Friday, August 4, 2017

Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Summary from Goodreads:
As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen's thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that's why she's cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm's length. But Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged, now that he's met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
Oh, Sarah Dessen, I have missed you. Reading her books always feels like such a treat. Like, magically traveling to Paris for a few moments just to eat the perfect croissant. I’m not saying her book is a perfect croissant or that it comes remotely close to Paris geographically; I’m saying reading her books makes for the perfect little moments of me time. Such a treat.
I read this book in less than 24 hours. I ate it up. It’s not my favorite Sarah Dessen novel, but it’s up there. It’s just what I needed at the right time. I needed something good that would help me unwind from an insanely busy week, and a super fun and busy weekend. This was it.
I’ve read reviews that say this one is darker than other Dessen novels. Yes, there is some dark stuff in here, but…have these reviewers read her other books? There’s always something a little dark or intense there: divorce, grief, scandal, family drama, etc. Okay, this one is a little more current with its darkness –there is a school shooting to be blamed for Louna’s grief. But, I didn’t think it was any darker than the Dessen book about the abusive relationship.
I thought this element gave the story some interesting depth. And I certainly know that Dessen must have experiencedd some serious grief in her time because she writes it so well, in a way I could seriously relate to (with my grief over the loss of my dad). Her writing, in general, seems to only improve with each book. She knows how to write teen girls so well. She knows how to get into their heads and sometimes it just feels like she must be in my head too.
I liked the side characters. I loved Louna’s interesting life and family. Teen wedding planners was not something I ever thought I’d get a chance to read. And I love how cynical it makes the main character. I loved every scene that took place at a wedding. All the time between weddings, I kept hoping for more. It was like an inside look at a super great reality show –but written exceptionally well.
I wasn’t a humongous fan of the love interest. He seemed a bit much. I do like hate-to-friendship-to-love stories a lot. But, he seemed kinda terrible –like lacking in general morals. He dated multiple girls at once and didn’t treat girls all too well. Why am I to assume he’ll treat Louna better? Does love change someone into a nicer human being? I do get that he’s charming and he and Louna have chemistry, but I was kind of hoping he’d become a little bit nicer or need to prove to everyone that he could be worth of Louna.
All in all though, I super enjoyed this one. I wish Dessen would write more frequently. Though, I guess if she did, it wouldn’t seem so much like a Parisian treat. All in all, I give this a 9/10.

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