In Celebration of Sarah Dessen

I am a proud reader of Young Adult novels. When presented with the option of reading a “grown up” book versus YA, I almost always choose the book about a teenager. Why? Because I love them. I love the drama, the excitement, and roller coasters of emotions. And I believe them.  I still remember what it was like to be a teenager. I see teenagers every day at the library. And when I read about a 16 year old who is head over heels in love with someone, would move heavens and earth to be with them–I believe it. 16 year-olds believe it, too. And reliving that stuff? It’s fun.  Not only is it fun to feel those emotions with those characters, it’s a relief to come back out of the pages and go “thank god it’s all behind me!”.

That being said, I want to devote this post to the Queen of YA lit: Sarah Dessen.  In honor of the release of her new novel Saint Anything, below are 5 things to love about Queen SD.

1. Her female protagonists are awesome.  They don’t have weird klutzy diseases that make them stumble in front of guys and then agonize over it later. They are smart, rational, rock star ladies, and I would be BFFs with any one of them.

2. Her novels deal with issues. Real issues. Even when it isn’t the center of the plot, there are things happening around the main character that are real life problems.  Anorexia, alcoholics, bad parenting, drug abuse, etc.  I am a strong believer that seeing these problems in books helps people, especially teenagers, deal with them in real life. It also makes them feel like they aren’t alone in their problems.

3. Her characters are real people. There is no perfect guy or girl, nothing comes easy to anyone, they work hard to get what they’re after.

4. Fairy tale endings are only for fairy tales. Sarah Dessen writes believable tales that don’t necessarily end in “Happily Ever After”.  She veers away from tragedy, but she doesn’t make everything all hunky-dory at the conclusion either. I like that.

5. Her characters talk like real people. I never scoff while I’m reading and go “nobody talks like that” or “no one would say that”.  They have real conversations that I can easily hear in my own head.

So if you somehow haven’t read Sarah Dessen yet, I suggest you get reading. Her latest novel came out yesterday, and you’ve got 11 more to read on top of that. I’m currently catching up and reading “Along for the Ride” and “Lock and Key” which were on $2.99 deals for my Nook this weekend. I somehow missed these two gems while I was graduating from college and working at Random House, when I had no time to read anything outside our own publishing house. But now I’m glad I missed them, because delving into them as summer spring hits our area (FINALLY) is absolutely perfect.

Pick up a Dessen today. You won’t be disappointed!

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