I received an ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Title: Once and for All
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Viking Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: June 6, 2017
Summary (from Goodreads): As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.
Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.
Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.
I have only recently discovered Sarah Dessen’s books, but I have enjoyed each one that I have picked up. I had high hopes for this one, and I can safely say that I was not let down. This book tells the story of a wedding planner’s daughter and contains a main character who is a real thinker. There are many flashbacks throughout the book, which add a lot of anticipation. Once and for All is a cutesy yet serious book that I am sure will appeal to everyone.
One of the main things that drew me to this book is the originality. The main character is the daughter of a wedding planner, but doesn’t believe in true love herself. I found all the behind-the-scenes wedding aspects to be so fascinating, and I learned that I would never be able to handle the stress of a job like this. The plot thickens as an arrogant rich boy is recruited to work for the wedding company, and I loved the comedic conversations he and the main character have. The way that the staff always predict how long the newlyweds’ marriage will last was also very entertaining. This book is cute and amusing, perfect for the beach.
Louna is a character with such a complex backstory that I wasn’t expecting when the book first began. She is so developed, and I really enjoyed how she is always up for a challenge. Louna is respectful, hardworking, and a great problem-solver, which comes in handy when brides freak out. I found her character to be the perfect narrator for a book like this, and she brought a lot of heart to the book.
I really enjoyed the use of flashbacks in this book. It’s kind of hard to describe without spoiling, but the bit of suspense added to the story really gripped me. This book is a bit slow-paced, so it takes a while to get to the big reveal, so it does kind of lose its thunder. However, I still liked being transported back to Louna’s past for an explanation of her actions.
Once and for All is an adorable contemporary with wedding planning aspects and a logical main character. I loved the use of flashbacks and the suspense that came with them. Whether you are a new or longtime Dessen fan, this book will not disappoint!