Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Sarah Dessen Rocks My World

If you were to ask me who my favourite author is my answer would be Sarah Dessen. I don't care if she's a young adult author and I'm not a young adult anymore (well...technically I am, but not in the world of book categories). I will keep reading her books as long as she keeps writing them, no matter how old I get.

I've been reading Sarah Dessen for a really long time. Her first novel, That Summer , was originally released in 1996 (all these dates will be coming from the Goodreads pages) and her second, Someone Like Youwas published in 1998. When I started reading her books I was in high school so it was a few years after they were released (somewhere around 2001 or 2002 I think) but still early on in her career. I happened upon Someone Like You one day when I was at the library (and was very likely working at the time...found some of the best books that way). I can barely remember reading it but I do recall telling my best friend about it because I loved it so much. She read it and we've been hooked ever since.

Dessen has written a total of ten books and, for the most part, I find I love the newest one more than the last. I say "for the most part" because I didn't actually love What Happened to Goodbye (released this past May) as much as Along for the Ride (released June 2009). I'm not really sure why but it didn't seem to grab me as much - maybe I'm *gasp* getting too old for her novels? I sincerely hope that is not the case.

Let me do a quick mini review of Dessen's newest novel, What Happened to Goodbye - I really did like McLean and the fact that she and her dad had a special bond over basketball (I've always been tall so I played basketball myself all the way through elementary and high school). I also loved that her dad had a job much like Gordon Ramsey on Kitchen Nightmares - just without the accent and massive amounts of swearing.  Now, don't get me wrong I absolutely adored the book. It just wasn't one of my favourites. I would still highly recommend it - especially to teens who are looking for something that has nothing to do with vampires.

I've written before about how much I love Sarah Dessen (you can read the posts here and here). When I used to work for a bookstore I would always try to recommend her books to teenagers and the parents who were looking to buy for their daughters. What I really love about Dessen is that no matter what your own situation in life is you will be able to find something in the main character (always female and always a teenager) that you can relate to. And it doesn't hurt that the novels all seem to be set during the summer! My all time favourite Dessen novel is This Lullaby. I think it's because I was able to identify with Remy and her situation a little bit more and I really wanted to find my own Dexter! It's been years since I've read it (and it's on my fairly large pile of to re-read pile, along with Something Borrowed and the entire Harry Potter series!) but I remember absolutely loving it.

With this year's release of What Happened to Goodbye, Sarah Dessen went on the usual book tour - with one notable exception. She came to Canada!!! I was very happy about this because she came to Toronto and I'm only a couple of hours north of the city. My best friend and I decided that no matter what we were going to one of the two talks and signings in September. Now, bear with me for a bit of story time...It was late in the evening the day before we planned to go to the Indigo event instead of the library event the day after and I decided to check my email. Imagine my surprise when I discovered an email telling me that I had won a contest and WOULD GET TO MEET SARAH DESSEN!!! I was so incredibly shocked and immediately called my friend to change our plans. She was just as speechless as I was! I have to say that I was not impressed that I found out with hardly any notice, but we changed our plans and made the drive to Toronto to the library event (in hindsight and from what we heard, it was a much better venue and event). We couldn't believe it. We got to go into a room with a few other contest winners and their guests (probably about 15 of us total) and chat with Sarah Dessen. It was unbelievable. We hung back and let some of the other girls ask questions (in this post by Dessen you can see a pic of the room but my friend and I were standing outside the frame!) but soaked up the awesomness of the evening. We were definitely some of the oldest there, we're 24 and many of the others in the audience ranged from 14-20, but we didn't mind one bit. We got our books signed and had the chance to talk to her quickly. Then there was the talk afterwards which was absolutely amazing. We learned so much about her (and I totally want to be her best friend) and her writing style. This was easily the highlight of my year!
Can you tell that I'm totally freaking out?
If you're still with me after this novel of a post, all I can really say is that I adore Sarah Dessen. I think she is an absolutely amazing person (read her blog to learn more about her) and an equally amazing author. I can't recommend her books enough. Even if you're past the young adult stage, I still think most people would love her books. I'd love to know if any of you have read any of Sarah Dessen's novels and what you thought about them. I'm already looking forward to her next one!

Happy reading :)


  1. Hi my name is Harmony and I'm reading Sarah's novel Someone Like You for my book report for my 10th grade English project. I found this book in the library in the free book section and I saw the cover and I was like "Oh! that looks like, my kind of book!" Well I'm reading it right now and loving it :) So this is why I went on google to see if she had any more and this page is the one I clicked on. I honestly am, seriously jealous of you, that you got to meet her in person. Can i find these books at any bookstore, because I would love to buy the other nine. THANKS=D
    -Harmony Fiala, Fremont, NE

  2. Hey Harmony! I hope you see this reply. You'll definitely be able to find the rest of them in book stores. I suggest you read all of them because they're all equally amazing! Good luck with your book report :)


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