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Sarah Dessen (born June 6, 1970) is an American novelist who lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.
Sarah Dessen was born in Evanston, Illinois, on June 6, 1970 to Alan and Cynthia Dessen, who were both professors at the University of North Carolina.
Dessen waitressed at the restaurant Flying Burrito in Chapel Hill while launching her writing career. She would write during the day and waitress at night. She later went on to quit her job as a waitress after the publication of her first book, That Summer, which was published in 1996
In 2017, Dessen was awarded the Margaret A. Edwards Award for her novels Dreamland (2001), Keeping the Moon (2000), Just Listen (2007), The Truth About Forever (2004), Along for the Ride (2010), What Happened to Goodbye? (2011), and This Lullaby (2003).
We looked at all of the books written by Sarah Dessen for you and after hours of hair-splitting research, we bring some of her best books to you.
It isn’t an easy task to find the best books of an author because every book is different from each other. So, we also consider the scores based on selling and readers review of various book ranking websites like Goodreads, Amazon, LibraryThing, BookBub, Bookish, etc to find the best books.
Hope this article about 10 best Sarah Dessen books will help you to narrow down your choice to make your book selection process easier and faster.
Best Books By Sarah Dessen
The top 10 best Sarah Dessen books are generalized below:
That’s what Macy has to look forward to while her boyfriend, Jason, is away at Brain Camp.
Days will be spent at a boring job in the library, evenings will be filled with vocabulary drills for the SATs, and spare time will be passed with her mother, the two of them sharing a silent grief at the traumatic loss of Macy’s father.
But sometimes, unexpected things can happen, things such as the catering job at Wish, with its fun-loving, chaotic crew.
Or her sister’s project of renovating the neglected beach house, awakening long-buried memories.
Things such as meeting Wes, a boy with a past, a taste for Truth-telling, and an amazing artistic talent, the kind of boy who could turn any girl’s world upside down.
As Macy ventures out of her shell, she begins to question her sheltered life.
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.
A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes.
She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town.
Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.
In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.
From the award-winning and New York Times best-selling author of The Rest of the Story comes a moving novel about the power of finding and speaking your truth.
When she’s modeling, Annabel Greene is the picture of perfection, the girl who has everything.
But her real life is far from perfect. Her best friend Sophie and she are no longer speaking; her older sister’s eating disorder is affecting everything at home.
Then she meets Owen. He’s intense, music obsessed, and dedicated to always telling the truth. And most of all, he’s determined to make Annabel happy.
When it comes to relationships, Remy doesn’t mess around. After all, she’s learned all there is to know from her mother, who’s currently working on husband number five.
But there’s something about Dexter that seems to defy all of Remy’s rules. He certainly doesn’t seem like Mr. Right. For some reason, however, Remy just can’t seem to shake him.
Could it be that Remy’s starting to understand what those love songs are all about?
Ruby, where is your mother? Ruby knows that the game is up. For the past few months, she’s been on her own in the yellow house, managing somehow, knowing that her mother will probably never return.
That’s how she comes to live with Cora, the sister she hasn’t seen in ten years, and Cora’s husband Jamie, whose down-to-earth demeanor makes it hard for Ruby to believe he founded the most popular networking Web site around.
A luxurious house, fancy private school, a new wardrobe, the promise of college and a future; it’s a dream come true.
So why is Ruby such a reluctant Cinderella, wary and defensive? And why is Nate, the genial boy next door with some secrets of his own, unable to accept the help that Ruby is just learning to give?
Best-selling author Sarah Dessen explores the heart of a gutsy, complex girl dealing with unforeseen circumstances and learning to trust again.
Dessen’s realistic portrayal of contemporary teens and their moral challenges breathes fresh life into well-worn themes of rebellion and first love. Halley has always been close to her mother, a therapist who publishes books about adolescent behavior.
But the summer before her junior year of high school, Halley begins cutting the umbilical cord. She and her best friend, Scarlett, start hanging out with Ginny Tabor.
Halley dumps her nerdy boyfriend and becomes involved with reckless Macon, a boy her parents have forbidden her to see.
Then Scarlett discovers she is pregnant two months after her boyfriend Michael is killed in a motorcycle accident. Walking a line between childhood and adulthood, the two girls turn to each other instead of their families for support.
Together they explore the meaning of love, sex and responsibility. This romance and coming-of-age story is not as tightly written as Dessen’s debut, That Summer; it suffers from some scenes reminiscent of soap opera and from flat presentations of almost all the adult characters.
