Book Review: ‘Between Us and the Moon’ by Rebecca Maizel

between us and the moonBetween Us and the Moon is 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 will admit, I did go into this one not expecting anything remarkable, but I was pleasantly surprised. It’s certainly more than the frivolous summer romance that the blurb led me to believe.

Mainly, it’s a novel about how one seemingly-inconsequential lie can suddenly become impossible to get out of without ruining everything. It’s also about how our MC comes to the realization, finally, that it’s not just her who is affected by this untruth.

It was so wonderful watching the relationship between Sarah and Andrew develop, even though you know that they are ultimately doomed–not to get too overdramatic here! The family dynamics were also interesting to observe, from Sarah being overshadowed by her older, prettier, talented sister Scarlett, to the awkward relations that form when you’re dependent on other family members for money.

The book was wonderfully sex-positive, without going hardcore explicit. It shows a girl becoming comfortable with her body, a couple learning together about how to give each other pleasure, and a boy who does not under any circumstances pressure the girl, even though he is the more experienced one in the relationship. With so many messages from society that a girl’s pleasure is wrong, or of lesser importance (or glossed over altogether), I think it’s empowering and fundamentally important to have increasing representation of girl’s agency and yes, sexual enjoyment, in YA lit.

Finally, it’s a book where you can palpably feel the frustration of a girl pigeon-holed into a certain type–nerdy, academic, science-obsessed–who is unable to expand her personality, if you will, into other spheres of interest. As the narrator says, why can’t she be interested in science as well as pretty clothes? I think many of us can identify with expectations from family and friends for us to act/be a certain way, who dismiss out of hand any interests/hobbies/choices that fall outside of how they perceive us to be.

A surprisingly deep summer read.

ARC received from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 8/10

 

Hannah is a twenty-something born and bred Capetonian who adores reading and reviewing books, and encouraging critical discussion on all things pop culture. Currently a politics graduate student, she spent two years working in digital marketing before deciding she missed the student life. Loves QI, travel, dark chocolate, fantasy & YA books, pilates and sarcasm.