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
This Lullaby
Lock and Key
That Summer
Just Listen

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).


smurfanator said...

holy cow!! this is my third comment on three different views!! i agree with everything you said about sarah dessen! i have all of her books and im getting my friend started on them too!! she loves them! im using waay too many exclamation points right now!! i think in all of the books shes written i have fallen in love with the all the boys in the relationships except the abusive boyfriend in dreamland and jason in the truth about forever. obvious reasons about the abusive guy in dreamland [i dont recall his name at the moment and dont feel like getting up and searching for the book to find out but i think his name is roger?? im probably way off but oh well its a guess] and jason is just way toooo boring and controlling. im kind of hyper and i am NOT organized. i cant even sit still while im reading i have to move everywhere, but my mom says that at least im quiet! -a spazzy girl that reads books for the heck of it

smurfanator said...

oh i forgot to say that i read Peaches and i LOOOOOOOVED IT!!!! they made a second one called The Secrets Of Peaches the title seems kind of weird but the book is FANTASTIC!!! then again im a fan of romantics with happy endings. most people would not realize that if i didnt tell them...
-crazy girl that is still commenting and needs to stop before her eyes pop out of her head from looking at the computer screen!!