But Dessen’s fully developed characterizations of charismatic teens, particularly the rebel-without-a-cause-type Macon, are sure to attract readers, especially those who, like Halley, have felt the urge to take a walk on the wild side.
After a scandal involving her mother and a famous college basketball coach rocked her family and her old hometown, McClean decided to live with her dad.
His job as a restaurant consultant requires they pick up often, and at each new place she carefully selects who she’ll be–Eliza, Beth, or someone else with a new name and different interests.
It’s easier this way for McClean, who is reluctant to form any true attachments. Then at their latest stop, McClean does something she’s not done in a long while reveal her real name.
But who is this McClean and is she ready to forgive her mother, fall for the boy next door, and finally stick around?
Fans of author Sarah Dessen will recognize her compelling dialog and characters so intricately drawn it’s as if they’re the reader’s friends, too.
Yet the real meat of What Happened to Goodbye is in Dessen’s mastery of the emotional ups-and-downs of McClean’s supportive relationship with her father and struggles with her mother.
Keenly observed and terrifically written, Dessen’s latest is a delightful read about self-discovery and maturity that by the end is hard to say goodbye to.
Strange, sleepy Rogerson, with his long brown dreads and brilliant green eyes, had seemed to Caitlin to be an open door. With him she could be anybody, not just the second-rate shadow of her older sister, Cass.
But now she is drowning in the vacuum Cass left behind when she turned her back on her family’s expectations by running off with a boyfriend.
Caitlin wanders in a dream land of drugs and a nightmare of Rogerson’s sudden fists, lost in her search for herself.
Why do so many girls allow themselves to get into abusive relationships and what keeps them there?
In this riveting novel, Sarah Dessen searches for understanding and answers. Caught in a trap that is baited with love and need, Caitlin must frantically manage her every action to avoid being hit by the hands that once seemed so gentle.
All around her are women who care best friends, mother, sister, mentor but shame keeps her from confiding in any of them, especially Cass, her brilliant older sister, whose own flight from home had seemed to point the way.
Dessen has here created a subtle and compelling work of literature that goes far beyond the teen problem novel in a story rich with symbolism, dark scenes of paralyzing dread, quirky and memorable characters, and gleams of humor.
A plot description of this contemporary problem novel may make it sound like a kind of Cinderella story, but Dessen’s ironic sense of humor and her knack for creating characters with both quirky personalities and universal emotions set her book apart.
Colie’s fitness-celebrity mom long ago motivated her to lose 45.5 pounds, but Colie feels just as insecure as she did when she was overweight, and she is a pariah at school.
During Colie’s 15th summer, her mother goes on an extended tour of Europe, and Colie is sent to outlandish Aunt Mira in Colby, N.C. There Colie is influenced by a singular group of mentors: the young women next door, Isabel and Morgan, who give Colie a makeover as well as a waitressing job.
Mira’s young boarder, Norman, who has moved out of his bullying auto-dealer dad’s house so he can pursue a career in art; and Mira herself, a greeting-card illustrator who is as enormous and eccentric as she is immune to the ostracism of the locals.
As readers will anticipate, Colie begins a happy metamorphosis; unexpectedly, her transformation is interrupted by the arrival of a mean-mouthed schoolmate who is all too eager to cut Colie down.
Readers will lap up the snappy dialogue, colorful episodes and unexpected pearls of wisdom.
Sixteen-year-old Sydney has always felt overshadowed by her handsome, popular, and troubled older brother Peyton.
Now, he is in prison for a drunk driving accident that paralyzed another teen boy, and despite his incarceration, Sydney finds her mother’s only focus is Peyton and that her dad has pretty much checked out of any decision making.
When Sydney decides to leave her expensive private school and go to the local public school, her parents agree to allow the change. After her first day of school, she stops by a pizza shop where she meets brother and sister Layla and Mac, whose father owns the shop.
In the duo, Sydney finds much needed acceptance. In their mother, she discovers a person she can talk to who will listen and give her the advice she craves.
Dessen delves deeply into family relationships and roles. Because of Peyton’s actions, Sydney’s family is unable to handle what has happened. Layla and Mac’s family also has its problems with a wayward daughter and an ill mother, but instead of being torn apart, they have drawn closer together.
The contrast between the two families economically and in their ability to function provides added tension.
Although this work is darker than her other romances, the light and joy of first love, friendship, and self-discovery remain important aspects of the book.
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