍😍😍😍😍 I love this book so much!! I love Sarah Dessen’s books and this one is truly amazing. I immediately fell in love with it. One of the reasons I love Dessen’s stories so much is that in each story there’s real-life issues and personal struggles that everyone can relate to...Review: http://bit.ly/2EZ7DlI
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  • Rahma Abdelrahman
    January 1, 1970
    June 15, 2019That was the most stressful Sarah Dessen ending I’ve read. 4.5 stars - still unsure whether to round it up or down. RTC. June 4, 2019HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!!! Can’t wait to start reading tomorrow!! 🐧June 2, 2019You guys, two weeks from now I’ll be meeting my favourite author!!!Never met any author before or been to a book signing. I’m SO EXCITED!!!!! 😃😃March 7, 2019Cover revealI’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of this cover at all. It’s rather dull. But then again, maybe I simply had June 15, 2019That was the most stressful Sarah Dessen ending I’ve read. 4.5 stars - still unsure whether to round it up or down. RTC. June 4, 2019HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!!!! Can’t wait to start reading tomorrow!! 🐧June 2, 2019You guys, two weeks from now I’ll be meeting my favourite author!!!Never met any author before or been to a book signing. I’m SO EXCITED!!!!! 😃😃March 7, 2019Cover revealI’ll be honest, I’m not a big fan of this cover at all. It’s rather dull. But then again, maybe I simply had high expectations because Sarah Dessen is my favourite author. But of course that doesn’t affect my decision to read this book. I know I’ll love it! I preordered it the day it was announced and I’m really HYPED for June! Three more months to go...! January 24, 2019 “I WANT IT NOW! I WANT IT NOW!” (in the words of Matthew Bellamy from Muse)
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  • Jenny - TotallybookedBlog
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 Stars “If life is a journey, wouldn’t you rather be the person behind the wheel than the one just being carried along?” >From the minute we started reading The Rest of the Story we were immediately transported back in time. It’s been some years, pre blog days, since we’ve lived between the pages of a Sarah Dessen book and boy, we’ve missed her. This book felt like coming home, wrapping ourselves up in the sweet, relatable characters synonymous with Sarah Dessen’s stories.The Rest of the 4.5 Stars “If life is a journey, wouldn’t you rather be the person behind the wheel than the one just being carried along?” >From the minute we started reading The Rest of the Story we were immediately transported back in time. It’s been some years, pre blog days, since we’ve lived between the pages of a Sarah Dessen book and boy, we’ve missed her. This book felt like coming home, wrapping ourselves up in the sweet, relatable characters synonymous with Sarah Dessen’s stories.The Rest of the Story follows seventeen-year-old Emma Saylor Payne as she embarks on a summer journey of self-discovery, friendship, family loyalty and love, and it’s a story we embraced wholeheartedly. What starts out as a quick visit to her Mothers family, soon becomes a step back in time, a family history lesson and a gathering of precious moments to be captured and treasured. “I guess everyone’s afraid of something.” Following some unexpected circumstances, Emma (Saylor) Payne goes to stay with her Nana Mimi in North Lake while her Dad and stepmother Tracey, head to Greece on their honeymoon. Mimi is her Nan from her Mum Waverly’s side who passed away five years earlier. However, Emma hasn’t been to North Lake since she was four, she doesn’t know her vast family who lives there and has no recollection of her childhood visit, so she’s somewhat hesitant to return.‘Part of grieving is letting go of the past. But how can you let go if you never knew it in the first place?’Emma doesn’t know her Mum’s side of the family, as Waverly was a troubled young woman with a drug and alcohol problem – it soon becomes apparent upon arriving in North Lake that Emma didn’t really know her Mum either, and her stay a moment of forming friendships, discovering her Mum, connecting with her family and finding herself.‘You can make your life, or life can make you. Was it really that simple of a choice?’The romance factor is very subtle and sweet as Emma befriends Christopher Price (Roo), whose father was best friends with the young, troubled and carefree Waverly and passed away before he was born. Roo knows the stories of Emma’s past as do her cousins and Aunty, and it was beautiful watching each character bring Emma’s history together like adding pieces of a puzzle.There was much to love about this story and it’s something Sarah Dessen does extremely well. This author takes her time allowing the reader to become a part of the story and connect with the characters. The core of this story is family and friendship in all it’s complicated, emotional and meaningful glory.Now available to purchase belowAmazon USAmazon UKCome and say hi, at:✲ TotallyBookedBlog✲ TBB on Facebook✲ TBB on Instagram✲ TBB on Twitter✲ TBB on Pinterest
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  • Taylor Knight
    January 1, 1970
