Once and for All

368p. Viking. Jun. 2017. Tr $19.99. ISBN 9780425290330. POP
Gr 9 Up—Louna's broken heart and her mother's cynical views on love and marriage have soured her on the idea of everlasting love. While working at her mother's wedding planning business, she meets Ambrose, whom she had to drag away from a girl so that he could escort his mother down the aisle. Louna is not thrilled when her mother hires Ambrose for the summer, but he is charming and spices up her usual summer routine. Louna prefers to date only when forced to by her best friend Jilly, while Ambrose plays the field nightly. Louna's disdain for Ambrose's escapades leads to a friendly wager—for the next seven weeks she will date around and he will commit to one person; the winner will choose the loser's next date. As the story unfolds, the truth of Louna's heartbreak is revealed one piece at a time, just as she admits her real feelings for Ambrose. Can she open her heart to love again? The answer is obvious, but nevertheless it is an enjoyable journey getting there. Secondary characters, such as Louna's mother, Jilly, and William, her mother's best friend and business partner, are well developed and add depth to the protagonist's past and present. However, an attempt at racial diversity falls flat with three separate descriptions of peripheral characters as black, while there is no other mention of race or ethnicity for any other character.
VERDICT There is no question that this title will be popular with Dessen fans and romance lovers.

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