A few years ago I was visiting my aunt's house when my cousin called me upstairs. She had pulled an entire bin of books out of the attic and told me to take whatever I wanted. I gathered a good arm-full of books and headed home to read them.
The first book I picked up out of the pile was Sarah Dessen's "Someone Like You." It was a very emotional story and incredibly well written. The story was sad and heart-wrenching but beautiful at the same time. I went back to the box of books and had to pick up a second one. I searched for another book by Sarah Dessen and ended up with what is now my favorite book, "Just Listen."
I was pulled into the story immediately. There is a bit of mystery as we watch the main character recover from something that the readers don't know about until the end of the novel. The story unfolds in flashbacks along the way. It is so carefully put together and full of emotion. After reading "Just Listen" (the first time, because I've since read it a few more times) I was hooked. Every time I go to a bookstore, I head right to Dessen's section and find any of her books that I don't already have.
I love these books for many reasons. I have an appreciation for them as both a reader and a writer. She has definitely made me a stronger writer through her novels. Now, when I write, I draw inspiration from her novels. I would love to be able to evoke emotions and draw readers into my stories the way that Sarah Dessen does for me.
Sarah Dessen's novels cover a wide array of issues like teen pregnancy ("Someone Like You"), sexual assault ("Just Listen"), eating disorders ("Just Listen"), abuse ("Dreamland, Lock and Key"), losing touch with friends ("Saint Anything") and so much more. Even if I couldn't personally relate to the issue, each book really spoke to me and taught me a lot.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes from her novels:
“There is never a time or place for true love. It happens accidentally, in a heartbeat, in a single flashing, throbbing moment.”
― Sarah Dessen, "The Truth About Forever"
"Life is an awful, ugly place to not have a best friend.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Someone Like You"
“Don't think or judge, just listen.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Just Listen"
“'Two a.m.' He swallowed, then said, 'You know. The person you can call at two a.m. and, no matter what, you can count on them. Even if they're asleep or it's cold or you need to be bailed out of jail...they'll come for you. It's like, the highest level of friendship.'" ― Sarah Dessen, "What Happened to Goodbye"
“That’s the thing, though. You always think you want to be noticed. Until you are.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Saint Anything"
“Hey, and for what it's worth? Friends don't leave you alone in the woods. Friends are the ones who come and take you out.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Lock and Key"
“Life is full of screwups. You're supposed to fail sometimes. It's a required part of the human existence.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Along for the Ride"
“It's funny how someone's perception of you can be formed without you even knowing it.”
― Sarah Dessen, "Dreamland"