    Of all the Sarah Dessen books I’ve loved and read over and over, The Rest of The Story has become my new favorite.Emma’s summer takes an unexpected turn when she ends up with her estranged family from her mother’s side, who has since passed away. Emma learns how to cope with her anxieties, reconnect with family, and discover herself along the way.I fell right into this book and it was love at first page. Dessen is a master at family relationships in books and The Rest of the Story is no exceptio Of all the Sarah Dessen books I’ve loved and read over and over, The Rest of The Story has become my new favorite.Emma’s summer takes an unexpected turn when she ends up with her estranged family from her mother’s side, who has since passed away. Emma learns how to cope with her anxieties, reconnect with family, and discover herself along the way.I fell right into this book and it was love at first page. Dessen is a master at family relationships in books and The Rest of the Story is no exception. As rare as it is to find a YA book that includes family dynamics, finding such a well written one is even more rare. Dessen expertly explores family bonds, fills this book with so much heart, and character growth.
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  • Ginger at GReadsBooks.com
    January 1, 1970
    I think I just found my new favorite Dessen read. All the ingredients of a summer YA filled with so much heart are simmering throughout this novel. I found myself wanting to linger & savor it in parts. It’s definitely a sigh-worthy book.
  • Melissa
    January 1, 1970
    I used to read all of Dessen's books. I was hooked for years then gave them a break and picked this one up to see if I still liked them. Dessen has a way of writing YA fiction that I really like. It is true to life without getting to gritty or crude. There is swearing and some great humor but it is never anything I wouldn't read my grandma too. This is a great coming of age story that I enjoyed. I like her characters. She really captures the teen years and takes me right back to High School. Thi I used to read all of Dessen's books. I was hooked for years then gave them a break and picked this one up to see if I still liked them. Dessen has a way of writing YA fiction that I really like. It is true to life without getting to gritty or crude. There is swearing and some great humor but it is never anything I wouldn't read my grandma too. This is a great coming of age story that I enjoyed. I like her characters. She really captures the teen years and takes me right back to High School. This book does have some swearing, a handful sprinkled through. There is talk of pregnancy before marriage, lesbian relationship, drugs, Lots of alcohol use and death is talked about.
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  • Jennifer
    January 1, 1970
    This book hit almost all of my triggers. It still gets five stars. RTC.
  • Marie Rose
    January 1, 1970
    update after reading: yayyy so happy I read this I loved it so much!! It took me a while to get into this book because I was busy and stuff but once I got into it I read this in like two days! I had so much fun reading this book and learning and about this lake setting and the characters we got to meet. I loved roo!! And I loved all of saylor’s family. I now want to live at the lake and work there during the summer. Such a cosy book. The conflict in this felt very realistic too. I thought the di update after reading: yayyy so happy I read this I loved it so much!! It took me a while to get into this book because I was busy and stuff but once I got into it I read this in like two days! I had so much fun reading this book and learning and about this lake setting and the characters we got to meet. I loved roo!! And I loved all of saylor’s family. I now want to live at the lake and work there during the summer. Such a cosy book. The conflict in this felt very realistic too. I thought the discussion of class was pretty well done and incorporated in a realistic but thoughtful way - we saw both sides. Strict parenting was done really well where we understood both sides of the story - we were rooting for both saylor and her dad to find a middle ground. I also found the main character to be very relatable so I enjoyed reading from her perspective. Loved the reference from this lullaby (spinderbait!) My thoughts are really general for this book but I don’t really have much I didn’t like about it. There were a lot of characters so it was hard to keep track for everyone/ make sure they were well developed (this led to some characters sticking more than others). And I will also say that the narrative did jump around a lot with timelines. Something would happen and then we would go back a week to another scene, etc. This is part of sarah dessen’s style of the character being reflective and introspective but there were quite a few times the order of events confused me. If I have more specific details I’ll add it to this review later just know this is up there with some of my fav sarah dessen books!! Maybe this is a 4.5 stars but I’m rounding up to a 5 just because this made me so happy :) Before reading: IM SO EXCITED TO READ THIS WOOHOOO
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  • Dayla
    January 1, 1970
