Once and for All

Once and for All

by Sarah Dessen


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From Sarah Dessen, the beloved New York Times bestselling author of SAINT ANYTHING and JUST LISTEN, comes a new novel set in the world of wedding planning!

Is it really better to have loved and lost?  Louna's summer job is to help brides plan their perfect day, even though she stopped believing in happily-ever-after when her first love ended tragically.  But charming girl-magnet Ambrose isn't about to be discouraged now that he's met the one he really  wants.  Maybe Louna's second chance is standing right in front of her.

 Sarah Dessen’s many fans will adore this latest novel, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story with humor, romance, and an ending that is so much more than happily-ever-after.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780425290354
Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date: 05/22/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 384
Sales rank: 26,286
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 1.10(d)
Age Range: 12 Years

About the Author

Sarah Dessen is the author of twelve previous novels, which include the New York Times bestsellers Saint Anything, The Moon and More, What Happened to Goodbye, Along for the Ride, Lock and Key, Just Listen, The Truth About Forever, and This Lullaby. Her first two books, That Summer and Someone Like You, were made into the movie How to Deal.
Dessen’s books are frequently chosen for the Teens’ Top Ten list and the list of Best Fiction for Young Adults. They have been translated into twenty-five languages. Sarah Dessen is the recipient of the 2017 Margaret A. Edwards Award from the Young Adult division of the American Library Association, recognizing her significant contribution to young adult literature.
Sarah Dessen graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with highest honors in creative writing. She lives in Chapel Hill with her husband, Jay, and their daughter, Sasha Clementine.
Visit Sarah at sarahdessen.com. 


Chapel Hill, NC

Date of Birth:

June 6, 1970

Place of Birth:

Evanston, Illinois


University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, degree in English.

Read an Excerpt


Excerpted from "Once and for All"
by .
Copyright © 2018 Sarah Dessen.
Excerpted by permission of Penguin Young Readers Group.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

