Once and For All – Sarah Dessen

Dessen does it again! Once and for All is a fun summer read with Serious Topics, immense charm, and an adorable love story.


As bubbly as champagne and delectable as wedding cake, Once and for All, Sarah Dessen’s thirteenth novel, is set in the world of wedding planning, where crises are routine.

Louna, daughter of famed wedding planner Natalie Barrett, has seen every sort of wedding: on the beach, at historic mansions, in fancy hotels and clubs. Perhaps that’s why she’s cynical about happily-ever-after endings, especially since her own first love ended tragically. When Louna meets charming, happy-go-lucky serial dater Ambrose, she holds him at arm’s length. But Ambrose isn’t about to be discouraged, now that he’s met the one girl he really wants.

Sarah Dessen’s many, many fans will adore her latest, a richly satisfying, enormously entertaining story that has everything—humor, romance, and an ending both happy and imperfect, just like life itself.


Dessen does it again! Once and for All is a fun summer read with Serious Topics, immense charm, and an adorable love story.

The good: AMBROSE. He is annoying and infinitely charming. He is a totally earnest “good guy,” but with realistic character flaws. Also: Natalie Barrett and William (a high-quality and fearsome duo), a fun-filled romantic bet (I love games like this!), the Phone Lady subplot, the attention drawn to an important issue (view spoiler), the easter eggs (as always!), bridezillas/their mothers/CGs, and tape dispenser disasters.

The bad: I never thought I would say this, but Dessen disappointed with the rampant insta-love! Louna and Ethan needed a more substantial story. I wasn’t a huge fan of how the story skipped between then-and-now between chapters, and their one night together wasn’t enough. Let us hear about their visits with each other! Let their love grow epically OVER TIME! Likewise, Jilly and her two-name guy (totally forgot his name) and Natalie/John were too “insta-lovey” for my taste. You don’t get smitten that easily. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the Louna-Jilly friendship. At any rate, Jilly is no Layla from Saint Anything. And I needed more Louna-Ambrose, too! They weren’t romantic enough, and we didn’t get to see any of their honeymoon (haha!) period or their relationship later in the future (which would be kinda important considering Ambrose has COMMITMENT issues and is notoriously into the chase). The dog-stealing was also a bit much for my taste.

Along for the Ride and The Truth About Forever still remain as my favourite Dessen books!

Related Reading

  • The Truth About Forever – Sarah Dessen
  • The Moon and More – Sarah Dessen
  • The Summer I Turned Pretty (trilogy) – Jenny Han

Rating: 4/5


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