she meets ambrose at a wedding. unlike ethan, their story isn't love at first sight. she thinks he's an overgrown child playboy who cares nothing for his mother's happiness. her second impression doesn't go much better, but when her mom is strong-armed into hiring him to help out over the summer, louna is seemingly stuck with him.
the thing about ambrose is that he is 100% annoying and knows it, but he's also so damned good-natured and sweet and you can't help but love him. he's a total disaster. but he's also a dreamboat. he seems shallow and not all there, but he has hidden depths and is more observant that you'd give him credit for. it takes a while for louna to see all this because she is so intent on disliking him for everything he stands for.
one of the more interesting things about the way once and for all is structured is that we are given louna and ethan's story in flashbacks. their story is beautiful and conflict-free and yet i so much preferred louna and ambrose together. one thing louna makes clear is that what we are witnessing are her memories of that magical night she and ethan spent together. they didn't have time for conflict, and it's easy to brush over the moments that were less than perfect given the circumstances.
and yet, as you contrast all of ethan's perfections versus ambrose's imperfections, i just found ambrose that much easier to love. he's not perfect. he's actually a bit of a disaster. but he means well. he cares more deeply than he lets on. and he's one hundred percent got a thing for louna.
there sweet and bittersweet, loss and love, hurt and healing in this book. you get glimpses of characters we've met before in colby and lakeview. i love that dessen's characters all inhabit the same world. it's reassuring that they keep on living and breathing well after their story has been told.
**once and for all published on june 6, 2017. i received a free sampler of the first 3 chapters courtesy of netgalley/penguin group (viking group for young readers) in exchange for my honest review. i was always going to read this book, so i read the remaining chapters on my own dime.