Book Review – The Rest of The Story by Sarah Dessen

The Rest of the Story
“It’s a lake thing,” he explained. “The basic idea is that since you meet a ton of people at the beginning of every summer, everyone has to condense their bio down to the main ideas. Thus, five sentences.” 

If I could describe Sarah Dessen’s latest novel, The Rest of the Story, out since June 2019, in five sentences I would say… 

The Rest of the Story is a refreshing novel moving from Colby to a new place known as North Lake or Lake North, depending on which side you’re on. Emma Saylor is relatable character, who is on a journey of self-discovery, without really knowing it. While staying at her grandmother’s hotel in North Lake, she learns of old memories she once held in her mind as well as learning about her own mother. During her journey, she also makes new relationships with old friends and family. But most importantly, she finds herself and discovers who she wants to be instead of who she is expected to be. 

If you would like a more in depth description of Emma Saylor’s story, you can find it over on goodreads

2019 has been made my friends!

I got this book when I attended a signing and met Sarah Dessen herself. (Be sure to check out my blog post about that experience, here). Like all Sarah Dessen books, they should be read on a beach or near a lake to really get a feel for the story. However, they’re just as amazing if you’re reading them on your couch without a beachview in sight. 

Look how beautiful it looks next to the sand!

With Sarah Dessen being my favorite author, I have read every single one of her books. I plan on rating all fourteen of her books based on personal preference at a later date, so be on the lookout for that! Anyway, back to the book, overall I really, really enjoyed this novel. The story was very well executed and I fell in love with the new town. I will admit that when it was first announced that The Rest of the Story would be taking place in a new setting, I was a little skeptical. 

But, I quickly fell in love with North Lake and the new characters. 


Source: Giphy

One thing I love about Sarah’s writing is all the little quirks and details she puts into her characters and the story. Some of the ones she included in this story that really stuck out to me and, in my opinion, made the story are: 

TOAST!Emma’s North Lake family is obsessed with toast and honestly that’s putting it mildly. There is so much talk of toast, you will be finding yourself craving toast, as well. Unless, you hate toast, but I mean, who really hates toast. 

Personally, I love Peanut Butter on Toast, but occasionally enjoy it with just butter. What about you? 

Cleaning Bottles – About halfway into the story, Emma Saylor ends up offering to help her cousins clean the motel, it’s during that task, she learns that each person has their own spray bottle of cleaner. And one NEVER uses the bottle of someone else’s, they just don’t. Each one contains the same cleaning solution, but it’s all about how it sprays. 

I’ve never really thought about it, but hey, everyone has their preferences, I guess. 

“It’s a lake thing,” – From five sentences, to proper boat etiquette, we learn a lot about traditions that take place in North Lake. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live in a lake or beach town. I think it would be really cool to have something special and that only others who live there would understand. Sarah does a great job incorporating this into the story. 

Fun fact! Sarah based North Lake on the lake town she often visits. 

Not-So Favorite Parts

Source: giphy

Now, don’t get me wrong. I loved this book, but we never love everything about a story, right? There’s always one or two things that we really don’t like or could have done without. 

These are mine.  

Pacing – I’ll admit I felt like the story draggedin certain places, while other times it felt like it was rushed and I would have liked a little more details. Maybe this is just something that I experienced. I will say I was reading this on vacation and distractions could have played a part in this as well. 
Barnes & Noble Epilogue- Okay, so this doesn’t really affect my opinion on the novel, but apparently there is an epilogue for The Rest of the Story, which I would have loved to have read. However, this is only available if you purchase the Barnes & Noble edition, or if you go to B&N and quickly read it before placing it back on the shelf. Anyway, I do realize that many authors/publishers do this, but I hate it. 

In order for me to attend to the signing, I had to purchase through Parnassus, the independent bookstore hosting the signing. This meant that I was going to buy my book through B&N and therefore wouldn’t be getting the book with the epilogue. Again, not a huge deal breaker, but still kinda bummed about it. 



5 Stars. 

Two Thumbs Up. 

Highly, Highly Recommend. 

I think those pretty much sum it up. Ha! 

Whether you’re a fan of Sarah Dessen or not, I really suggest giving this book a read!

Have you read The Rest of the Story yet?

Let me know your thoughts in the comments below!


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