Author provides books that tug heartstrings, teach lessons

Sarah Dessen, the contemporary young adult queen, Dessen has written 11 best sellers, this is a review of all of her novels, in the order that they were released.


In Dessen’s first novel, she sets up the rest of her career of writing with a novel full of romance, hardship, and summer towns. Haven, dealing with her parents’ divorce, has to learn that love really can overcome everything. For a debut novel, this was really impressive, while not my favorite; it will always have a place in my heart because it was Dessen’s first book.


After her boyfriend is killed in a motorcycle accident, Scarlett finds out that she is carrying his baby. For the first time she needs her friend Halley who is usually just her quiet sidekick. A story of friendship and heartbreak. “Someone Like You” was my first Dessen Novel, and it will remain with me forever, it was a heartwarming tale of the bonds of friendship. It is full of poignant writing, and is a story that will stick with readers forever.


A story of accepting yourself, Dessen does a good job of coupling the feelings of not being good enough with learning that you have to accept yourself in a reflective and. It was not my favorite, but it was a good story of dealing with your insecurities.


Different than any of her other novels, “Dreamland” is the story of Caitlin, who meets Roger. After a blissful honeymoon period, their relationship becomes violent. Caitlin falls into a dreamland, accepting her life the way it is, and not waking up to the reality of her life. After writing this book Dessen got rave reviews for writing a book about domestic violence in a way that does not diminish the girl for not being able to leave an abuser. This is one of my favorites from Dessen, it wonderfully captures growth, and finding your own path.


Raised by a mother who’s had five husbands, eighteen-year-old Remy believes in short-term, no-commitment relationships until she meets Dexter, a rock band musician. Coming off of “Dreamland,” “This Lullaby” is a much lighter, love story. While not one of my favorites, it definitely is a good story about finding  faith in love.


After her dad’s unexpected death, Macy has become isolated. She plans to spend her summer at her job in the library and studying for the SATs. However, her plans are flipped upside down when she gets a job at WISH Catering. She meets new friends, and Wes. Tattooed and artistic, Wes changes her life. He makes her feel comfortable and helps her grieve over her father. And most importantly he makes her happy. He helps her to start living, and to recover from the pain of watching her father die.  I loved the buildup of this novel, I loved the chaotic atmosphere and their relationship, but the ending fell flat for me. However, this is the most loved Dessen novel, and I can see why, Macy is a very relatable character, and has a very realistic inner monologue that readers connect with.


Annabel has it all, at least that is how it seems on TV. But her life is far from perfect. Her relationship with her best friend ended bitterly, and she is friendless. Her sister has an eating disorder that is consuming the whole family. Annabel, wants to quit modeling, but is afraid to tell her mother. In the midst of this she meets Owen, a music obsessed, truth fanatic. Her growing relationship with Owen makes her start facing her fears, and telling the truth to herself.  I loved this novel. it was filled with an appropriate amount of realism, and romance. The story was remarkable and relatable, it’s a great book to read and others will like it too.


Ruby is abandoned by her mother, and wants to make it on her own. But, she can’t get anywhere without having a claim to where she has been. She is sent to live with her sister and her rich husband. She is opened up to a whole new world of friends, family, and relationships. Ruby has to learn that it is okay to reach out for help, and to accept it. While a good story with a lesson, it was my least favorite. I think that when it comes from the main character, Ruby, she just wasn’t real to me, and that is the most important thing for me when reading. However, if this story stands out to you, I still recommend you read it.


Auden is spending the summer in Colby, a small beach town, with her father, his wife, and their newborn daughter. While living with them, she gets a job and she makes friends that get her to realize that she can accept her father’s relationship, and that she doesn’t have to be a perfectionist.  She also meets Eli, who teaches her that she doesn’t have to hide behind her textbooks. This is my favorite Dessen novel, it perfectly combines the feelings of summer, with romance, and realism. Auden is a great main character that grows and develops throughout the novel, and that is what is makes this book remarkable.


Mclean travels with her father, a restaurant flipper, around America fixing up restaurants after her parents bitter divorce. With each new place she gives herself a new stereotype, never really being true to herself. When she moves to Lakeview, she has no  choice but to be herself.  This was a good book, the characters really sold it for me. I recommend that you read it. It teaches a good lesson about accepting yourself and becoming a better person.


Different from any other of her  books, this one is not my favorite, but it is still good. Emaline is spending her last summer before college working at her families vacation home business, after breaking up with her boyfriend, Emaline meets Theo. Theo is artsy and makes Emaline feel different. Emaline is also dealing with her father who abandoned her, after promising her to pay for her college. The setting in this book makes it. You can feel yourself in the beach town, soaking in the sun. While I didn’t enjoy Theo, Emaline was a great main character, she carried the book, and you could see her grow and  change.