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Keeping the Moon, by Sarah Dessen

February 3, 2014

Keeping the MoonColie and her mom used to be fat, but now her mother is fitness queen Kiki Sparks—no longer laid-back, slightly chunky Katherine Sparks. Now that Kiki has to spend time to Europe, Colie’s summer has gone from okay to absolutely devastating. She must journey to her Aunt Mira’s town and spend two months doing God-knows-what. Then she meets Norman, but she doesn’t fall for the guy and her summer doesn’t turn amazing right away. Her time consists of, well, nothing really, until the local diner needs her help during the lunch rush, and she lands herself a job. In her past, Colie was always followed by fat jokes or by people calling her names. Finally she has friends who don’t know her reputation and who haven’t heard the rumors. She hopes that this will be enough to change her life.

I rated this book a whopping ten—not just because the plot was exciting, but also because it was unique. It wasn’t simply about an overweight girl who has been teased all her life; it was about a girl whose confidence had been shattered and how her new friends help her regain that important part of her personality.

The book wasn’t just plot-driven, nor was it only character-driven. It gave me enough of plot and character development so that it felt like I actually knew the people and could still follow an overall storyline. This book hooked me so tight that I read it in a matter of hours.  Not only was the plot of the novel addicting, the end was more than satisfying. I had just enough backstory to have it not be a jolt, but it was still a surprise—a nice one.

The theme wasn’t obvious until I went back and really thought about the last few chapters. What I drew out centered around the importance of self-respect and confidence.  Because Colie was overweight and fat jokes were thrown at her, her self-respect finally dwindled to almost nothing. It took building new relationships for her to rediscover the confidence she had lost.

If you want a story with characters that you learn to love—characters whose emotions echo your own—Keeping the Moon is the novel for you. This is the book that will make you cry out of both sadness and laughter.


Viking Press, 228 pages

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