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Once and For All by Sarah Dessen

Sunday, January 22, 2023

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.

Goodreads Summary

This book came at the perfect time for me. I feel like I'm constantly receiving wedding invites this past year and delving into wedding planning and the excitement that that job entails is fun to read about. I liked the light-hearted romance between Louana and Ambrose and the author's care to develop their relationship instead of devoting it to an "insta-romance." I will say that the initialy start to their relationship felt sudden and forced; Louana's decision on the beach seemed both dangerous and that she needs to speak to her primary care physician afterwards. She incorporated flashbacks that read nicely with the rest of the book's contents and added to the context of the plot.

Louana seemed like a hasty decision-maker, at times. Ambrose could be aggravating with his devil-may-care attitude. However, I grew to like both characters over the course of the novel and felt like they both grew and developed as the story continued. The plot itself seemed to be missing here and there or it felt "lost." I kept expecting Louana to examine her last boyfriend's death and its impact on her and I never really felt that she came to the resolution that she needed. I am still looking forward to more books from Sarah Dessen in the future!

3 Stars

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