When I got the notification for this Galley, my high school self just about screamed. High school self had read every Sarah Dessen book she could get her hands on, multiple times, in a rotating order. High school self and friends rated the dreamy-ness of all the love interests (Wes was our favorite, Dexter a close second) and mapped out which characters crossed over into other books. High school self even wrote an article for the school newspaper about Dessen’s books and it made the front page of the entertainment section for the May issue.
But let me get to the point.
Sarah Dessen’s writing has an almost magical quality to it that sucks you into the pages and pulls on your heartstrings and steals your time away, because before you know it, it’s four in the morning and you’re internally sobbing over characters that you just met. At least that’s how it was with Once and for All.
Once and for All is about love– not just romantic love, but first love, family love, broken love, all love in its many forms and functions. It’s also about weddings and bets, but I’ll get to that. Louna is our main character in this novel, she’s a smart, overly cautious, recent high school graduate, working at her mother’s wedding planning business for the summer. Being the daughter of a highly popular wedding planner, she’s seen weddings of all shapes, sizes, and meltdowns. As expected, Louna is cynical about love and marriage and happily ever after. *cue dramatic flashbacks to Louna’s first love*
Enter Ambrose. He’s an absolutely charming weirdo and I mean that in the nicest of ways. (I think he’s up there on that list with Wes and Dexter, now.) Abrose is a bit cocky and a lot rich, but as Louna’s counterpart, he loves to love (and by that I mean he’s a serial dater). After a bit of a rocky start, Louna and Ambrose develop a friendship and place an entertaining bet– but as to what, you’ll have to read and find out.
Dessen has tackled some serious topic in her other novels and Once and for All is no exception. Louna’s flashbacks, which alternate chapters with real time, build up to some heartbreaking truths that I won’t spoil, but Dessen is really on the nose with writing about the somber subject.
Once and for All nicely tells us Louna’s journey to self discovery and coming to terms with things that you cannot change. The cast of characters are fun to get to know and all add their own purpose to the story– shout out to Louna’s mom and William for the best duo and BFF Jilly for being all around awesome. The novel lives up to Dessen fan expectations and delivers a satisfying ending. High school self would be proud.
Once and for All comes out June 6, 2017.
I received a free e-ARC of Once and for All from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.