Review: The Rest of the Story (Sarah Dessen)

The Rest of the Story
Author: Sarah Dessen
Narrator: Rebecca Soler
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Publisher: HarperAudio
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Synopsis:

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?


Do you want to know why I ALWAYS read (or listen to in this case) books written by Sarah Dessen? She really can do no wrong when it comes to writing an amazing young adult contemporary novel. That was proven once again with The Rest of the Story.

As with all Sarah Dessen’s books, The Rest of the Story is set in the summer. This time it’s Emma’s turn to discover who she is. Emma grew up with her dad and now deceased mom in Lakeside. She’s slightly uptight and always does what’s expected of her. She craves control.

Emma isn’t just Emma, though. She’s also Saylor. At least that’s what her mother’s family and friends who live in North Lake call her. This other persona is confusing to Emma because she doesn’t remember being Saylor or the people who think of her this way. When Emma suddenly returns to North Lake, she has to figure out not only what being Emma and Saylor means.

I loved everything about this book. I loved how the past and present collided. It was fun to go along with Emma on her journey to find out more about her mother’s past as well as her own. The mystery of it all was so interesting. The family connections and friendships Emma made along the way were so important and heartwarming. I loved her new-found relationship with Mimi and her cousins. I especially adored Emma’s friendship with Roo. There was such an ease to it. I could imagine them being connected at the hip as young children. I even loved the drama Emma had to go through with her dad. It was such a great coming of age story. I highly recommend it.

27 thoughts on “Review: The Rest of the Story (Sarah Dessen)

  1. Wonderful review, Deanna. I like issue-based YAs and this one sounds perfect and with a little of mystery too. Will be on the lookout for a copy.

  2. I agree, Dessen can do no wrong. I loved Emma’s lake family. They were so unapologetically real, and so was their love and loyalty. They had this way of accepting each other, flaws and all, and family was something that was really important to them. I thought she had two great grandmas too. Definitely another great edition to Dessen’s catalog.

  3. I am so thrilled that you enjoyed this one so much! Dessen is one of my favourites as well and I look forward to reading this soon.Maybe I will even give the audio version a try! 🙂

    • YOU HAVEN’T?!?! I think she would be right up your alley! I think you’re going to love her writing. I can’t wait for you to read this one!
      Thank you!

    • Thank you! Yes, I think you should give Sarah Dessen a shot when you’re in the mood for a YA contemporary.

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