    Review first appeared on my blog as part of my Music Mondays feature here. I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Sarah Dessen is one of the contemporary queens of Young Adult, so whenever she releases a new book it feels almost like an event. But with this excitement of a new release, comes the ever-present worry of “will this book live up to my expectations?” Granted, this happens with many books, but Sarah Dessen publishes a book about every two to three years, so th Review first appeared on my blog as part of my Music Mondays feature here. I received a copy via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Sarah Dessen is one of the contemporary queens of Young Adult, so whenever she releases a new book it feels almost like an event. But with this excitement of a new release, comes the ever-present worry of “will this book live up to my expectations?” Granted, this happens with many books, but Sarah Dessen publishes a book about every two to three years, so there’s a lot riding on her new releases. The Rest of the Story not only lived up to my expectations, but it helped get me out of my weird slump. This was a perfect example of a contemporary summer read and I loved it. When Emma Saylor’s plans fall through after her dad’s wedding, she decides to stay with her maternal grandmother and a family she hardly knows. Emma’s mother’s past has always been a mystery–at least, beyond the stories she told her when she was a child. Her summer is now full of a story she wants to learn and questions she wants answered. Along with a crew of cousins she didn’t remember, new friends she never expected, and situations she always tried to avoid in the past, Emma must let her controlled and seemingly perfect life loosen up so she can find not just her mom’s story, but also her own. One of the things that Dessen has always been good with is her character development and how the title of the book plays into the storyline. Emma’s growth from surety to insecurity, to a new kind of surety was great to watch because we got to learn about her life along with her. Like her, we are strangers to this summer beach motel and somewhat new family members. We see her relationships grow into more dimensional ones, to the point where we actually start empathizing with the characters that we didn’t know before Emma met them. One of the relationships that most resonated with me, however, was the one Emma had with her cousin, Bailey. Growing up, I was Emma in a sense (not financially) because I used to visit my family down in Cuba every summer for the whole summer. My cousin, who was my age, was like Bailey because she and I were always a close unit in our adventures. Even during the summers where we would change the most, we always knew that cousins came first. Emma’s relationship with Bailey was probably one of the ones that changed who she once was because she learns from Bailey what it means to be family, even if it’s been a long time since you last saw each other. And in reading The Rest of the Story, I saw myself in many aspects of Emma’s story. The summers adventuring, learning about your family, the disparity in upbringings, and the idea that because you’re the cousin coming from somewhere else, you are the privileged visitor. Perhaps this is one of the main reasons why this book sat so well with me–it was a nostalgia-ridden read. Another interesting topic that Dessen brings up is the meaning behind a name. The fact that Emma has two names is a theme that we see recurring throughout the novel and how it becomes a tool in distinguishing who Emma is in every scene. The subtle use of this theme made me more aware of where the story was going and how Emma was changing.Dessen has always tackled topics regarding family dynamics in her novels. The Rest of the Story is no different. Emma’s relationship with her dad seems pretty straightforward until it isn’t and we start to see the bumps in the road. Emma’s mom, though an addict, holds a special place in Emma’s heart as a storyteller weaving these amazing stories from her childhood. But it isn’t until Emma visits her mom’s family that she learns that even those stories aren’t as simple as she once thought. Her relationship with her cousins grows steadily throughout the book, giving her a security she never thought she lacked until that summer. There’s a lot to dissect in the familial dynamics in this book, but a lot of the topics would be spoilery, so, go read the book. LOL.Finally, I want to mention Emma’s friendship with Roo. Despite the obvious potential that we, the readers, see in their pairing, we have to let Emma grow into the kind of person who feels comfortable enough to be with Roo. First, Emma needs to navigate her history before she can focus on her present. But like many Dessen novels, I love how she lets the story between Roo and Emma progress. She lets them learn the importance of their friendship and their history, before contemplating anything more between them.The only small thing I would really complain about if asked is the timeline. There were a lot of moments where instead of telling the story in a linear way, we get a lot of flashbacks to only the day before, or even a few hours before. I would have preferred if the story had been linear rather than written in this way.I would recommend this book a million times over to anyone looking for a cute summer contemporary read. Reading this book is like those summers where you would go to a beach town, or a resort and experience new things you never thought you would. It’s like going down to the beach in the morning by yourself and letting things fall where they may. Nostalgia had me loving this book, but the relationships and character growth will have readers craving more Sarah Dessen novels. This is a classic Sarah Dessen novel that must be read!Happy reading!
