On My Bookshelf: Once And For All by Sarah Dessen

March 19, 2018

Once And For All by Sarah Dessen is just as charming as her other novels. And while the protagonist, Louna, is relatable for most teen girls, it was really the other characters in the novel that drew me in. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.
The basic plot from Amazon: Is it really better to have loved and lost? Louna's summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically. But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged now that he's met the one he really wants. Maybe Louna's second chance is standing right in front of her.

Sarah Dessen’s many fans will adore this latest novel, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story with humor, romance, and an ending that is so much more than happily-ever-after.

Why I liked it: I was a huge Sarah Dessen novels as a teenage girl, so I approached reading Once And For All with caution. Would I still love her books, or as an adult reader would I find them contrived? I am happy to report I found this new novel just as charming as I remember her others to be. Louna, the protagonist, is similar to all of Dessen's female leads in that she is extremely relatable. Dessen's protagonists are never the "it" girl, never the most popular or beautiful girl at school. As a teenage girl, it was easy to see myself in Dessen's characters. Also similar to Dessen's other novels, is the love story at the center of it and a mostly happily ever ending.
Once And For All by Sarah Dessen is just as charming as her other novels. And while the protagonist, Louna, is relatable for most teen girls, it was really the other characters in the novel that drew me in. Read on for more of my review and ideas for classroom application.

While Louana was relatable, it was really the other characters in the novel that drew me in. Her mother, a hippie turned wedding planner, and her gay business partner, William, are a dynamic duo. Equally endearing are Ambrose, the confident, yet bumbling and kind-hearted young man who eventually wins Louna over and Louna's boy crazy best friend Jilly and her posse of siblings.

Classroom application: This novel is perfect for your budding romantics and lovers of author Nicholas Sparks (though I find Dessen's novels much less cheesy and more realistic). The novel is pretty clean, there is one mention of a sexy scene, so I would recommend it for upper middle school and up.

If you are interested in purchasing a copy of Once And For All for yourself, you can find it on Amazon here.

Note: The Literary Maven is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com.

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