Published by Harper Teen on June 30, 2015
Narrator: Luci Christian
Length: 9 hours, 53 minutes
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A luminous young adult novel that evokes Judy Blume’s Forever for a new generation.
Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett.
Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself.
Fans of Jenny Han and Stephanie Perkins are destined to fall for this story about how life and love are impossible to predict.
I really don’t think the book summary for Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel gives enough weight to this book. There is way more here than a summer romance. This is a book about Sarah, the smart girl that wants to be seen as more than just super-smart. Sarah, who reinvents herself so she is seen as smart and pretty. Sarah, who no longer wants to be compared with her practically-perfect-in-every-way sisterScarlett.
Sarah wants to be social and have more friends. She used to have a boyfriend, but he dumped her just before the summer. She spends most of her time studying the stars and comets instead of being social, and this wasn’t a problem until she found herself without a boyfriend and realized that he was the only person she really spent any time with. Before, she was totally okay focusing on science because it was her first love. But she realized that she wasn’t living life – she was looking at it – while her sister was always the hit of the crowd with a bazillion friends.
On summer vacation, Sarah “borrows” one of her sister’s cute outfits and likes how she looks in it. She meets a cute older guy on the beach. She tells him she is older than she really is and that she is headed to college (she isn’t), and they hit it off. And there is our summer romance. Sarah doesn’t stop there, OH NO. She tells lie after lie after lie until she has created a version of herself that doesn’t really exist. Before long, her lies have snowballed and she finds herself lying about her lies.
Things are bound to catch up with her soon and when they do, it will be B-A-D.
I have come to LOVE books like this. I love books that have a very flawed character that gets herself/himself in trouble and keeps me cringing the entire time. I am always interested in how things will unfold. In the beginning, when Sarah decides to reinvent herself – well, that isn’t such a bad thing:
“I want to be able to care about clothes and boys, but be good at science too. I want to be both.” Certainly smart girls can be pretty! The problem comes when Sarah just doesn’t stop her lying. Ever. She even thinks to herself that she needs to stop and…just keeps lying. I would like to say that it was hard for me to keep reading while she keeps digging herself deeper into a mess that I knew would explode in her face later. It’s hard to know that someone would be hurt. But the truth is that I was glued to the pages and couldn’t turn them fast enough.
Making this story more complex are the relationships: Sarah with her family, Sarah with her sister, Sarah with Andrew (the love interest), and Sarah with her new friends. The way that Sarah’s sister and family relate to one another and to her is very…interesting…so it isn’t surprising that Sarah isn’t great at relating to other people nor is it surprising that her summer turns out the way that it does.
But this romance: this was tricky. Aside from how it began, with Sarah’s deception over her age (Andrew is several years older than Sarah but he doesn’t know it), it truly is very sweet and progressed so nicely. I completely fell for this romance. This made it even harder, knowing that Sarah was just lying to him and that I knew it and she knew it, but he didn’t know. I almost kept forgetting about the age thing, because they seemed so right for one another. I think this author wrote this romance really well because I felt so conflicted about it. (Even though there was this one part of the romance that made me cringe because: immaturity and just NO. If you don’t mind spoilers and want to know what I’m talking about, you can click thru to see this same review where my spoiler is hidden on Goodreads by clicking here. I HAD NOBODY TO TALK TO ABOUT THIS AND I FELT LIKE I WAS ABOUT TO EXPLODE.)
Just like with this book which I LOVED and was equally hard, I would like to think that Sarah has learned her lesson and come out better on the other side. I would like to think that if the book was just a little longer or if there were a few more chapters, we would see a little more maturity and development. As it stands, the ending broke my heart a little, but sometimes that is how life goes. I knew the fallout could be harsh and it was.
I picked this book up based on the cover, thinking it was a summer romance. Hoping for a light read. BOY, I got something totally different. But I really liked it. I would imagine some readers won’t like Sarah because of her lies, but I think if we can look at the story as a whole here, this is a fantastic one. It is painful. There is betrayal and secrecy and lies and love and jealousy and so many emotions that we felt when we were/are the age that Sarah ACTUALLY is.
I’m excited to read this author’s next book, A Season For Fireflies. I hope to be just as emotionally invested as I was in this one.
The audiobook format of Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel is published by HarperAudio and is 9 hours and 53 minutes, Unabridged. It is narrated by Luci Christian, who I also know from Tarryn Fisher’s Dirty Red audiobook (one of my favorites). In this story, Ms. Christian does a great job of bringing Sarah to life, of voicing this young character that isn’t exactly always likable but is certainly easy to relate to. I forgot that I was listening to a voice actor and felt like I was listening to the character speak and think, and that’s exactly what I want when I’m listening to an audiobook. The book is a great read in print (I read part of it that way) but I have no hesitation about recommending this audiobook as a first listen or a reread.