Customer Reviews

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Once and for All (B&N Exclusive Book) 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This story really relates to your life if you feel like you're never going to find the right one. Can get a little emotional but it turns out wonderful and leaves you appreciating the little things. Sarah Dessen has done it again!!
JillJemmett 5 months ago
This is my first Sarah Dessen book and I loved it! There were a lot of weddings in this story. Louna’s mother is a wedding planner, which looked like so much fun! This was a great setting for the novel. It made for some funny stories when things went wrong, such as a demanding mother of the bride who kept tissues in her bra! One character was affected by a school shooting. I won’t give the details, since that is part of the suspense of the novel and I don’t want to spoil it. I was surprised that this is one of the first times I’ve read about this in a novel. Unfortunately, school shootings are a real part of life now, so I think they will be in many young adult novels in the future. It was heartbreaking to read about the way it affected a character in the novel. I loved this book! I can’t wait to read more Sarah Dessen books!
MamaHendo More than 1 year ago
Being the daughter of a wedding planner, Louna has seen it all. She has seen the highs and lows of love and has become jaded to the idea of marriage after working at her mother's highly in demand business since she was young. After suffering the loss of her first love, Louna has now given up on dating much to the distress of her best friend, Jilly. With this being her last summer before leaving for college Louna just wants to focus on her job, spending time with Jilly, her mother and her godfather, William. When a mother-of-the-bride approaches Louna's mother and begs her to take her teenage son out of her hair, Natalie offers to hire him for the summer. Louna has little to no patience for Ambrose and his immature, serial dating ways but the two are forced to work together daily and he begins to chip away at Louna. One day while on a coffee run for her mother, the two make a bet. Ambrose has to date the same person for 7 weeks while Louna has to adopt Ambrose's dating habits. Winner gets to select the next person the loser dates. Dessen has written a heartwarming story filled with such endearing characters. Who wouldn't fall in love with Ethan? The only issue I had with the plot (and it was completely my own doing) was I kept picturing Louna to be in her early 20s not 17. This would be the perfect vacation book and will definitely not be my last Dessen book. 
thereadingchick More than 1 year ago
Once and for All took me on a journey into a world of love, loss and friendship. Louna’s one and only love ended abruptly and because she never had the chance to conclude this teenage love she doesn’t know how to move on. When she meets Ambrose she is just disgusted by his good looks, charm, and easy goingness (is that a word?). However, she soon begins to admire that same casual charm. The same things that aggravate her day to day he seems to deal with effortlessly and with a smile on his face. Finally, of course, women LOVE him. He dates multiple women at a time and Louna only goes out when dragged and set up by her best friend. Then one day, standing in line to get coffee, they make a bet. She needs to become a serial dater and he needs to have a relationship for seven weeks. Winner gets to pick the next date for the loser. I liked so many things about this story! We take a parallel journey with Louna as she remembers her previous boyfriend and as she starts to live her life again dating. The use of flashbacks effectively delivered the color of Louna’s emotions in the past as a direct contrast to the dull gray emotional world she is living in now. As she learns to move on her world slowly builds in color until Bam! she realizes how she truly feels about Ambrose and how wonderful life is while living it fully. It was very deftly done, and a really enjoyable novel to read. I want to talk Ambrose for a minute. Did anyone else really dislike him for the first two thirds of the book? I’ll admit, when I started reading I didn’t read the synopsis so I wasn’t sure he was her love interest. It took me a long while to see through that persona into the depths of him. Once I looked hard, I understood where the book was going and then read the synopsis to make sure I was right. Yep! But, I’ll admit I was worried! There were some other great characters in this book. I loved William, the gay father figure with a spine of steel, her best friend Jilly the oldest sister and wrangler to a million little brothers and sisters, and her mom who went through her own metamorphosis right along with her daughter. I understand why this book touched the hearts of so many people and received great reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AMAZING!!!!! I am a big fan of Sarah Dessen I have read all of her books at least two times each and this book was awesome! Recommend it
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love Sarah Dessen, she's become one of my favorite authors. This book was a great read, and I can say that I've never been disappointed.
Shawscribbles More than 1 year ago
This was a wonderful, coming-of-age story. I'm a big Sarah Dessen fan and this book did not disappoint. I loved both Louna and Ambrose and was rooting for a happy ending all the way through. This is a feel good read. Not a heavy-issue, dramatic read but a good light, fun romance. Take it to the beach or give it to a tween or teen who is on spring break. It was everything I expected and I loved it.
AReadingRedSox More than 1 year ago
I’ve read most of Sarah Dessen’s novels, and my favorite has been THIS LULLABY ever since the 8th grade…until ONCE AND FOR ALL rolled around. I absolutely loved this novel. The characters are layered and interesting, and I loved the whirl-wind world of weddings that Dessen based the story in. Heartbreaking and heartwarming all at the same time, ONCE AND FOR ALL is not to be missed.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book is definitely one of my favorites??????????
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
AMAZING storytelling and plot in this book. I loved how detailed and realistic this story was. Also probably read it twice since I got it. HIGHLY recommend if your into a great book with a good romance!
Aditi-ATWAMB More than 1 year ago
I read my first Sarah Dessen book when I was twelve years old. A friend gifted me Along for the Ride for my birthday and the very next morning I was halfway into it. From twelve to almost nineteen, Sarah Dessen’s books are ones I’ve cried over and laughed and fallen in love with as I got to know, time and again, Auden, Eli, Remy, Dexter, Annabel, Owen, Macy, Wes, Ruby and all these other couples that taught me so much. I remember myself over the last seven years through Sarah Dessen’s book, and it’s truly a magical feeling. Which is why, among the BOX FULL OF BOOKS that Penguin India sent me last week, the one I was most excited for was Once and for All. To Sum It Up: Once and for All was the heart wrenching journey of a girl brought up by cynics who are waiting to be proven wrong and trying to figure out if putting your heart out there is worth the risk while managing chaotic weddings and bad first dates. Long Story Short: I LOVED IT. This was definitely one of my top five Sarah Dessen books! Let’s break it Down: WRITING: Sarah has this distinctive, subtle form of writing that I’ve loved since book one that all of a sudden throws these beautiful and true lines at you. I’ve loved this BRILLIANT author’s BRILLIANT writing since I