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Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

Review: The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen

One of the first books that I ever loved was written by Sarah Dessen. In middle school, I went through a phrase where as I would read was Sarah Dessen books. It not fair off to say, that I have grown up with her words and her characters. It was an unspoken rule that Sarah Dessen's books were always going to be good. Unfortunately, at one point her books all started to run together and followed the same formula. Although it had gotten predictable and boring, I continued to read. Only recently did I feel captivating feeling of reading her books return. The Rest of the Story is Dessen's 14th book, and it was nevertheless, captivating.

The Rest of the Story tells the story of Emma Saylor. At a young age, she lost her mother and unfortunately she doesn’t remember a lot about her. She does, however, remember the stories about the North Lake. After plans are changed, Emma Saylor finds her self there for the summer. While there she meets family and begins to uncover her mother’s past.

I think one of the most fascinating aspect of this book, was the history. I had the pleasure of attending a book signing for this and Sarah Dessen talked about how North Lake is a place where generations of families all gather. It is past down. And every year families are expected to be there. I think Sarah did great job of portraying that aspect. In addition, she did a great job of incorporating the locals. Emma Saylor's maternal family live there year round. Because of this there are certain opinions and behaviors that they will have. This was particularly true in contrast to Emma Saylor and her cousin Bailey. Unlike Emma Saylor, Bailey had lived in North Lake her entire life. There was a scene between the two towards the end of the book, that did a great job of highlighting why they would have different opinions about the place and why one might be interested in leaving.

Like mentioned earlier, Emma Saylor begins to unravel her mother’s past. Again, I thought this was done great. In both big and small ways, the supporting characters were able to provide her some help in uncovering her mother.


From the first page, Emma Saylor is a likable character. And although she is, there is a great character transformation that takes place as the book progresses. And I think it is a much needed development. To semi quote Emma Saylor, she used to be the passenger and when the book ends she is a driver. It was a fulfilling journey to witness.

It is important to also mention that in addition to having a great well developed main character, the supporting characters were also those things as well.

Final Analysis

The Rest of Story is a story essentially about family. It is about trying to understand where someone comes from but also trying to become who you’re supposed to be. It has great characters, an adorable romance, and an overall rich and depth story.

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