|Basic InformationMore InformationLatest NewsQuestions and AnswersLinksBook Reviews|100 Things Guys Need to Know3 NBS of Julian DrewA Guide to Asperger SyndromeA Tribe ApartA User Guide to the GF/CF Diet for Autism, Asperger Syndrome and AD/HDA Walk in the Rain With a BrainAdolescent DepressionAfterAggression and Antisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsAll Alone in the UniverseAmelia RulesAmericaAnother PlanetAntisocial Behavior in Children and AdolescentsArtemis FowlAssessment and Treatment of Childhood Problems, Second EditionAutistic Spectrum DisordersBad GirlBetween Two WorldsBeyond AppearanceBeyond Diversity DayBig Mouth & Ugly GirlBill HensonBipolar DisordersBody Image, Eating Disorders, and ObesityBody Image, Eating Disorders, and Obesity in YouthBoyBoysBrandedBreaking PointBreathing UnderwaterBringing Up ParentsBullying and TeasingCan't Eat, Won't EatCatalystChild and Adolescent Psychological DisordersChildren Changed by TraumaChildren with Emerald EyesChildren’s Dreaming and the Development of Consciousness City of OneConcise Guide to Child and Adolescent PsychiatryConquering the Beast WithinContentious IssuesCrackedCutDancing in My NuddypantsDemystifying the Autistic ExperienceDescartes' BabyDilemmas of DesireDirtyDoing ItDoing SchoolDying to Be ThinEating an ArtichokeEducating Children With AutismElijah's CupEllison the ElephantEmerald City BluesEmotional and Behavioral Problems of Young ChildrenEvery Girl Tells a StoryFast GirlsFeather BoyFiregirlForever YoungFreaks, Geeks and Asperger SyndromeFreewillGeography ClubGeorgia Under WaterGirl in the MirrorGirlfightingGirlsourceGirlWiseGLBTQGood GirlsGoodbye RuneGranny Torrelli Makes SoupGrowing Up GirlHandbook for BoysHealing ADDHeartbeatHelping Children Cope With Disasters and TerrorismHelping Parents, Youth, and Teachers Understand Medications for Behavioral and Emotional ProblemsHollow KidsHow Children Learn the Meanings of WordsHow to Keep Your Teenager Out of Trouble and What to Do If You Can'tHug MeIntrusive ParentingIt's Me!It's Perfectly NormalJake RileyJoey Pigza Swallowed the KeyJuvenile-Onset SchizophreniaKeeping the MoonKilling MonstersKim: Empty InsideKnocked Out by My Nunga-NungasLaura Numeroff's 10-Step Guide to Living with Your MonsterLearning About School ViolenceLeo the Lightning BugLet Kids Be KidsLiberation's ChildrenLife As We Know ItLisa, Bright and DarkLittle ChicagoLord of the FliesLoserLove and SexLove That DogManicMastering Anger and AggressionMind FieldsMiss American PieMom, Dad, I'm Gay.MonsterMore Than a LabelMyths of ChildhoodNew Hope for Children and Teens with Bipolar DisorderNo Two AlikeNot Much Just Chillin'Odd Girl OutOdd Girl Speaks OutOf Mice and MetaphorsOn the Frontier of AdulthoodOne Hot SecondOne in ThirteenOphelia SpeaksOphelia's MomOur Journey Through High Functioning Autism and Asperger SyndromeOut of the DustOvercoming School AnxietyParenting and the Child's WorldParenting Your Out-Of-Control TeenagerPediatric PsychopharmacologyPeriod PiecesPhobic and Anxiety Disorders in Children and AdolescentsPINSPraising Boys WellPraising Girls WellPretty in PunkPrincess in the SpotlightProblem Child or Quirky Kid?Psychotherapy As PraxisPsychotherapy for Children and AdolescentsRaising a Self-StarterRaising BlazeRaising Resilient ChildrenReclaiming Our ChildrenRedressing the EmperorReducing Adolescent RiskRethinking ADHDReweaving the Autistic TapestryRineke DijkstraRitalin is Not the Answer Action GuideRunning on RitalinSay YesSexual Teens, Sexual MediaShooterShort PeopleShould I Medicate My Child?Skin GameSmackSmashedStaying Connected to Your TeenagerStick FigureStoner & SpazStop Arguing with Your KidsStraight Talk about Your Child's Mental HealthStrong, Smart, & BoldStudent DepressionSurvival Strategies for Parenting Children with Bipolar DisorderSurviving OpheliaTaking Charge of ADHD, Revised EditionTaming the Troublesome ChildTargeting AutismTeaching Problems and the Problems of TeachingTeen Angst? NaaahThat SummerThe American Psychiatric Publishing Textbook Of Child And Adolescent PsychiatryThe Arctic IncidentThe Bipolar ChildThe Buffalo TreeThe Bully, the Bullied, and the BystanderThe Carnivorous CarnivalThe Depressed ChildThe Developing MindThe Dragons of AutismThe Dream BearerThe Dulcimer Boy The Einstein SyndromeThe EpidemicThe Eternity CubeThe Explosive ChildThe Field of the DogsThe First IdeaThe Identity TrapThe Inside Story on Teen GirlsThe Little TernThe Mean Girl MotiveThe Men They Will BecomeThe Myth of LazinessThe New Gay TeenagerThe Notebook GirlsThe Nurture AssumptionThe Opposite of InvisibleThe Order of the Poison OakThe Other ParentThe Present Moment in Psychotherapy and Everyday LifeThe Real Truth About Teens and SexThe Rise and Fall of the American TeenagerThe Secret Lives of GirlsThe Sex Lives of TeenagersThe Shared HeartThe Spider and the BeeThe StepsThe Thought that CountsThe Unhappy ChildThe Vile VillageThe Whole ChildThen Again, Maybe I Won'tTherapy with ChildrenThings I Have to Tell YouTouching Spirit BearTrauma in the Lives of ChildrenTreacherous LoveTrue BelieverTwistedUnhappy TeenagersWay to Be!We're Not MonstersWhat about the KidsWhat Would Joey Do?What's Happening to My Body? Book for BoysWhat's Happening to My Body? Book for GirlsWhen Nothing Matters AnymoreWhen Sex Goes to SchoolWhen Your Child Has an Eating DisorderWhere The Kissing Never StopsWhose America?Why Are You So Sad?WinnicottWorried All the TimeYes, Your Teen Is Crazy!You Hear MeYoung People and Mental HealthYour Child, Bully or Victim?
