Between Us & the Moon
YA Contemporary/Romance, BETWEEN US AND THE MOON tells the story of Sarah trying to be someone she is not. Specifically, her sister. She wants to be popular, fawned over, and amazing. This story isn't about romance (well, it's not the main plot, at least). Sarah's character arc remains to be the most important thing about the story, and that is definitely what is critical for this book to work. And does it work? Well, I feel like the arc could make much more of an emotional impact on the readers, but it does well in certain parts.
Sarah is that girl. She is the shy one to her sister's glamour queen. She is the smart one, and she is tracking a comet for her science project/scholarship. She starts creating a project called the Scarlett Project, and though it starts off as an innocent project, it turns into a heaping pile of lies, lies, and more lies. This is the first time Sarah has done something big, and she does indeed make fireworks out of her project and her experimenting. Because she has never lied before, she doesn't know the huge consequences. And the story explores that "lie, tell a bigger lie, and then tell a much bigger lie" cycle to the inevitable downfall she has at the end of the book.
Disaster. The plot ends up in a huge disaster. A good, entertaining, sensible disaster that proves to be relationship-wrecking for Sarah. The final yet also open ending proves to be very realistic, and I'm not going to tell any of you what happens.
Overall, BETWEEN US AND THE MOON has an excellent title. I mean, is there any greater wording than that? But anyway, I'm getting off-topic again. Sarah, a young teen, breaks out during her summer break and learns about the world by participating instead of observing. She may fall hard, but she most definitely learns from her conclusions of her project and, more importantly, finds out about herself.
Rating: Three out of Five
I went into this book thinking it would be a cute, lighthearted read that would be perfect for summer. It was still cute and a great book for the summer, but it wasn’t as lighthearted as I expected. There was a lot of depth to it that I found myself both enjoying and appreciating.
I found myself really relating to Sarah. She surrounded herself with science and astronomy the same way I would surround myself with books and baking. Her story arc became more about her discovering who she was as a person than about her experiment. She made mistakes, sometimes big ones, and she would have to learn from them and accept them. I loved how scientific she was about the experiment. It really suited her.
I did find the love story part of the book hard to get behind. It was cute and I thought they did work well together, but it was based on a lie and I knew something would likely happen. Either he would find out, she would confess, someone would use it against her, so many options for some drama. He knew her only from the persona she was pretending to be, even if that persona was slowly turning out to be the real Sarah. If their whole relationship hadn’t started on lies, I probably would have gotten into them more than I did.
The coming-of-age arc was my favourite part of the book. Sarah’s experiment may have started because her boyfriend broke up with her and accused her of watching the world instead of living in it, but it turned into a great growth arc that had Sarah stepping out of her sister’s shadow, discovering new things she liked, and making mistakes that caused her to grow as a person. I also loved that her discovering herself didn’t mean she lost her love of astronomy and science.
Overall, I know it started out with Sarah changing who she is because of something a guy said, but it turned out to be the catalyst behind an enjoyable coming-of-age story.
Sarah “Bean” Levin, scientist and stargazer, is sick of being in the shadow of her older sister Scarlett. After she’s dumped by her long time best friend turned boyfriend Tucker, she decides that she’s going to start working on The Scarlett Experiment—an attempt to observe how exactly her sister has all the boys wrapped around her finger. Sarah changes her clothes, her attitude, her speech and finds herself Andrew, the sweetest boy in Cape Cod, and finds the romance she wants.
Except there’s one important thing she changes—her age.
I didn’t agree with Sarah’s plan of lying to Andrew about her age. The constant lies and deception, and the absurd lengths she went to in order to keep the truth from coming out were off-putting and while I cheered for her and thought that she was one of the most real characters I’ve read all summer, I knew right away that she had a lot of growing up to do. She was enthusiastic about stars and the periodic table of elements and all things science, but I agreed that she had kind of set aside people and experiences and adventures and preferred to lock herself up all day to study or research. She was a follower, also, but we can’t possibly expect every person to be a natural born leader. What was more important to me, was that Sarah learnt from her mistakes and became a better person from them. Sarah was kind and trusting and of course, her summer love with Andrew was what I loved so, so much because I want me one of those