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All booksYoung adultThe Rest of the Story
The Rest of the Story by Sarah Dessen
Young adult

The Rest of the Story

by Sarah Dessen

Quick take

The latest from the queen of YA romance.

Good to know

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_Romance


  • Illustrated icon, Icon_400

    400+ pages

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_WellKnownAuthor

    Famous author

  • Illustrated icon, Icon_FamilyDrama

    Family drama

Why I love it

Taylor Knight
BOTM Ambassador, @taylorintheknight

Of all the Sarah Dessen books I’ve loved and read over and over, The Rest of The Story has become my new favorite.

Emma’s summer takes an unexpected turn when she’s sent to North Lake to live with her mother’s family, whom she hasn’t seen since her mother passed away years ago. But the more time Emma spends in her mother’s community—and with Roo, the boy she’d befriended as a child—the more she learns how to cope with her anxieties, reconnect with family, and discover herself along the way.

I fell right into this book—it was love at first page. Dessen is a master at portraying family relationships, and The Rest of The Story is no exception. Emma’s relatable struggle between two identities—as her mother’s daughter and as her father’s daughter—is expertly written and full of heart. For those craving a classic Dessen blend of family bonds, strong character growth, and a sweet romance, The Rest of The Story is a heartwarming summer read at its finest.

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Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when she was ten. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.

Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable … until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family—her grandmother and cousins she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.

When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is divided into two people as well. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.

Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.

For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her will win out?

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Check out a preview of The Rest of the Story.

Member thoughts

All (1167)
All (1167)
Love (748)
Like (401)
Dislike (18)
1196 ratings
  • 63% Love
  • 34% Like
  • 2% Dislike
  • Willow Spring, NC

    I have always been a fan of Sarah Dessen’s books. I didn’t think I could love a book more than Saint Anything, but I was wrong! I’m 22 and still reading her books! Couldn’t put it down! Recommend!!!

  • Geneva, IN

    I have loved Sarah Dessen’s books since I was a freshman in high school and discovered her. Now 26 her books still take you on a journey of what it’s like to be a teen going through life. Loved this!

  • Chicago, IL

    I’m a sucker for love stories and this one was no different. This book kept me on my toes and wanting more. I couldn’t put the book down and was sad when I got to the end. Would defintely recommend!

  • Waterbury, CT

    Forever a Dessen fan since HS. This did not disappoint. Saylor unearths her mom’s past & finds her own parallels with her mom while still creating her own story. Loved the lake setting(lake girl here)

  • Middleburg, PA

    I could not put this book down! I had all 440 pages read on two days! That’s crazy with a toddler running around. Seriously though, Dessen know how to write a heart warming novel. I recommend, 100%!

  • Virginia Beach, VA

    Read this! Sarah Dessen is such a tremendous author. I love her work. This YA novel was multilayered, not perfectly predictable. Stayed up late to finish it. Closed the book & said, what a great book!

  • Brooklyn, NY

    I love Sarah Dessen she is my favorite author since I was a teen - as with all her novels I consumed it so fast I was left sad it was over. This BOM Looks great on my shelf with all of her other books

  • Plantation, FL

    I enjoyed the premise of the book. I thought it was well done.The way our protagonist seeks answers to long unanswered questions is slow, yet fulfilling. I love how she takes ownership of her story.

  • Mullica Hill, NJ

    I don't think I've ever related to a charcter more than I did to Emma. I loved how she grew over the summer while she got to know her family, and I also love the way Dessen addresses difficult topics.

  • Cortland, NY

    I’ve borrowed it from the library and read it when it first came out and god did I love it. Sarah Dessen is my favorite author (Just Listen and Along for the ride are my favorites) I reccomend 10/10

  • Pittsburgh, PA

    Sarah Dessen did it again! I have always enjoyed her Young Adult books. This book was about identify, unveiling the past, and learning to look ahead instead of always behind. It left me wanting more!

  • Fort Smith, AR

    The Sarah Dessen I know & love is back! After a magical summer reconnecting with her late mother's family, Emma Saylor must fight to bridge the gap between past & present to keep everyone together.

  • North Smithfield, RI

    Such a heartwarming book, I couldn't put it down. Such a warm story, with ups and downs. Truly warmed my heart, and sucked me right into the story, I felt as if I was there, at the lake, with them!

  • Richmond, VA

    A young-adult read that adults will likely see so much of themselves in. A sweet story, full of coming of age adventures and the journey of truly understanding who you are. Enjoyable and heartfelt.

  • Gresham, OR

    The story wasn't one I couldn't put it down, but the writing is strong, characters interesting, and is overall entertaining. A definite reminder that there is still prejudice within social classes.

  • Inglewood , CA

    I didn’t anticipate loving this book as much as I do, but it is genuinely such a beautiful heartwarming and touching coming of age story with a twist. This is part YA, romance, and family drama!

  • Tulsa, OK

    My teenage nostalgic heart was absolutely glowing throughout this book. When it comes to YA, nobody knows how to write characters that stick with you long after the pages have turned like Dessen.

  • Muscatine , IA

    True to form, this book is another account of teenager falling in love during the summer. One thing I love about Sarah Dessen is that she is unafraid to address difficult subjects in her writing.

  • Albany , NY

    I could not stop reading this book. I had to know what was going to happen to these characters, who I quickly came to love. I have already told multiple friends that they need to read this book.

  • Mesa, AZ

    Storyline is engaging and the characters are had dynamic and popping out in a chapter. The story flows through the past to the present. Once you start you can't put it down. So u try this book.

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