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  • Natalie
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC courtesy of the publisher via Edelweiss.For me, Sarah Dessen is the reading equivalent of comfort food. This book encapsulated all that I love about the rest of her books. There were great characters, strong family relationships, a wonderful setting, and realistic friendships.
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  • Brooke H (Semi-Hiatus due to summer activities)
    January 1, 1970
    I need this book in my life ASAPso I can complete my Sarah Dessen collection once again 👌🏻
  • Bee (Vellichorbee)
    January 1, 1970
    I received an ARC of this one at the Sydney Writer's Festival.This was my first Sarah Dessen book. As someone who isn't a huge reader of contemporary as a genre, I wasn't sure if I would love this one but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a light summer read with a sweet romance and enough family drama to keep things interesting. As adorable as the romance was (and trust me it was) I loved that this book was more about Emma Saylor and her figuring out who she was and what she wanted the rest of he I received an ARC of this one at the Sydney Writer's Festival.This was my first Sarah Dessen book. As someone who isn't a huge reader of contemporary as a genre, I wasn't sure if I would love this one but I thoroughly enjoyed it! It was a light summer read with a sweet romance and enough family drama to keep things interesting. As adorable as the romance was (and trust me it was) I loved that this book was more about Emma Saylor and her figuring out who she was and what she wanted the rest of her story (read: life) to look like. I like that she was such a three-dimensional character with her odd sense of humour and her struggles with anxiety.Sarah Dessen has done an incredible job in this novel of capturing the teenage experience and the inevitable complications of extended family. Reading about Emma Saylor and her summer exploits with her cousins really reminded me of some of my own childhood memories. Definitely a must read for anyone who likes the occasional light summer read!
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  • Christy LoveOfBooks
    January 1, 1970
    Loved it! RTC.
  • Kristin
    January 1, 1970
    I truly love everything Sarah Dessen writes, but this book is special. It’s everything I love about a YA story in one. The summer setting...the family dynamic...the character growth...I love interest. Gah. I love love love this book. I might even say it’s my favorite Sarah Dessen one?? (and I’ve read ALL her books so that’s saying something)
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  • Lyndsay
    January 1, 1970
    Sarah Dessen is an author that brings me such nostalgia. I've been reading her books since I was in junior high. I think I've read all but maybe 2 or 3 of her books, so I'm very well-versed in her stories. And I went into this one with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Excitement because "Hey, it's a new Sarah Dessen book!" But trepidation because I have not really loved her last couple of releases. I was very disappointed with Saint Anything and I thought Once and For All was just okay. S Sarah Dessen is an author that brings me such nostalgia. I've been reading her books since I was in junior high. I think I've read all but maybe 2 or 3 of her books, so I'm very well-versed in her stories. And I went into this one with equal parts excitement and trepidation. Excitement because "Hey, it's a new Sarah Dessen book!" But trepidation because I have not really loved her last couple of releases. I was very disappointed with Saint Anything and I thought Once and For All was just okay. So I was nervous going into this new story. But I actually ended up really liking it.So this book is about a girl named Emma who goes to stay with her estranged grandmother for a few weeks during the summer while her father and his new wife go on their honeymoon. She hasn't had much contact with her deceased mother's side of the family since she was a little girl so when she arrives, she's shocked to learn that she has this whole other side of her family that know about her but she knows nothing about them. Over the course of a few weeks, she becomes close with the people she's getting to know all over again and she is reconciling who she is at home with her dad to who she is at the lake with her mom's family. Also there's a boy that used to be her best friend when she was little and they reconnect and there might be a little summer romance.One of the main reasons that I loved this one so much more than her previous two books is that this is really a book about a girl finding herself, coming-of-age, and figuring out what kind of life she wants to have now that she's got this whole new world opened up to her. I really loved the strong family aspects of this story and I liked that the romance really took a backseat to the personal struggles that Emma is facing during the course of this story. To her dad, she's always been Emma. But to her mom and her mom's side of the family, she always went by her middle name, Saylor. So throughout the course of the story, she's figuring out which side of her she wants