Review: Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel

Between Us and the Moon by Rebecca Maizel
Publication date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Category: Young Adult - Contemporary
Source: Received from publisher via Edelweiss
Summary: Ever since Sarah was born, she’s lived in the shadow of her beautiful older sister, Scarlett. But this summer on Cape Cod, she’s determined to finally grow up. Then she meets gorgeous college boy Andrew. He sees her as the girl she wants to be. A girl who’s older than she is. A girl like Scarlett. Before she knows what’s happened, one little lie has transformed into something real. And by the end of August, she might have to choose between falling in love, and finding herself. (

The good
Sarah is only a couple weeks away from turning sixteen and she has a firm grasp on who she is and what her future holds. She loves science and looking up at the stars. She’s not interested in parties or fashion. She’s about to apply to a prestigious school and is working hard on submitting her application. But she’s always looked at her beautiful, older sister Scarlett, with a twinge of wonder and maybe a little jealousy too. Right before her family heads for for their annual summer vacation at Cape Cod, she gets her heart unexpectedly broken and the reason for it is the catalyst for her goal this summer. To observe Scarlett (Sarah’s scientific approach was both innocent and hilarious) and be more like her.

From the moment Sarah steals (er, borrows) an outfit from her sister and unknowingly attracts the attention of an older college boy Andrew, you know this whole plan of her is going to be TROUBLE. And it was. It was a train wreck that I couldn’t turn away from because I just knew the outcome could not be good. But yet, I felt so deeply for what Sarah was going through. Yes, she tells one lie after another and yes, she makes huge mistakes throughout the entire summer. But in those experiences she does learn a lot about herself. She realizes that she had been so focused on who she, her parents and everyone thought she was, she forgot to look outside the rigid box she had placed herself in. That she could be all those things she thought she was and more. She starts to see her beauty, inside and out. She meets a guy who sees those same things and accepts her. In fact, it’s her personality, including her unabashed love of science, that endears her to him. She realizes she doesn’t want to dress like a little girl but something more appropriate for her age. She makes new friends. What started off as a summer to copy her sister becomes a summer of self-discovery.

Another thing I have to mention and praise — how the author balanced Sarah young voice with mature decisions and choices. And the book was shockingly candid about the latter (which I liked!). It’s a difficult balance and it reminded me how young sixteen is but at the same time, Maizel aptly portrays the intense and all-consuming feelings she experiences for Andrew and vice-versa. Despite the age difference and the lies, the relationship between them felt so real. The unfairness of it all struck me as deeply as it did Sarah because it really is a matter of the right place and time. 16 and 19 seem worlds apart but if only they were 26 and 29, then not so much.

(Super minor) Reservations
The ending, specifically the epilogue, felt rushed to me. I think it was a realistic end to the story but I would’ve liked to see it a little more fleshed out. I felt so invested in both Sarah and Andrew that I couldn’t help but want more.

Do I recommend?
I do! It’s a great, complicated and messy coming-of-age story that I thoroughly enjoyed.


  1. Wow! Your review for Between Us and the Moon makes it sound SO good. I'm definitely more curious about this story than I was initially, particularly because you describe it as "a great, complicated and messy coming-of-age story". I love those!

  2. I love coming of age stories, and I can't wait to get on this read when it's out! :D


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