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Sarah Dessen Books In Order

Publication Order of Standalone Novels

That Summer (1996) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Someone Like You (1998) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Keeping the Moon (1999) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Dreamland (2000) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
This Lullaby (2002) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Truth About Forever (2004) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Just Listen (2006) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Lock and Key (2008) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Along for the Ride (2009) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
What Happened to Goodbye (2011) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
The Moon and More (2013) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle
Saint Anything (2015) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle

Publication Order of Short Stories

Infinity (2010) Hardcover  Paperback  Kindle


Sarah Dessen was born in Evanston, Illinois where she lived with her parents and her brother. Her parents were professors at the University of North Carolina. Her brother is a musician. Sarah is married to Jay and has a daughter named Sasha Clementine. Sarah loves pets and has dogs, chickens and lizards in her house. Sarah has graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill with the highest honors in creative writing. She had a rough life during her teenage years which she admits as being her fault. She loves teaching and Starbucks mochas. She is still trying her hand at gardening and cooking. She taught at the University of North Carolina for sometime.

She however started writing stories when she was eight years old thanks to a typewriter that she gifted to her. Her books have entertained many throughout the years and have provided a unique insight in the way young people get affected by change around them and in their family. Most of her characters are young and go through tough times due to which they change for the better. Sarah also changed careers. Before becoming a writer, Sarah was a waitress at the Flying Burrito restaurant in Chapel Hill. She published her first book ‘That Summer’ in 1996.

Her first book titled ‘That Summer’ is the story of a fifteen year old girl who is struggling to accept changes inside her once loving family. Haven is a teenager who wants her family to get back together and be as happy as they once were. Unfortunately her parents have divorced and her father is getting married to another woman. Her elder sister Ashley too is marrying someone whom Haven thinks is not worthy of her. Looking back at her childhood she can remember only one memorable summer where her elder sister was dating a boy called Sumner. She had never seen her sister so happy and in love. Her parents were still together at that time. Their’s was a complete family. Somehow Haven gets the idea that maybe by bringing Sumner back into her family, she can get them back together again. The book describes her effort to rejuvenate the same days of happiness unsuccessfully. Adding to her woes is the changed personality of her best friend Casey who comes back from a 4-H camp totally morphed. She smokes and carries a bad attitude thanks to her adult boyfriend. In short Haven sees her whole world crumbling and does not want to accept the truth that everyone has moved on. Even her mother gets over her marriage and prefers to go to a bar with her friend instead of feeling bad for herself. Though the story seems simple enough, the way Sarah presents it, makes her readers understand the sensitivities of a young girl who has too much to deal with but no one to turn to. She depicts how changes in a family can affect a young person who is going through the difficult years of teenage.

Sarah’s second book is ‘Someone Like You’, which is a coming of age story about two teenage girls namely Scarlett Thomas and Halley who are neighbors. They live in opposite houses. Scarlett secretly dates Micheal who previously used to date the cheerleader Elizabeth. That summer Scarlett dates Micheal but tragedy strikes when he dies suddenly. Scarlett turns to Halley for comfort and tells her that she is pregnant with Micheal’s child. Halley starts to see Macon who was Micheal’s friend at school. She finds him interesting and decides to get to know him. Macon has a wild side which Halley is unaware of. Halley’s mom pressurizes her to follow her rules which Halley disapproves. As teenagers both Halley and Scarlett are scared as they now have to face new things that they were previously unaware of. Scarlett has to deal with her pregnancy while Halley has to deal with her new found feelings for Macon. Both teenagers have to face the ire of their parents as they try to enforce their decisions for the first time in their lives. Scarlett decides to keep her baby against her mother’s wishes while Halley decides to let Macon be her boyfriend even though he is disliked by her mother. These decisions create many cracks in their already fragile relationships with their family members. Sarah has very nicely shown how easy it is for teenagers to succumb to peer pressure. She also delicately describes the feelings of rejection and confusion that come along with having a relationship with the opposite sex for the first time in a teenager’s life. The book is a must read for both parents and teenagers.

Sarah Dessen’s first two books were made into a movie named ‘How To Deal’ starring Mandy Moore. Her books are very much relevant to today’s youth and parents as they open a window to the psyche and vulnerability of teenagers. Sarah’s book ‘Along For The Ride’ made it to the New York Times Best Sellers List. Her book ‘Moon and More’ won the School Library Journal Best Book for year 2000 while her second book ‘Someone Like You’ won the award in 1999. She always aims to present stories that strike at the heart and resonate the feelings of her readers. The readers can see the way her character’s personality changes after going through tragedy. She finely cuts the picture of her heroines with progressive attitudes and sensitive hearts. Most of her books are based on the young adult genre where issues with teenagers are woven along with the story line. Any person who are past their teenage years will definitely identify themselves with any one of Sarah’s characters. Readers will find themselves rooting for the lead characters even though they are not doing the conventional things expected from them. The language of the books are easy and heart touching. The story lines are tight and the endings memorable. Sarah Dessen takes us all back to our teenage years through her books and makes us remember how important it is to communicate with our family to keep it intact.

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