This article first appeared on the examiner on July 16, 2010.
Sarah Dessen is the kind of YA author that librarians give to adult readers who aren’t familiar with YA and want to know “what it’s all about.” She represents YA very well. Her books are interesting, emotional, and well written for both teens and adults.
Dessen (which rhymes with lessen, according to an e-mail from the author received many years ago) was born in 1970 in Illinois, but grew up and has lived most of her life in North Carolina. She still lives in her hometown, a benefit for someone who routinely taps in to her memories of high school for her novels. She attended UNC and graduated with a degree in English. Three years after graduating, she published her first book “That Summer” and continued with eight more YA books. A movie with Mandy Moore, “How to Deal”, based on her first two books (“That Summer” and “Someone Like You”) was released in 2003. Her 10th book will be published in May 2011.
Dessen’s most recent book is “Along for the Ride”. The daughter of divorced parents 18 year old Auden has always been an adult. As a young child she taught herself to stay awake at night to try to prevent her parents from fighting. She threw herself into her schoolwork and studied instead of slept. She had acquaintances but no real friends, choosing to focus on her future academic career instead of having fun with kids her own age. After she graduates high school Auden makes her first spontaneous decision and decides to spend the summer with her father and his new wife and baby. While there she meets the mysterious Eli and learns how to connect with her family and make real friendships. You can find the full examiner review here and local East Greenbush YA Librarian Chrissie Morrison’s review here.
“Lock and Key” (East Greenbush YA Librarian Chrissie Morrison's review) “Just Listen” (Morrison's review) “The Truth About Forever” “This Lullaby” “Dreamland” “Keeping the Moon” “Someone Like You” “That Summer”