by Sarah Dessen
Review by Siobhan Mitchell on May 30th 2002
How can you resist an opening like
this? My name is Nicole Sparks. Welcome to the first day of the worst summer
of my life.
Just the first two lines is all it
takes to get hooked to Sarah Dessens Keeping the Moon, her fourth book
and arguably her most engrossing. I stayed up all night to read it and when I
finished, the ending was so satisfying that I regretted not an instant of the
rest of my groggy, sleep-deprived day.
Nicole Sparks or Coley as she is
called, is truly a unique and memorable heroine. Coley has spent most of her
life overweight and drifting from town to town with her over-ebullient yet
impractical mother. Even when things begin to look up for Coley; she slims down
and her mother becomes an Oprah-esque weight-loss guru, life is still more pits
than cherries. Her image in school turns from fat geek to slutty outcast. As a
result Coley has a cynical attitude towards everyone and everything, as so
obviously implied in the opening paragraph.
The book begins just as Coley is
sent off for the summer to her aunt Mira who lives by the North Carolina coast.
Aunt Mira and eccentric habits do little to make Coley feel more at ease, so
desperate she is to fit in for once in her new surroundings. Coleys first
morning in the house is comically described, where she wanders around trying to
make head or tail of the mysterious notes attached to random objects, such as
an index card affixed to the toilet reading, HANDLE LOOSE, DONT YANK.
Apparently, her spacey Aunt needs to be aggressively reminded of the minor
malfunctions of all the junk she collects her disorganized house.
Eventually, Coley finds a job and
friends in two older girls who work as waitresses in the same café with her.
Thus the scene is set for either the worst summer of her life, as she predicts
or the best and most memorable, as we, the readers, avidly anticipate.
Dessens novel is slim but packs a
lot of storylines and characters, all written in deft yet riotous fashion. Yet
somehow all the story threads come together and fit in to the overlying theme
concerning the repair of Coleys self-esteem and her gradual acceptance of the
good points about herself as well as the bad. For instance, Coleys two new
friends have their own problems they must deal with: a philandering, absentee fiancé
in one case and social nihilism in the other. Coley of course gets entangled in
to both of these friends melodramatic lives, which makes her examine her own
dysfunctional relationships. Coley has to come to terms with her Moms newfound
career and her Aunts oddness. Coley must also learn to accept the love of a
local boy while getting over her cynical view of people and their motives.
Does this sound like a lot of
emotional ups-and-downs for a small 228 page paperback? Luckily it all flows
together amazingly well and also makes for a very fast-paced and, as Ive said
before, very engrossing novel.
In her website, Dessen revealed
her own experience of working in a café while waiting for her big writing
break. She certainly writes a convincing portrayal of a cafés chaotic
atmosphere during peak season, when Coley is rushing around trying to wait on
five tables at once. This is a laugh-out-loud scene, of which there are several
in this book.
If one really wanted to quibble with Keeping the
Moon, the only thing that would come to mind is the incredible over-use of
coincidence to drive many of the storylines. Dessen also admits in her website
of being susceptible to flights of fancy
and over-exaggeration. This tendency shows in almost too-tidy plotlines and
over-manipulation of characters actions. Coleys voice as a maladjusted teens
rings true but some of her summer experiences seem a bit far-fetched.
Overall, this is a small point
because the sheer pleasure of reading this book far over-powers any stretching
of reality as a plot-device. With Keeping the Moon Dessen has written a
book with warmth and humor that is far and above any other book I have read
Link: Sarah Dessen website.
2002 E. Siobhan Mitchell
E. Siobhan Mitchell
writes about herself:
I am a 27 year old PhD student in
neuroscience living in upstate NY. I am studying the effects of prenatal drug
exposure on the brain. My favorite authors are Diana Wynne Jones and Wilton
Barnhardt. I love reading coming-of-age books and watching the same type of
movies. I have a three-year-old son who loves listening to Harry Potter as a