by Sarah Dessen
on Sept 1, 1999
by Penguin Speak
Synopsis from Goodreads: Colie expects the worst when she's sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast -- first for being fat and then for being "easy" -- Colie has no friends at home and doesn't expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along.
My take: Keeping the Moon retains some of the cynicism toward romance of That Summer and Someone Like You but adds a new theme: self-image. Colie was formerly overweight and her mom is an infomercial exercise guru. Since her mom's traveling, Colie goes to Colby to live with her aunt Mira. (This is also the first Dessen set in Colby!)
Mira is eccentric and, since Colie was bullied in high school, it's painful for Colie to watch the locals mock Mira's weight and crazy outfits. She can't believe that Mira doesn't care what others think of her. Some other major characters are Morgan and Isabel, two polar opposite best friends who wait tables with Colie at the Last Chance Bar and Grill. Isabel is pretty and pragmatic, while lanky Morgan hides her vulnerability under a cranky exterior.
When Colie meets a cute, preppy visitor to Colby, she wants to date him just to prove to her bullies that she's worthy of love. But maybe she's really attracted to Norman, an artist who's more on the unconventional side, like Mira.
Having worked in food service, I loved the scenes at the Last Chance. And though this romance takes the whole book to really get started, it was sweet.
This post is not officially part of #ReadaDessen, but be sure to enter to win the Penguin contest for a full set of Dessen books here!
KEEPING THE MOON quiz: how much do you remember?
1. What is Aunt Mira's job?
A. She writes jingles for commercials
B. She writes condolence cards
C. She writes games for the back of cereal boxes
D. She writes fortunes for fortune cookies
2. What is the band Norman listens to on the radio?
A. The Vixens of Varina
B. The Bros of Biscoe
C. The Sweethearts of Shalott
D. The Fierces of Fuquay
3. What type of athlete is Morgan's boyfriend?
A. Baseball player
B. Racecar driver
C. Hockey player
4. What do Morgan and Isabel order in the mail?
A. The Thighmaster
B. A Topsytail
C. Columbia Records and Tapes
D. Rejuvenique Electric Face Mask
The answers and more quizzes are on my Sarah Dessen trivia page!