“The Rest of the Story” by Sarah Dessen review

Overall: 4 our of 5 stars

Summary of Review:

A fun and quick read about finding yourself, family, and growth as a person. I thoroughly enjoyed this novel.


Emma Saylor’s mother died when she was young. She does not remember much about her mother or her mother’s family.

When Emma’s dad is going away for his honeymoon, he decides that she can go stay with her grandmother on her mother’s side. Emma does not know this side of the family at all though. Her grandmother lives in a town that is on the lake.

While staying with her grandmother, she learns about her mother and a part of her family that she never knew existed. Memories and photos spanning her childhood by the lake start to have Emma remember her youth at the lake.

My Thoughts:

I was just introduced to Sarah Dessen only about 1.5 years ago. I have really enjoyed her novels since then. Her stories are character-driven, the characters grow throughout, and lessons are learned. I love these “coming of age” novels.

Needless to say, the best part of this novel was the characters themselves. I really loved all the characters. I also liked getting to know her mother as the main character was also getting to know her as well. I enjoyed Roo and Emma’s relationship form as well. It was cute.

She tackles very lightly subjects such as drug addiction, privilege, anxiety, and death of a parent. Although these are the main topics throughout the novel, they are brushed off to the side for the story of reconnecting with her family. I wish this was not brushed to the side. I would have liked to know how her deceased mother affected the relationships of those around her. How her drug addiction and death affected their psyches. We see the aftermath by having that side of the family not in Emma’s life. But I am sure that her mother affected the family more than they discussed in the novel.

This book was a little too long as well. I can see if being this long if they described more of the pain that her mother put her and the family through. It could have been about 100 pages less.


If you like a character-driven novel, then this book is right up your alley. There are tons of likeable characters and growth.

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