Friday 6 August 2010

Why I Love...Sarah Dessen

Recently, while reviewing books and reading the reviews of other bloggers, I started to wonder what it is that makes me like or dislike a book so much. This line of thinking then extended to authors and I decided to write a series of posts explaining why I love my favourite authors the way I do.

When I try to think of my all time favourite authors, the ones that immediately come to mind vary. Except one. She is the first to spring to mind to every time. And her name is Sarah Dessen. Sarah is my first point of recommendation and I champion her books at every opportunity as I truly believe that there is something in them for everyone.

This is especially evident in Sarah’s characters. I find aspects of each heroine that I can empathise with, even if my situation is entirely different to theirs. Girls everywhere will recognise themselves in Macy’s grief, Annabel’s silence, Ruby’s feelings of abandonment, Caitlin’s abusive relationship, Auden’s isolation, Remy’s disillusionment in love, Haven’s sense of invisibility or Scarlett’s unexpected pregnancy. Mixed up in these situations are emotions that strike every girl, and woman, at some point. Not many adults seem to remember the agonies and joys of being a teenage girl as clearly as Sarah Dessen does.

With the troubled heroines of her books, Sarah Dessen also broaches issues that, unfortunately, lots of teens face. But they are not the focus of her novels; they are subtly interwoven in the lives and families of Sarah’s heroines. In reading novels like Lock and Key and Dreamland, I feel like I may be able to deal a little better if a situation like Ruby’s or Caitlin’s arose in my life because, to me, they are real people, real emotions and real lives. With the help of Sarah and her girls, I feel as if I could handle anything.

Of course, the legendary Dessen boys help. Sarah Dessen has a serious talent for writing extraordinary boys who help her heroines get from the first page to the last. And through being gorgeous, sweet and listening to them, the girls learn to open up and learn to deal with whatever life has thrown at them. Wes from The Truth About Forever is my favourite. He’s an art boy for one, and I love art boys, but he also has a bit of a shady past and has lost a parent just like Macy. He helps her to accept her father’s death and reclaim her love of running. I would really rather like my own Wes. Or Eli. Or Owen. Or Dexter. Well, you get the picture!
Though the characters and the issues wouldn’t matter if Sarah Dessen’s books weren’t beautifully written. I become so involved with these characters because their lives and emotions are intricately detailed. I’m made to know who these characters are, care for them, love them. And it’s Sarah’s words that create these connections and the way that she arranges them that makes me remember them.

The main focus of this gush has revolved around Sarah’s books and writing, but I think that Sarah herself deserves some credit, too. I think that she’s an amazing woman and I admire her. Through her blog, in which she shares herself and her life with her readers, I’ve learnt about a real woman. As a book lover, I idolise authors and raise them above everybody else. But she has exposed her faults, her struggles, her passions and made herself accessible. She juggles being a mum, a wife, a woman and a best-selling author. For these reasons she is my heroine. I look up to her, and when I grow up, I want to be like Sarah Dessen.


  1. Totally agree with pretty much everything you've written here sophie (apart from the being Sarah when I grow up, 'cause I want to be a physicist), Sarah Dessen is amazing and her books are superb! Fan-girl high five =)

  2. She's one of my all-time faves. She creates such easy and beautiful stories. My favorite book of hers is The Truth About Forever.

  3. Awesome post, and I really have to agree with everything you said. Sarah Dessen was the person who got me into reading more YA stuff, and I've been so thankful ever since.

  4. Best.Post.Ever!

    I agree with everything you said and I want to go and re-read them all over again! My favourite is Just Listen. :D

  5. Great post and I am also a huge fan of Dessen. I never worry about recommending her to my students, because she does a great job with issues and romance.

  6. I just LOVE her so much, This Lullaby is and will always remain to be my favourite Dessen book. It PWNS all the other books, which are all awesome too. I love how her work can provoke such sincere emotions in us!! extrordinary writer indeed

  7. Oh man, Sarah Dessen friggin' ROCKS. Great post Sophie - I agree with everything you said!

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