Colie expects the worst when she’s sent to spend the summer with her eccentric aunt Mira while her mother, queen of the television infomercial, tours Europe. Always an outcast — first for being fat and then for being “easy” — Colie has no friends at home and doesn’t expect to find any in Colby, North Carolina. But then she lands a job at the Last Chance Cafe and meets fellow waitresses Morgan and Isabel, best friends with a loving yet volatile relationship. Wacky yet wise, Morgan and Isabel help Colie see herself in a new way and realize the potential that has been there all along – Goodreads
Colie doesn’t fit in. In her family, in school, in life. Her mother Kiki is a weight-loss guru and too busy being in infomercials to be Colie’s mother. And while Colie is used to being overweight, and she claims she was fine with it. She was not fine with the names but the voices but the fact the fat kept her warm, and comfortable. When her mother started to lose weight, Colie did too. Even though she lost all this weight, she does not have the confidence of being this skinnier person. There is no technique for that. This is a constant theme throughout the book for Colie and her life.
While Kiki is off in Europe, Colie goes to spend time with her mom’s sister, Mira, the kooky aunt in her life. What I find interesting about Dessen books is how she forms female friendships and how it’s always an us against them situation. While slowly the main character turns around and welcomes female friendships there is always this original guard up. I do wish she would mix that up a bit. But I did enjoy the “them” that Colie originally disliked. The two girls, are waitresses at the local joint: Isabel and Morgan. They are very opposite in personality from Colie, and she is not a fan of that. Colie has built these walls around herself and she enjoys that. But slowly, throughout Keeping the Moon help Colie to find herself. Her true self.
While is Colby, Colie gets a job at the local restaurant, which also helps her face her fears of people staring at her. It quickly dawned on her, that no one really cares about her. She’s invisible there, and she’s kind of okay with that. Colie actually isn’t, she’s lying to herself, and it’s painful to see, or read. What also doesn’t help Colie, is the fact she is in Colby with her eccentric aunt Mira. Mira is not popular in the town because she is unique, free spirit and not old country club. This is not approved by a good portion of Colby. People like Morgan on the other hand, don’t care. They appreciate Mira, and Colie, for who they are without changing.
Everything is going well for Colie until her high school enemy comes to town and makes Colie feel teeny-tiny again. Isabel tells Colie that she should be standing for that bullshit. She should stand up for herself and expect people to be decent to her. She doesn’t, so then when they’re assholes to her she looks like a sad puppy but she saw it coming. What I found most fascinating throughout Keeping the Moon was how Colie changed throughout the novel. As is typical for Dessen novels, the main character grows a lot throughout the novel, and I enjoy that predictability. My heart went out for Colie more than most characters, possibly because I related to her more than the other characters that Dessen had wrote (or even I previously read). Colie the former fat kid had pain that middle school Ashley related to and still hurt me to read about to this day. It was also interesting for me, because I have not read Dessen in order, it is clear to me that this is one of her earlier novels, if only for the use of the word “walkman” but that didn’t mean that I enjoyed it less.