Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Author Spotlight: Sarah Dessen
Sarah Dessen is one of those rare authors who never lets me down. She has written eight books for teens and each one has resonated with me in some way. Her books all have a common theme: they have a female protagonist who has some type of issue or limitation to overcome, which usually happens, but not always in a predictable way. What makes her books especially powerful for me is the way she writes relationships. Friendship is a strong theme in Someone Like You, Keeping the Moon, The Truth about Forever, and Just Listen. Familial relationships, especially with siblings, are particularly strong in That Summer and Lock and Key. And don't forget about romantic relationships, which are present in all of her books, but especially in Dreamland and This Lullaby.
It is hard to summarize what it is about Sarah Dessen that makes her writing so powerful. Maybe it is because she writes romantic fiction that is literary, a-typical, and not heavy-handed. Or, possibly it is how well the reader gets to know the characters in each book; you feel you have bonded with the characters by the time the book is over. But really, I think the reason Sarah Dessen never lets me down is the honest, yearning, painful, elated, and realistic way she writes about teens relating to each other.
Here are Sarah Dessen's books in order of preference... my preference of course!
The Truth about Forever
Someone Like You
Keeping the Moon
Lock and Key
I would recommend Sarah Dessen to teen girls who like Meg Cabot (Princess Diaries), Ann Brashares (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants), Jodi Lynn Anderson (Peaches), or E. Lockhart (The Boyfriend List).