Q&D Book Review: ‘Keeping the Moon’ by Sarah Dessen

Book cover Keeping the Moon by Sarah DessenRating: 3.5

The Low Down: Colie Sparks didn’t like being fat, but there was a certain comfort in it. Plus, at least she and her mother had each other. Now her mom is the best-selling aerobics guru Kiki Sparks and both she and Colie have reformed their outward appearances, at least. Colie still feels the same on the inside; insecure, unattractive and fat. Plus, ever since that incident on the golf course, she’s earned another title: slut.

Now Kiki’s embarking on a worldwide tour to spread her weight loss gospel, and Colie is being sent to stay with her aunt for the summer. Her quirky, crazy-dressing, fat aunt who garners her share of rude comments and pointed looks from the people in that small town. While Colie is embarrassed for her aunt, she also wants to stand up for her against those who laugh at her. She knows how she feels. Or does she? Has Colie also fallen into that trap of judging by outward appearances?

This summer, Colie will find true friendship for the first time. And maybe her heart will find what it wants, too.

The Down Low: This was my first Sarah Dessen book, can you believe it? I liked it well enough, as the story keeps that fine balance between heartbreaking and strong. The characters are real, especially since they are not always likeable. It also has that slow, languid summer feel to it.

The story was the slightest bit claustrophobic; I think that’s what we were supposed to feel. Colie is stuck in this label that others gave her, and the adults reading will know that she will be able to break free from it after high school, but to a kid going through it, it seems like it will never end. Plus, you just want to shake Colie by the shoulders and tell her to stand up straight AND stand up for herself. She’s a little wimpy, and you know that’s because she hasn’t changed the way she sees herself.

That’s the bottom line: How you look on the outside and how you feel on the inside are completely separate from each other (though they can absolutely overlap). The outside is the product of genes and superficial stuff (hygiene, clothing, etc.) while the inside is a roiling mess of feelings, experiences, outside pressures, self esteem, strength, parental opinion. In Colie’s case, she still feels unworthy and alone as she did when she was fat.

Keeping the Moon by Sarah Dessen was published September 1, 1999 by Viking Juvenile. Ink and Page picked this book up from the library, so no one had a choice about whether it was reviewed.

Genre: Young Adult Fiction Contemporary Romance
Ages: 12 and up
You Might Want to Know: Nothing of note

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