Book Review

Once and for All by Sarah Dessen

Publisher: Viking Books | Pages: 358

Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance

Rating: ★★★★☆


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, not 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 – humour, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.


I’m a fan of Sarah Dessen novels plainly because they are quick, easy and enjoyable reads. While her novels largely follow a similar pattern, I find it a pleasant opportunity to stray away from suspense and plot twists to something a bit more predictable. Her latest novel, Once and for All, does not disappoint.

I have read most, if not all of Dessen’s books and while this one was not my favourite, I definitely enjoyed it. I really liked the fact that Louna was a guarded individual and that her reasoning behind that was revealed slowly throughout the novel. I can’t say how many times I’ve been disappointed with a novel because something has been divulged so quickly and has not progressed naturally. For this, I’m thankful for Dessen’s decision for her storyline. I think it also plays out so well that a person is so guarded with respect to romance and relationships and works in the wedding industry. I think this was a perfect pairing.

As always, I loved Dessen’s characters. She always has a knack for creating unique characters that tug at your heartstrings. I loved the dynamic between Louna, her mother Natalie and William. The three of them were definitely a trio and I loved the scenes between them. Ambrose was such an enjoyable character. Not only was he unique and full of personality but he was quirky and witty – two things that every girl will love.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this novel overall, I would say that I found the ending to be a bit abrupt. Speaking of the natural progression of character development earlier, I also believe that author’s need to ensure that their ending is satisfactory to the reader. In this case, I wouldn’t say the ending was horrible. I would just say it left me with unanswered questions and I would have loved to have had more of a concise ending for Louna and Ambrose’s story.

Overall, I highly recommend this book for those who are fans of Dessen and those looking for a quick, contemporary, summer read! I’m sure you’ll be able to devour this book in one to two sessions like I did!

Rating: ★★★★☆

Favourite Quote: “Isn’t that the way everything begins? A night, a love, a once and for all?”

About the Author:

Sarah Dessen is the #1 New York Times Bestselling author of over a dozen novels for teens, which have received numerous awards and rave reviews. Her books have been published in over thirty countries and have sold millions of copies worldwide. She is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the American Library Association for outstanding contribution to young adult literature for her novels: Keeping the Moon, Dreamland, This Lullaby, The Truth about Forever, Just Listen, Along for the Ride, and What Happened to Goodbye. Her newest novel, Once and for All, will be released in June 2017. An NC native, she currently lives in Chapel Hill with her family.

Goodreads | Instagram | Twitter | Website

Buy the Book:

Amazon | Chapters | Book Depository


Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Victoria @ The Contented Reader

Avid reader and tea drinker. I read and review young adult books on my blog, The Contented Reader!

Leave a Reply