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Publisher's Summary

From number-one New York Times best-selling author Sarah Dessen comes a big-hearted, sweeping novel about a girl who reconnects with a part of her family she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl - and falls in love, all over the course of a magical summer.

Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was 12. 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, whom 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 also divided into two people. 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 - Emma or Saylor - will win out?

©2019 Sarah Dessen (P)2019 HarperCollins Publishers

Editor's Pick

The summer love story you're craving
"Summer and Sarah Dessen are becoming synonymous in my mind. Her latest novel, The Rest of the Story, is my perfect seasonal companion. There’s romance, an air of mystery, and a lovely narration from one of my favorite voices in the genre—Rebecca Soler. Dessen is so talented at creating relatable characters, and it was incredibly easy to fall into Emma’s story. Find your favorite spot outside, pop in your headphones, and let Dessen put a smile on your face."
Katie O., Audible Editor

What listeners say about The Rest of the Story

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

nostalgia warning

Growing up on a lake myself, this story was bringing me to tears with the vivid descriptions of summer lake life. As much as I didn’t want to compare my summers growing up on the lake to this story, i couldnt help myself.

Emma Sailor was me at sixteen, and now at twenty three after moving away from my own lake, I know exactly how she feels in this story. I love this book, it’ll be up there in my top ten and is now number two in my favorite Sarah Dessen books.

This story brought me to tears more than once and has made me laugh just as much. To any other lake kid out there, pick up this one and get reading, or listening.

7 people found this helpful

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This was a good one

I already knew the narration was going to be great. Rebecca soler is awesome! With romance books there are not many ways the story can go. I hope the story is not too cheesy or too far fetched, in this case neither happens.

This was a sweet story with good character dialogue. The events flowed smoothly and it was fun listening the whole time. I really like when an author can write from the point of a younger person, I like to remember the feelings and thoughts of being that age.

6 people found this helpful

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Enjoyed this- great summer read

I’ve been a fan of Sarah Dessens for many years and this is one of my favorites! Each of us has a story, and each person in your life has a piece of it too.

4 people found this helpful

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not as expected

I struggled to finish.... not as happy or light as I expected it to be.

4 people found this helpful

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Not my favorite

Didn’t get exciting till the end ... and it was a storm!!! Would I recommend .. probably not! It’s cute but pass

2 people found this helpful

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Take a vacation and enjoy this story

I feel like I’m a part of a community. This book captures the feeling of community that happens when experiences are shared. People from many different lives can share the same story even if it is just one week a year. This one week becomes so much more than 1/52 of your life. The best friends develop when we dive in and love.

1 person found this helpful

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Bummer

I started listening to this book and immediately wondered if I had accidentally ordered a Young Adult book. As far as I could tell, it is meant for adults. At my age, I am not that into teenage romance novels. The dialogue between the “youngsters” was long, drawn out and frankly, boring. I hung in there until the end. I imagined my 12 year old self enjoying this book but at my current age found it disappointing at best.

4 people found this helpful

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Meh

If I had to describe THE REST OF THE STORY in one word, I’d use “pleasant.”

Emma Saylor stays with her estranged grandmother Mimi, while her father and stepmother honeymoon overseas. Emma doesn’t recognize her upper-middle class privilege until she meets the working class maternal side of her family in the lakeside community. Despite losing her mother to an unintentional overdose, Emma has no idea how privileged her life is. She has issues with anxiety, though probably not rising to a diagnosable condition. Her same age cousins work for the family motel; at seventeen, Emma has never considered a job.

THE REST OF THE STORY is the gaps in Emma’s knowledge about her mother, why her mom was estranged from family etc. Sarah Dessen has Emma called by her middle name Saylor by Emma’s mother’s family, as if to remind readers father: professional, steady and mother: chaotic, working class. The two names didn’t work for me and felt artificial.

Not much happens for the first 90% of THE REST OF THE STORY. Emma falls into insta-relationships with her family as if no time had passed between the the one time she met her cousins and their friend Roo thirteen years prior. As someone who missed years with cousins who spent time with each other in my absence, I know the transition isn’t insta as if I’d been included all those years. Emma’s cousins have over a decade of memories with each other. The possible romance is just as insta-unrealistic. The summer partying felt like the most authentic part of the story.

THE REST OF THE STORY is mostly an enjoyable, although predictable read. Nothing about the story feels unique or memorable, but as I said in the beginning, it was pleasant enough.

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Great story

I absolutely loved this book and was sad when it was at the end because I wanted more

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captivating

loved this story the narrator was excellent
wish I could find more stories like this