was 12 and I don’t think it’ll ever change. PLOT: The one thing I love about Dessen’s books is that NONE of them are JUST Boy Meets Girl. There is always more to the story that just one romance, often involving a heart breaking personal journey from the girl’s side and it’s ALWAYS SO REAL. It makes me connect with all of her characters in a way I usually don’t and I love it. CHARACTERS: I loved Louna from chapter one. I’m probably like her, a cynic until proven otherwise, scared to let what I’m feeling show. I loved her narration, her story and her fears. I felt, by the first quarter of this book, like I really knew this girl. I also ADORED Jilly, Louna’s best friend, and her whole family. I feel like she deserves her own book. Her story with Ethan broke my heart. It was this romance that just doesn’t happen anymore and BUT IT DID and it was so perfect while not being unreal and GOSH I ALMOST CRIED. My one problem with this book was the romance between Ambrose and Louna. I LOVED THEM AS FRIENDS and also as people but their romance and the “love” between them seemed SO FORCED. CONCLUSION: This book is about Louna moving on from a broken heart and finding a way to give it to someone else AND it’s set with a wedding planning business in the background which gives off its own form of hilarity. I LOVED THIS BOOK YOU GUYS. It will make you laugh and cry and fall in love like only Sarah Dessen can. 4 stars.
SammiiTX More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great complex yet relatable characters
Take_Me_AwayPH More than 1 year ago
As soon as summer hits I always pull out all my favorite contemp authors. And this year is no different. As soon as the calendar changed to June and the weather got hotter, I pulled out my Sarah Dessen! Louna is the daughter of a wedding planner, which means she's seen love at it's best and its worst. Because of this, she has some doubts about love and doesn't believe in wasting her time with anything in between. And then she meets Ambrose who can't even begin to spell commitment. But as things fall into place, they both find more than what they were expecting. What stands out the most in this book was the plot. I LOVED the storyline! It was so easy to get swept away into the world of wedding planning, especially just after my own wedding in April. It was also great to see the rest of the Dessen world like Lakeview and Colby again. Seeing some of the familiar places was nice and made me feel like I was right at home. And of course, I liked the writing style. But really, who wouldn't, I mean it's Sarah Dessen. But even still, I have to remind myself that her books are more of coming of age novels instead of focusing on the romance. This one was no different. And I really loved the surprises in the storyline. I wasn't expecting Louna's past to be that hard, but it really gave a good look into why her character came out that way. Even though I did like it, I think I would have enjoyed this more had I not read This Lullaby right before this. In This Lullaby, there were multiple weddings, an annoying dude, and in classic Dessen fashion, there was only a slight bit of romance, just like this one. While I was reading it I found myself comparing the two and trying to find ways they were similiar. It kinda took away from the story for me. This isn't my favorite Dessen novel, but I still did really like it. I can't wait to spend the rest of the summer reading the rest of her books through #ReadaDessen.
EllenRozek More than 1 year ago
I was expecting and anticipating a story in the vein of a summer romantic comedy, but there was some surprising substance to ONCE AND FOR ALL that I really appreciated. Thanks to her work in the wedding industry as a member of her mom's wedding planning team, Louna is already pretty cynical about true love and the idea of forever. But once you learn that her first love ended in tragedy, her closed off, sometimes cranky approach to romance makes sense. Louna's journey toward letting go of her grief and learning to live with uncertainty in both life and love is almost more rewarding than her journey toward falling in love with someone new. It's entirely possible that I enjoyed this so much because I'm in the process of planning my own wedding, or because I was desperate for a lighter, less serious read. However, ONCE AND FOR ALL is also the kind of quiet, character-driven contemporary YA that caused me to fall in love with Sarah Dessen's work in the first place, so there's that option too. :)
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
While nowhere near Sarah Dessen's best book, Once and for All brings all the charm and easy reading that I've come to love in a Dessen novel. Ambrose isn't quite as lovable or endearing as other Dessen male leads and Louna's best friend Gilly is quite frankly annoying but Louna is loveable and it is easy to get invested in her story. The real upside to the novel is the parallel romances between Louna and Ambrose as well as the slow revelation of Louna's last relationship. All in all a good book for easy summer reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I have always been a fan of Sarah Dessen. I have always loved her feel good romance books. This books have relatable characters and is very relevant to our times. The ending may be predictable but it still makes you feel good in the end.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Calicrissy More than 1 year ago
Admittedly, I was a bit skeptical, since her last few weren't in my top favorites.. This book really redeemed it for me and she wrote some of the situations so well and believably. I would highly recommend this book from her!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Over all the book was really good. Having read all of Sarah Dessen's books I can say that my favorite continues to be The Truth about Forever. Although Dessen's books have started to seem formulaic I still find myself wanting to read them. Noneteless, there is one part in particular that I did not really like the way it was developed, and that is the part of Ambrose's decaration of love at the untimely wedding scene. It just was very rough and not clear. What I mean by this is that Louna's reaction does not follow her character's thoughts up until the point in the scene. As the reader I knew that she had started developing feelings for Ambrose. More importantly I also had strong suspicion that Ambrose was developing feelings for her. However, she always wondered about what Ambrose was feelings and seemed almost unaware of wat readers could see. Basically, I do not feel that the scene aligned with where Louna's character was at the point of the declaration. Thankfully, it came together for a strong ending. Dessen's more realistic take on teenage romance continues, and I can't wait to read her next book.
book_junkee More than 1 year ago
This is only my second try at a Sarah Dessen book, but I doubt I'm going to try any others. Don't get me wrong, it was heartfelt and lovely, just like everyone says, but I don't think they're for me. I liked Louna well enough. She's got one hell of a backstory and those flashbacks were some of my favorite parts. I enjoyed the dynamic between Louna's mom and William and Louna. As for Ambrose, he's quirky and delightful and the much needed levity. I did struggle with this story and yet somehow I kept reading it. Things moved too slow and there was more heartbreak and sadness than what I was expecting. I am 100% certain I will be in the minority. **Huge thanks to Viking for providing the arc free of charge**
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I want to read this book so bad. I own all of her other books and was so happy to see this book came iut today!!!!!!!!!!!!!