to emerge and be who she truly is.I loved that Emma got to know her cousins and they really formed a close bond. I grew up with a very strong relationship with all of my cousins because we're all so close in age and I can't imagine a world where they aren't a huge part of my life. So it felt very nice that Emma gets to form this bond with Trinity and Bailey and Gordon and Jack and she really mourns the years and the summers that they didn't get to spend together. I also did like the romance. Like I said, it takes a bit of a backseat to the overall story but it's definitely there throughout. I liked that it was slow-burn and was a real friends-to-lovers situation. I think the love interest, Roo, just sounds like the cutest, sweetest boy and I liked how their love story played out.Another thing I liked about this book is that Emma really takes her own life into her hands through the course of the story. At first, I found her to be a bit annoying because she was very passive in her own life, just letting her dad guide her all the time. I mean, I get it. Her mom was a struggling addict and her addiction eventually ended her life, so her dad has always had to be strong and protective of her. But I liked that Emma really came into her own during the course of the book and was able to stand up to her dad and take back some of the agency he hadn't allowed her. I still did get frustrated at times. But I always had to think about it from a parent's perspective as well. It's easy to sympathize with a main character. But taking into account the fact that they're a teenager really did sway my point of view on the story. I also liked that Emma really had to check her privilege several times throughout the story. Her dad is a dentist, so she's grown up pretty well-off. But when she gets to the lake, it shocks her to learn that her cousins aren't all necessarily going to college and they've had a harder time of it than she has. She really grew as a person as the book went on, and I really appreciated that.My only real problem with the book, and it's not really a problem so much as a personal preference. But I feel like this book did not have nearly enough diversity. Sarah Dessen has a formula and that's what she always writes. But it's 2019. There should be more than just straight, white characters. Where are our characters of color? Where are our LGBT characters? There was one point where she tried to throw in a character that is questioning their sexuality. But it wasn't explored very much and it was framed through the lens of the straight main character who should've known her friend liked girls. It felt very tokenistic and a little weird. I just think there should've been more diversity thrown in and the little bit that was shouldn't have felt so forced.Overall, I'm so glad that I finally liked a Sarah Dessen book again. She's an author that I'll never really be able to give up on because I do have such nostalgic feelings about her books. But it's hard when her last few books have really disappointed you. I'm glad that this one lived up to some of her older works for me and now I'm excited for whatever she's going to write next. If you're a fan of cute, summer, YA contemporaries, I'd definitely recommend this. If you like Sarah Dessen, you definitely need to read this one. It was just a refreshing story to kick off the summer for me and I'm really glad I read it.
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  • Kelly Hager
    January 1, 1970
    I'm a huge Sarah Dessen fan, and her books capture the feeling of summer to me. This one especially does; it takes place in a small town with a lake and is about all the things that Sarah's books are about: new friends, family, summer and people who surprise you. Emma never really spent much time with her mom's family, so this is an incredibly new experience for her. It's weird at first, but it's never the bad weird. It's more that these are people who she really should know but doesn't. And she I'm a huge Sarah Dessen fan, and her books capture the feeling of summer to me. This one especially does; it takes place in a small town with a lake and is about all the things that Sarah's books are about: new friends, family, summer and people who surprise you. Emma never really spent much time with her mom's family, so this is an incredibly new experience for her. It's weird at first, but it's never the bad weird. It's more that these are people who she really should know but doesn't. And she clicks with them fairly quickly (some faster than others, obviously). The most interesting thing is how quickly she starts to feel at home (even starting to go by "Saylor" there, the name that her mom calls her). There's a real tug of war between her life as Emma and her life as Saylor, but she eventually finds a balance.I really enjoyed this book and it feels like a return to old school Sarah Dessen. (Her last two books had protagonists who feel much older than they are. Emma does in some ways, too (probably due to having a dead parent and being an only child) but in others, she seems really young. I'm pretty sure I'm going to be binging some other Sarah Dessen novels soon. But, like all the others, this one is highly recommended.
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