cover image Once and for All

Once and for All

Sarah Dessen. Viking, $19.99 (368p) ISBN 978-0-425-29033-0

Seventeen-year-old Louna was in love once, but it ended in tragedy when her long-distance boyfriend, Ethan, was killed in a school shooting. Louna has since stopped believing she will find love again, though she is surrounded by constant reminders of it: she works for her mother’s successful, high-end wedding-planning business. When Louna’s mother temporarily hires Ambrose, the gorgeous but unpredictable son of a client, Louna is charged with making sure that Ambrose doesn’t make their summer weddings any more difficult. Dessen’s fans will revel in the familiarity of her steady, empathic writing, as well as her attention to detail—particularly the painstaking care Louna and her mother devote to every aspect of a wedding, including their nervous and tightly wound clients—and the emotionally layered characters that populate her story. Dessen (Saint Anything) include a hint of romance between Louna and Ambrose, but this novel is more about grief and recovery. Flashbacks of Louna’s relationship with Ethan, interspersed among the present-day chapters, movingly juxtapose her loss with her tentative efforts to move forward from it. Ages 12–up. Agent: Leigh Feldman, Leigh Feldman Literary. (June)